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Can any Canadian dentist clarify some things for me

cc_h

Full Member
Feb 17, 2020
15
1
1
Today I had a long discussion with my parents about what I should do with my life. I did my first year of university but at the back of my mind I kept thinking about whether I should have gone into engineering. I was really stressed out and today I talked to them about this. We looked over my strengths and weaknesses and my life goals and they said that dentistry fits me the most. However I have seen things online that are a point of concern for me about this profession. Dentistry is an exciting and impactful field but it is a large time and financial investment. I read articles about the saturation and wanted an outside opinion of what truly is the case

Here are the sources I looked at:
1. Canadian Dental Association
(Talks about changes to dentistry, more saturation because of new grads)
2. The slow decay of dentistry
Talks about how there is no limit to international dentists
3. Oversupply of dentists sparks fierce competition in big Canadian cities

Again, highlights saturation

4. Dentist in Canada | Job outlook

Shows that there will be a big shortage of dentists and that it is a growing profession

5. Glut of dentists means tough times for them, good deals for customers, ‘doom and gloom’ report says
Another article about saturation

6. Canada's Best Jobs 2019: The Top 100 Jobs - Canadian Business

Ranks dentist as second best job

My other career choice is civil engineering. My dad said it would be good because it would take less time and money however all of the civil engineers that he knows have no family life. He says that as a dentist at least I can have good work life balance and that the demand will always be there. I enjoy dentistry and find it interesting. However reading these articles really worries me sometimes. I want to make sure I invest my time and effort wisely which I thought dental school was. However these articles are showing me something different. Please if any Canadian dentist have any advice or can verify this information it would be immensely helpful.
 

dentaltea43

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 6, 2012
40
20
186
  1. Pre-Dental
  2. Dental Student
I can't speak for engineering for dentistry is a great career. Your loans of course will depend on where you are attending school (Canada or the US). I personally think it is worth it. After graduation you have so many options to set yourself up for a bright future. Whether you choose to start working in Canada, do a GPR/AEGD or go a specialty, are all good options. You just have to do your homework and find something that aligns with what you want. You are already one year down, I don't think you should quit now, and especially if it does interest you.

Living in big cities in Canada like Toronto or Vancouver is fun but yes, it is sometimes difficult to find a job right out of school, you just have to keep applying and something will come up. You need to come up with plan with your parents on how you plan to tackle those loans once you graduate. Are you planning on staying the US/or coming back to Canada. Think about your re-payment options whether you have a private loan or financial aid (the interest rates varies). All of those saturation articles can honestly apply to any career in a big metropolitan city. You can't base your career on a couple of articles.

I love everything about dentistry. Yes, this year has been pretty brutal for our profession, but has it really been easy for anyone? Don't stress too much. As someone who is just about to start their second year of dental school, I would think about getting the best experience right now while you can, learn everything and be involved in everything that is offered, don't be scared to tackle difficult cases/learn from your faculty.
 

toothexplore

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7+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2011
330
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196
Milwaukee, WI
  1. Dentist
I am Canadian, went to a US school and practice in a metropolitan-is area in the US.
My advice: get awesome grades, work hard, and get into a Canadian school. American tuition is not worth it, you are limited to private schools as an international applicant.
After you graduate, look into jobs/GPR in the US because the jobs in Canada are limited, and you definitely won't be working in a desirable city
 
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cc_h

Full Member
Feb 17, 2020
15
1
1
I am Canadian, went to a US school and practice in a metropolitan-is area in the US.
My advice: get awesome grades, work hard, and get into a Canadian school. American tuition is not worth it, you are limited to private schools as an international applicant.
After you graduate, look into jobs/GPR in the US because the jobs in Canada are limited, and you definitely won't be working in a desirable city
What kinds of places specifically have limited jobs? I want to work in urban Alberta
 

DustFreeEraser

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7+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2011
185
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216
The main thing to take away from your research is that the profession's outlook is not as good as people think.

Does it mean avoid at all cost? Probably not, as long as you are aware that a typical Canadian school grad will come out with 200-300k debt to a ~100-150k/year job that will soon face a similar future as pharmacy.

But knowing how Canadian dental and medical schools are like, would I rather choose medicine over dentistry if it's healthcare I wanted? Probably.

It's great that you've done your research and as long as you are aware dentistry isn't what it used be, I'm sure it'll be an okay decision.
 

