Aug 19, 2017
9
6
Status
Pre-Dental
I am currently a dental hygienist with an associate degree. I am in the process of preparing to start back to school. I am trying to determine if it would it be in my best interest to proceed with a bachelor's degree in DH or a bachelor's degree in biology?
 

JLT223

Dental Student
2+ Year Member
Jun 3, 2015
2,932
2,982
Status
Dental Student
Probably biology to help you prepare for the DAT.
 
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tyjacobs

2+ Year Member
May 10, 2015
709
587
I am currently a dental hygienist with an associate degree. I am in the process of preparing to start back to school. I am trying to determine if it would it be in my best interest to proceed with a bachelor's degree in DH or a bachelor's degree in biology?
It doesn't really matter as long as you do the appropriate pre-requisites. Do what you think will give you a higher science GPA in the end.
 
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Aug 23, 2017
4
2
Status
Pre-Dental
I'm curious to find out why you want to pursue becoming a dentist. I say this because the dentist I shadowed was trying to low-key discourage me from pursuing dentistry and recall her saying if she can pick again, she would have chosen dental hygiene instead. My dentist has 2 other sisters who are dentists. The older sister "inspired" her to become a dentist but now she regrets it. Her office is doing really well. She sees about 15-20 patients a day but when I shadowed last year, I heard they're not producing as much as they had hoped for. Also, she's in her late 30s. She recently got married and had a baby. I think her biggest regret (and reason for discouraging me) is the financial part. Last year her husband (who works in the front office) and her were trying to buy a house. Not sure if they bought one now. So she basically has student loans from dental schools + loans from opening up a business and some other stuff. That's probably why they were having a hard time buying a house.

I know she is just one example but she does sound very envious of her dental hygienist. This is why I'm curious about your career change. No offense meant in any way.
 
OP
SouthernRDH
Aug 19, 2017
9
6
Status
Pre-Dental
I'm curious to find out why you want to pursue becoming a dentist. I say this because the dentist I shadowed was trying to low-key discourage me from pursuing dentistry and recall her saying if she can pick again, she would have chosen dental hygiene instead. My dentist has 2 other sisters who are dentists. The older sister "inspired" her to become a dentist but now she regrets it. Her office is doing really well. She sees about 15-20 patients a day but when I shadowed last year, I heard they're not producing as much as they had hoped for. Also, she's in her late 30s. She recently got married and had a baby. I think her biggest regret (and reason for discouraging me) is the financial part. Last year her husband (who works in the front office) and her were trying to buy a house. Not sure if they bought one now. So she basically has student loans from dental schools + loans from opening up a business and some other stuff. That's probably why they were having a hard time buying a house.

I know she is just one example but she does sound very envious of her dental hygienist. This is why I'm curious about your career change. No offense meant in any way.
I'm curious to find out why you want to pursue becoming a dentist. I say this because the dentist I shadowed was trying to low-key discourage me from pursuing dentistry and recall her saying if she can pick again, she would have chosen dental hygiene instead. My dentist has 2 other sisters who are dentists. The older sister "inspired" her to become a dentist but now she regrets it. Her office is doing really well. She sees about 15-20 patients a day but when I shadowed last year, I heard they're not producing as much as they had hoped for. Also, she's in her late 30s. She recently got married and had a baby. I think her biggest regret (and reason for discouraging me) is the financial part. Last year her husband (who works in the front office) and her were trying to buy a house. Not sure if they bought one now. So she basically has student loans from dental schools + loans from opening up a business and some other stuff. That's probably why they were having a hard time buying a house.

