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dentist versus doctor (for ME, not in general)

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by chocchipcookie, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. chocchipcookie

    chocchipcookie yummy yummy doodlepie

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    i've been all pumped up about becoming a dentist one day, and now i've shadowed about 30 hours (not a lot, i know) and i don't think i actually like it very much :( i'm liking it more and more as i keep going, but there are a lot of times where i keep wondering if i'd actually be able to do some of the things my dentist does. i really hate the drills, for example, which i know is a huge part of the work dentists do.

    it's frustrating because i feel like i've set myself up as best as possible for dental school. i'm shadowing a dentist who knows lots of other dentists, i'm doing research at one of my top choice dental schools (assuming i get in), i'm working on products for dentists at my internship, etc. a big part of me feels like i'd be happier being a doctor (pediatrician or something with kids), but i'm not sure and i don't know what to do to be sure. i just find the whole human body more fascinating than just the oral cavity, though i know that they are all related. it's super hard finding doctors to shadow because none of the hospitals around me will allow people to shadow because of liability issues and private practice docs don't really like it either, so i don't even know how i can really check it out.

    my time is also really limited. i shadow mondays, do research tues and wed, and intern at a pharmaceutical company on thurs and fri. the weekends are for homework and assignments from my summer classes, though i suppose i could squeeze a few hours for shadowing if i could ever find an office that's open.

    not trying to start a debate. i don't think one is better than the other, but i do want to be happy with what i do for the rest of my life. any suggestions on how to figure things out?
     
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  3. bing12

    7+ Year Member

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    offer to volunteer at a private practice or hospital. Private practice might be better because you will be able to single out what type of doc you would like to shadow.
     
  4. coolslugs

    coolslugs Senior Member
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    There is nothing you can do to be absolutely sure. It sounds like you are more passionate towards medicine. Have you tried volunteering at a hospital or talking to medical students?
     
  5. dentalWorks

    dentalWorks Nights Watchmen
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    lets hope this doesn't turn into a doctor vs dentist debate (although, Im sure, eventually it will)

    I learned ALOT about medicine just form volunteering at a hospital (not dental related). I learned enough to push away from medicine and into dentistry (initially, I was pre-med).

    But honestly, it seems like you just don't like dentistry....seems like medicine is more your type (maybe?). Shadow a family doctor / internest and see how much you like it. Also if you can get involved with a local hospital (volunteering for example), you'll learn a ton about patient/doctor/nurses interactions.
     
    #4 dentalWorks, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  6. Stacker

    Stacker n = 1
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    I had the same problem with you. But in my case I thought the whole shadowing business was boring.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=826849

    I was choosing dentistry for 1) interest in hard tissue + soft tissue in an area that's intimately related to self-image, 2) the ability to perform surgery on daily basis, 3) owning your own business and working at your preferred hours, 4) you get paid more per hour than a physician because unless you're an anesthesiologist, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon, you'll be working like a mule but without the same compensation as a dentist (*my opinion*), 5) ability to specialize as OMFS and obtain dual degree in 6 year program, 6) avoid most of the bureaucratic pay-for-service and capitation bull, 7) etc. obvious advantages of graduating and practicing in 4 years

    But I became effy about dentistry after I thought shadowing was boring. It was probably boring because I wasn't doing much except standing and watching the dentist do all the interesting jobs.
    I think enrolling in metal enameling/jewelry class helped me get a better scope of what I would be doing with my hands as a dentist.

    The lifestyle of a physician just isn't for me. I can't have such a huge time obligation to the hospital because I'd rather spend more time with my future family. Obamacare's bundled payments is too unpredictable. I don't have a broad interest in the human body and pathogens, other than a few exceptions.

    Overall, I think both are great professions. But I think dentisty is a better match for me. If you have the same feelings as me, maybe dentistry is for you too.
     
  7. chocchipcookie

    chocchipcookie yummy yummy doodlepie

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    thanks for the link. was the main reason for your switch lifestyle? you mentioned that you aren't really into the human body, so can i ask what draws you to the mouth (which is part of the body)? i'm just curious, not judging or anything.

    i do like dentistry.. i'm just not sold on it as the perfect career for me, and it's so difficult to tell because i can't try out anything that my dentist does. the only thing i'm very nervous about is my interest. i do see dentistry as a medical specialty, but i also find working with the entire body interesting.

    can i ask what made you decide that medicine wasn't what you wanted to do?


    i didn't know private practices took volunteers, but i'll ask around. i've talked to both medical and dental students about their experiences and i get some weird answers for my "why dentistry" and "why doctor" questions :confused:. it's difficult to ask my dentist because i think he's so excited for me and i don't want him to feel like i've been wasting his time.

    did you get more interested as you shadowed specialists or were you sold on general dentistry?
     
  8. JOoa0ky

    5+ Year Member

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    Unlike the medical field where there is a simple copay... dental insurance works via a punishment system :D


    Also for treatments... most practices offer various payment options. There are financing options such as 5% cash discounts offered if payment is made in full at the begining or even care credit but even with these precautions in place, you will sometimes complete cases worth a couple thousand where the patient:

    A) Doesn't pay
    B) Claim to have no money... and then you see them in a restaurant gulping down a 20$ glass of wine
    C) Crawl out of the office on all fours when the OM isn't looking

    The dental field is full of crazies (patients and staff included :laugh:)
     
  9. spearmint

    7+ Year Member

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    You should spend more time shadowing physicians if you have even a slight inkling that it could be a potentially fulfilling career for you. You don't want to leave any stones unturned when it comes to a decision that affects a major course of your life. I think it might be easier finding a volunteer position at a hospital or community clinic than at a private practice, unless you live in a very rural area.

    Hopefully, having substantial exposure to both dentistry and medicine will give you a clearer picture of what you want to be. You definitely want to be confident of your decision before you apply. I have seen a few posts from students who have applied and sometimes get accepted to dental schools only to have a change of heart at the last second because they aren't sure if dentistry is for them. I'm sure it happens for some pre-meds too. I can't imagine all the money and effort that went down the drain because they didn't do enough research/soul searching to figure out what they want. Don't be one of these stories on SDN.
     
  10. dentalWorks

    dentalWorks Nights Watchmen
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    it was a combination of things
    -in the hospital settings, doctors don't really interact a whole lot with patients, actually there is very little patient/doctor interactions (that was the case in the cardiology wing). I felt like I was leaving my anti-social I.T career for another field with minimal interactions
    -in the primary care office settings, the interactions were there, but I would MUCH rather be a GP dentist than a primary care doctor.... Reasons: better work hours (dentists less than 40, docs almost always above 50 with on-call), nearly same pay, ALOT less schooling (4 years dental vs 7 years).
    -the amount of schooling involved with medicine was too much.... I am starting DS the day I turn 30, if this was medical school, I would be in school+residency till I am 37-40 years old, where as in dentistry (and assuming I never specialize), I"ll graduate 3 months before my 34th birthday.


    Private practice offices don't take volunteers, they'll take in people to shadow tho (like the dentist your shadowing).

    I was sold when I shadowed my sister (GP). I didn't need to shadow a specialist because I am okay with GP.
     
  11. PDizzle

    PDizzle PreDents.com
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    That's pretty much a deal breaker right there!...LOL. Be an MD.
     

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