PhansterZ

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15+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2006
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570
316
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Dentistry is very competitive in the urban field. I have friends that have graduated from UBC dental that wanted to stay in Vancouver... starting pay? 80k/year, doing a lot of hygiene. The urban regions in Canada are getting extremely saturated so as a new grad, best to go right outside the big city, or to a rural region where there are a lot less dentists. To make yourself more marketable, specialize. More time, more money, but at least you'll be able to differentiate yourself and survive in the big city.
 

cc_h

Full Member
Feb 17, 2020
15
1
1
Dentistry is very competitive in the urban field. I have friends that have graduated from UBC dental that wanted to stay in Vancouver... starting pay? 80k/year, doing a lot of hygiene. The urban regions in Canada are getting extremely saturated so as a new grad, best to go right outside the big city, or to a rural region where there are a lot less dentists. To make yourself more marketable, specialize. More time, more money, but at least you'll be able to differentiate yourself and survive in the big city.
woah 80k is ...really sad. Thats a great starting salary for other careers but for dentistry thats pretty low considering the amount of money and time you invest into the degree. It might be 80k with bonuses/production on top of that. Or maybe it might be because of covid? I have never heard of a dentist making less than six figures
 

cc_h

Full Member
Feb 17, 2020
15
1
1
The main thing to take away from your research is that the profession's outlook is not as good as people think.

Does it mean avoid at all cost? Probably not, as long as you are aware that a typical Canadian school grad will come out with 200-300k debt to a ~100-150k/year job that will soon face a similar future as pharmacy.

But knowing how Canadian dental and medical schools are like, would I rather choose medicine over dentistry if it's healthcare I wanted? Probably.

It's great that you've done your research and as long as you are aware dentistry isn't what it used be, I'm sure it'll be an okay decision.
I am predicting to have debt on the lower side. My hope is to start making 120k-140k at the start of my career and hopefully reach 180k-200k in a few years once I get busier. Is this unreasonable?

Also I hear a lot about little opportunity in cities. I want to work in a major Albertan city but it might not be the best opportunity for me. How rural do you need to go in order to do well?
 

beyondme

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2014
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166
  1. Pre-Dental
I am predicting to have debt on the lower side. My hope is to start making 120k-140k at the start of my career and hopefully reach 180k-200k in a few years once I get busier. Is this unreasonable?

Also I hear a lot about little opportunity in cities. I want to work in a major Albertan city but it might not be the best opportunity for me. How rural do you need to go in order to do well?

I think you should look at the ratio of the population to dentists for the Canadian cities you are contemplating working at. A good range is a ratio of 1000-2000:1, but if you’re still in undergrad, it’s very likely the ratio will look different in 5+ years.
 

cc_h

Full Member
Feb 17, 2020
15
1
1
I think you should look at the ratio of the population to dentists for the Canadian cities you are contemplating working at. A good range is a ratio of 1000-2000:1, but if you’re still in undergrad, it’s very likely the ratio will look different in 5+ years.
Yup I'm still in undergrad and will probably graduate in 2026. I live in urban alberta and want to stay around here because of family. I have no idea how to find the ratio of population to dentists and how to find their projected ratios, would you be able to provide any guidance?
 

beyondme

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Oct 23, 2014
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  1. Pre-Dental
Yup I'm still in undergrad and will probably graduate in 2026. I live in urban alberta and want to stay around here because of family. I have no idea how to find the ratio of population to dentists and how to find their projected ratios, would you be able to provide any guidance?

The CDA had a report I recently came across with the latest stats from 2015. Unfortunately Canada doesn’t have local-level data on this the way the US does.


CIHI also has info on # of dentists/province.

 

DustFreeEraser

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 9, 2011
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woah 80k is ...really sad. Thats a great starting salary for other careers but for dentistry thats pretty low considering the amount of money and time you invest into the degree. It might be 80k with bonuses/production on top of that. Or maybe it might be because of covid? I have never heard of a dentist making less than six figures

I wouldn't be surprised at < 6 figures in Vancouver/Toronto, especially during the first year or two.

I am predicting to have debt on the lower side. My hope is to start making 120k-140k at the start of my career and hopefully reach 180k-200k in a few years once I get busier. Is this unreasonable?

Also I hear a lot about little opportunity in cities. I want to work in a major Albertan city but it might not be the best opportunity for me. How rural do you need to go in order to do well?

Not too certain about urban Alberta tbh but I’ve had people go to Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Drumheller make pretty good money, around the 180-200k mark. Same goes with rural BC and Whitehorse.
 
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beyondme

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Oct 23, 2014
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But knowing how Canadian dental and medical schools are like, would I rather choose medicine over dentistry if it's healthcare I wanted? Probably.

Can you develop more on this ?

Not sure what the OP meant, but what I do know is that dentistry is as competitive and, in some cases, even more competitive than medicine in Canada.
 
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