I know she is just one example but she does sound very envious of her dental hygienist. This is why I'm curious about your career change. No offense meant in any way.
I'm curious to find out why you want to pursue becoming a dentist. I say this because the dentist I shadowed was trying to low-key discourage me from pursuing dentistry and recall her saying if she can pick again, she would have chosen dental hygiene instead. My dentist has 2 other sisters who are dentists. The older sister "inspired" her to become a dentist but now she regrets it. Her office is doing really well. She sees about 15-20 patients a day but when I shadowed last year, I heard they're not producing as much as they had hoped for. Also, she's in her late 30s. She recently got married and had a baby. I think her biggest regret (and reason for discouraging me) is the financial part. Last year her husband (who works in the front office) and her were trying to buy a house. Not sure if they bought one now. So she basically has student loans from dental schools + loans from opening up a business and some other stuff. That's probably why they were having a hard time buying a house.

I know she is just one example but she does sound very envious of her dental hygienist. This is why I'm curious about your career change. No offense meant in any way.
I'm curious to find out why you want to pursue becoming a dentist. I say this because the dentist I shadowed was trying to low-key discourage me from pursuing dentistry and recall her saying if she can pick again, she would have chosen dental hygiene instead. My dentist has 2 other sisters who are dentists. The older sister "inspired" her to become a dentist but now she regrets it. Her office is doing really well. She sees about 15-20 patients a day but when I shadowed last year, I heard they're not producing as much as they had hoped for. Also, she's in her late 30s. She recently got married and had a baby. I think her biggest regret (and reason for discouraging me) is the financial part. Last year her husband (who works in the front office) and her were trying to buy a house. Not sure if they bought one now. So she basically has student loans from dental schools + loans from opening up a business and some other stuff. That's probably why they were having a hard time buying a house.

I know she is just one example but she does sound very envious of her dental hygienist. This is why I'm curious about your career change. No offense meant in any way.
 
OP
SouthernRDH
Aug 19, 2017
9
6
Status
Pre-Dental
Hi. I don't mind the questions, and I am not offended at all. To be quite honest, I love being a dental hygienist, it is a very rewarding career. However, I am considering dental school because I basically want to be my own boss. I have almost 20 years experience in the dental field. At age 19, I began as a dental assistant. I've worked in the dental lab, and even worked the front desk and filed insurance claims. I decided to go back to school to be a hygienist and graduated from Dental Hygiene school at age 30. I've been a dental hygienist for 9 years, and now at the ripe old age of 39, I am considering completing the prerequisites to apply to dental school. Some may think it's crazy to embark on that journey at my age, but even if I don't get out of dental school until I'm in my mid forties, I still have twenty or more years left to work. Twenty or more years of letting someone else be my boss! So, back to why I'd like to be my own boss in the field of dentistry. I have had the pleasure of working for many dentists over the years, some great ones, some not so great. I'm just tired of working so hard to make someone else so much money. Quite frankly, often times I find some of their treatment questionable, and ethically that truly bothers me. After 20 years experience, even though all dentists treat differently, some are more conservative, some are more aggressive, I find myself nodding my head at their treatment recommendations quite often. Yes, I know a hygienist can not diagnose or recommend treatment, however with my experience, I can tell when treatment is questionable or not. My consideration of dental school isn't necessarily about the money either. I have been very fortunate as a hygienist, I've made at least 70K per year the last few years, and should make even more than that this year. Yes, some may find that hard to believe, but it's true. With that being said, I work 5 days a week doing assisted hygiene, and I stay very busy. That's above average for a dental hygienist, in most areas, in case you were wandering. It's very difficult when your overworked and underappreciated. I live in a small community, so if and when I get out of dental school, I don't want to start a huge bustling dental practice. I want a small intimate practice, with a spa like setting. The great thing about myself and my experience is that I know alot more about running a dental practice than the average Joe getting out of dental school. Also, I can adequately see my patients for their cleanings until my practice is built up enough to cover the cost of a hygienist. We all know that dentists are not adequately trained to do cleanings. Maybe a simple prophy, but not perio treatment. Heck, I wasn't adequately trained until out of school and practicing for a while. Lol. Unfortunately, I don't live in a state where hygienists can open their own practices, if I did, I'd be very happy doing that. However, that's never going to happen as long as dentists are running the state board. Why would they ever agree to that? Imagine the money they would lose. Basically the bottom line is, I want to go to dental school so I can make my own schedule, give patients quality dentistry, and of course the extra money is just an added bonus. If I were you, I'd pursue a degree in dentistry. I was in your exact position almost nineteen years ago, and the one thing holding me back from actually going back to school right now is my age. I've often wanted to kick myself for not doing it when I was younger. You're so young, and the sky's the limit! Please don't let anyone discourage you from following your dreams!
 
