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Dental School Advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by Thumper, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper Senior Member
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    Hi everyone,
    I'm new to this site, and was wondering if you could give me some advice. I am currently pre-med at UCLA, and will graduate this year with a Phy Sci degree. I have been rethinking my choices, however, because my parents have kinda been pushing me toward the dental side. Their points are as follows: My father is a dental technician and works with over twenty reputable dentists in the LA community, so his main thing is that not only will he be able to help me with the exams, but also give me hook-ups later on. Now my mother's whole thing is that it will be a bit less stressful than Med school and will end sooner so I can begin practicing. (Is that true?) Like I said, I don't know much about the whole Dental pathway, but any kind of advice or info or past experiences will definitely be appreciated. Also, what are the avg. stats? What about the DAT? (I took Kaplan for MCAT's, so I'm wondering if that would be good enough) Also, not meaning to sound too eager-beaverish, but what is the salary range and the opportunities available to Dentists? I know I asked a lot of questions, but any help will be gratly appreciated. Thanks to all who respond! ;)
     
  2. Big_Poppa DDS

    Big_Poppa DDS Senior Member
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    Listen, Dental school is more difficult than medical school because you have basic science classes plus lab and pre-clinical classes. My first semester had 9 courses and something like 22 credit hours including 2 3 hr labs a week developping hand eye coordination.

    To go to dental school just because you think it will be easier and your parents can help you out is the wrong attitude. Also, if you really like basic medical sciences you will be dissappointed with dental school.

    True, you can work after 4 years with no residency, but you are seeing patients in year 3 and 4 of dental school and some places year 2.

    :confused:
     
  3. DDSdonkey

    DDSdonkey Junior Member
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    DENTAL school is EASIER in my opinion... You get to work with your hands.. a little tough at first but once u get it, YOU GET IT.. just like learning how to drive or ride a bike.. kinda tough at first, but once u get it, it stays with you.
    As for stress.. there is alot less in dents, because you arn't dealing with life and death... which also contributes to the fact that medicine is harder.. Unless u want to be the doctor who kills everyone.
    :rolleyes:
     
  4. Hello

    I would just like to say that dental school IS easier than medical school. One of my very good friends attend UCLA medical school and the work load that he has to deal with compared to what I have to deal with at USC dental school is much greater. Sorry guys, but that's just the way it is. ALso, you can practice right after you get out of dental school. With MD program, you MUST go to a residency program regardless of whether you want to specialize or not! However, that is not to say that dental school is easy. In fact, dental students are required to be good at manual dexterity skills which med students are not required to. Thus, I believe you can't compare the two professions directly. It's apples and oranges. You should do whatever makes you happy.

    Given that, I belive dentistry is an excellent field of profession for one to enter. Not only is it lucrative (flame me all you want but it's true!) but you are your own boss. You directly influence a patient's life by treating them....I have yet to treat a patient yet, but a lot of upperclassmen tell me that they get instant satisfaction of knowning that they did something to relieve his/her patietn's pain. ALso, the fact that your father can help you out if you enter the field of dentistry will be a big help. That fact should no way be a decisive factor, however it is something to consider. It is not easy being competitive in teh sea of dentists flooding CA, and if I were you I would take any advantage I could get.

    But before you make any decisions, research about the field. Go volunteer and shadow a dentist to see if the job appeals to you. It may and it may not, and it will be foolish for you to make your career decisions just because of the money, or because it'll be easier than medical school.

    Good luck

    PS: by teh way I was a bruin too! Go UCLA!

    Steve
     
  5. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    please do what you want...if you don't want to be a dentist, please don't take up spots in dental school for people like me who want to be a dentist...and not a doctor. If you want to be a doctor, be a doctor...don't cop out...work hard and you'll be able to do it...don't use dental school as your backup please :)
     
  6. waiting

    waiting Senior Member
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    EllieR,

    I have to agree with Big Poppa on this one....for the four years you're in school, dental school is harder. I went to med school for two years and did all the basic science courses, but have decided to switch to dentistry now. However, I had college buddies who were going through dental school while I was going through med and I remember that they're schedules were always twice as heavy as mine! Why? Because one of my buddies went to Columbia dental, where you take all of the med school classes PLUS dental labs on top of that! The other went to Penn, where you don't take classes with the med students but they're basic science curriculum for the dental students is just as hard with, again, dental labs and clinics added on top of it. However, once you hit years 3 & 4 dental school becomes easier, as you don't have to deal with being on call, reporting to the hospital at 5 am for rounds, or dealing with as much 'hazing' as you do as a med student on rotations.

    As for residency, it's true that it's technically not required after dental school. However, more and more schools are encouraging their graduates to pursue a GPR (general practice residency) or AEGD (advanced education in general dentistry) for one year after graduating. If you're planning to specialize (ortho, oral surg., endo, etc.) then the situation is similar to medicine, as you have to do anywhere from a 2 to 6 year residency after graduating. Ultimately, though, I would argue that dentists, on a whole, enjoy a better lifestyle than physicians, with greater autonomy, less hours, and less stress.

    As for income, the latest ADA figures for what a general dentist makes is $155k/yr. This is more than what a general physician or pediatrician makes, with less hours. Specialists make around $190-195k/yr. on average. Dentistry is also a field with a very bright future, as the need is Increasing while the number of dentists in practice is Decreasing....so the law of supply and demand dictates that dentistry is a great field to get into right now.

    However, I would re-emphasize the point that others made....namely, while factors such as difficulty, lifestyle, and income should obviously be considerations in your decision of whether to pursue a certain professional path, ultimately you need to be driven by a Passion for what that career entails, and be genuinely motivated towards it....otherwise, the highest salary & best quality of life won't mean squat if you're not happy doing what you're doing.....I know, I know, you've heard that a million times but it does bear repeating again, as it is genuinely true....

    Good luck in your decision and let me know if you have other questions :cool: :)
     
  7. waiting

    waiting Senior Member
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    oops....I meant to say "their" when I said "they're".....I know, I'm anal, what can I say.... :cool:
     

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