Last edited:

Kosori

2+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2017
8
12
Status
Pre-Dental
Fellow CRDH here! I'm finishing up my last course to gain my BAS in dental hygiene. I also start my pre-req courses next week. For me the best decision was stick with the DH major. I'm a practical person, I have no use for a bio major besides the pre-req for dental school. So far, I have applied the knowledge that I've gained through my DH major into my hygiene life.
 

amariesa

5+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2013
254
249
So if you are here for peoples opinion, then Im sorry if I am direct with mine. You really need to think this over again. You are wrong. Just follow me down this rabbit hole of dental education calculations for a bit and maybe the numbers (like your age or how much you make) is a lil off but they are generally correct. Think about this:

You are 39 and lets say you do a bachelors in science right away. So that is you at 43 years old with 60k student debt, and 4 years of 40 hour work weeks and night classes, maybe missed hygienist income from taking labs that arent offered at night. Then you get into dental school right away and you have to quit your secure job of 70k a year to pay 110k a year for schooling. Thats losing 180k a year taking into account opportunity cost. When you graduate at 47, you have spend the last 8 years of your life studying and toiling to end up (60k + 4x180k) = 780k behind where you would of been if you were a dental hygienist. Of course I am basing this 0% interest in the past 8 years. HA!

Ok, you come out with half a million in debt, 47, and now you begin as an associate in dentistry and save for a couple of years/ get a couple years of experience before opening your own practice. Say you make 120k a year as an associate, after taxes is 80k. Then after 6% interest on a 500k student loan debt, you have 30k a year of interest to pay. So you have 50k a year to live off of and pay off your 500k debt. Cool, so at 47 you live like a student on 20k a year and pay 30k to your 500k of actual debt. Lets say you did well for 3 years and paid off 100k debt and now you have 400k debt at 50 and you are looking to open up your own practice...which is a tidy 6 figure sum to 7 figures. When are you ever going to be out of debt? Its really rough.

Do you have a family? Do you want a family? Do you want to live as a student for the next ten years? Then to come out at 50, looking at retirement with half a million in debt? Or a million after you buy a practice? Look, its very doable and as a fellow non-trad, I support older people going into dentistry but the reality of dentistry has changed. If 22 year olds get into dentistry and buckle down and pay debts and open a practice at 30 with some/most of their debt paid off, then at 45-50, they can be debt free and finally raking in benefits. To start off at 47 is really really hard. To have a stable 70k a year job and give that up for mental stress, financial stress, and no stability is ridiculous to me.
 
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OP
SouthernRDH
Aug 19, 2017
9
6
Status
Pre-Dental
So if you are here for peoples opinion, then Im sorry if I am direct with mine. You really need to think this over again. You are wrong. Just follow me down this rabbit hole of dental education calculations for a bit and maybe the numbers (like your age or how much you make) is a lil off but they are generally correct. Think about this:

You are 39 and lets say you do a bachelors in science right away. So that is you at 43 years old with 60k student debt, and 4 years of 40 hour work weeks and night classes, maybe missed hygienist income from taking labs that arent offered at night. Then you get into dental school right away and you have to quit your secure job of 70k a year to pay 110k a year for schooling. Thats losing 180k a year taking into account opportunity cost. When you graduate at 47, you have spend the last 8 years of your life studying and toiling to end up (60k + 4x180k) = 780k behind where you would of been if you were a dental hygienist. Of course I am basing this 0% interest in the past 8 years. HA!

Ok, you come out with half a million in debt, 47, and now you begin as an associate in dentistry and save for a couple of years/ get a couple years of experience before opening your own practice. Say you make 120k a year as an associate, after taxes is 80k. Then after 6% interest on a 500k student loan debt, you have 30k a year of interest to pay. So you have 50k a year to live off of and pay off your 500k debt. Cool, so at 47 you live like a student on 20k a year and pay 30k to your 500k of actual debt. Lets say you did well for 3 years and paid off 100k debt and now you have 400k debt at 50 and you are looking to open up your own practice...which is a tidy 6 figure sum to 7 figures. When are you ever going to be out of debt? Its really rough.

Do you have a family? Do you want a family? Do you want to live as a student for the next ten years? Then to come out at 50, looking at retirement with half a million in debt? Or a million after you buy a practice? Look, its very doable and as a fellow non-trad, I support older people going into dentistry but the reality of dentistry has changed. If 22 year olds get into dentistry and buckle down and pay debts and open a practice at 30 with some/most of their debt paid off, then at 45-50, they can be debt free and finally raking in benefits. To start off at 47 is really really hard. To have a stable 70k a year job and give that up for mental stress, financial stress, and no stability is ridiculous to me.
So if you are here for peoples opinion, then Im sorry if I am direct with mine. You really need to think this over again. You are wrong. Just follow me down this rabbit hole of dental education calculations for a bit and maybe the numbers (like your age or how much you make) is a lil off but they are generally correct. Think about this:

You are 39 and lets say you do a bachelors in science right away. So that is you at 43 years old with 60k student debt, and 4 years of 40 hour work weeks and night classes, maybe missed hygienist income from taking labs that arent offered at night. Then you get into dental school right away and you have to quit your secure job of 70k a year to pay 110k a year for schooling. Thats losing 180k a year taking into account opportunity cost. When you graduate at 47, you have spend the last 8 years of your life studying and toiling to end up (60k + 4x180k) = 780k behind where you would of been if you were a dental hygienist. Of course I am basing this 0% interest in the past 8 years. HA!

Ok, you come out with half a million in debt, 47, and now you begin as an associate in dentistry and save for a couple of years/ get a couple years of experience before opening your own practice. Say you make 120k a year as an associate, after taxes is 80k. Then after 6% interest on a 500k student loan debt, you have 30k a year of interest to pay. So you have 50k a year to live off of and pay off your 500k debt. Cool, so at 47 you live like a student on 20k a year and pay 30k to your 500k of actual debt. Lets say you did well for 3 years and paid off 100k debt and now you have 400k debt at 50 and you are looking to open up your own practice...which is a tidy 6 figure sum to 7 figures. When are you ever going to be out of debt? Its really rough.

Do you have a family? Do you want a family? Do you want to live as a student for the next ten years? Then to come out at 50, looking at retirement with half a million in debt? Or a million after you buy a practice? Look, its very doable and as a fellow non-trad, I support older people going into dentistry but the reality of dentistry has changed. If 22 year olds get into dentistry and buckle down and pay debts and open a practice at 30 with some/most of their debt paid off, then at 45-50, they can be debt free and finally raking in benefits. To start off at 47 is really really hard. To have a stable 70k a year job and give that up for mental stress, financial stress, and no stability is ridiculous to me.
Thank you very much for your opinion. I appreciate your honesty, and quite frankly I appreciate it very much as brutal as it may be. That's why I made this post, to actually help me decide if dental school is worth the work, dedication, and money! I do have a family, I am divorced, my youngest son is in high school, oldest is a senior in college. My youngest should be graduating around the time I'd be ready to apply to dental school. I know it may be difficult to believe, but I truly do make 70K a year, and will likely be closer to 80K this year. Thank you for your input, especially the number crunching info you provided. It does definitely put things into perspective for me. ☺
 
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