1. Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, be sure to check out How To Get Into Dental School, our free downloadable PDF with step-by-step details for dental school applicants!
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice
  4. Download free Tapatalk for iPhone or Tapatalk for Android for your phone and follow the SDN forums with push notifications.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Hey Texans—join us for a DFW meetup! Click here to learn more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Dentistry a dying profession?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by jasonmy0234, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. jasonmy0234

    jasonmy0234 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    This question is for all of you who have already been accepted to dental school this year or are in dental school. I am holding some spots to some top-notch dental schools, but have had some problems dilemmas while deciding whether to matriculate. I think most of us will agree that dentistry is a fun, rewarding, hands-on, lucrative and most of all allows you to help people. However, I have done a couple hundred hours of research on the future of dentistry through the Internet and talking to people in the field since being accepted a few months back. Some of you that got into the top 5-10 most competitive dental schools, probably applied to medical schools and didn?t get in. Some of you probably thought you wouldn?t get in so you were too scared to even try. Others of you really wanted to do dentistry. Whatever the avenue, I am wondering why you have decided to go into the dental field when it is so limiting in terms of health care opportunity and change? Wouldn?t an MD give you more career options for the future and allow you to keep up with the rapid revolution in the health care industry? I might be able to understand better if dentistry required you to get a MD then do a residency in dentistry. I am wondering how students today justify the following facts and enter dentistry without any reservations and more sense of security than even just joining corporate America? Here are the facts. . .


    1) The need for dentists will decrease:
    a. Fluoridation of water has allowed children today to go from 30% to 50% carie-free. An increasing number of cities in the US are allowing flurodation of water and this % is likely to increase. Cities will continue to flurodate in order to remain competitive with the other cities and drive up their quality of life rating.
    b. Periodontitis is decreasing ? people are keeping their teeth longer.
    c. Edentulism ? if you look at the percentage of 65 ? 74 year old people in 1957, 50% were edentulous and in 1986 only 40% were edentulous; most of these patients had good bone level and so the need for dentures may disappear.
    d. Because of these changes, it is likely at some point that the ADA will say you only need to see a dentist once every year instead of every 6 months.

    Keep in mind all this change occurred at a time when the technology boom had not occurred. If this much has happened in the pre-tech boom, the post-tech boom (starting a couple years back) will be much faster at generating new technology. That much you can be sure of. . .

    2) Disruptive technologies.
    Many medical devices cost thousands of dollars. Now there is a push to develop a drug that could do the same thing as the device at a much cheaper cost. Likewise much of what dentists do is treatment with medical devices. Medical devices by nature are usually treatment of diseases, and the majority of what dentists do is use medical devices as opposed to biologics or drugs as their main method of treatment. However it is inevitable in the next couple decades that there will be a move toward prevention, which will decrease the need for dentists and their dental devices. Examples of this will be: a mouth wash that effectively prevents caries, tooth decay which means we will be doing way less fillings; Home detection/treatment devices fueled by nanotechnology that can detect oral disease etc.


    3) Oversupply of dentists ? Over the last 20 years, the US has closed 6 dental schools (Georgetown, Northwestern, Loyola, Fairleigh Dickinson, Emory and Washington University (1989)). I found this odd. . .because no other professional school in the U.S. has had so many schools close in the last 20 years. Think about it. We have a population of almost 300,000,000 in this country today and by 2050 we will have 450,000,000; why would that many schools close. It would make sense that when these schools shut down, in the back of their minds they also thought, the profession of dentistry would be largely eliminated by new technology in the 21st century. The state of Illinois claimed they didn?t need 4 dental schools and then Loyola and Northwestern closed. Ironically, California still has 5 dental schools. Until 1980, the US was pumping out almost 6000 dentists per year and dentists were complaining of oversupply. Now they are graduating 3800 ? 4000, but the need for dentists is much lower because of the improvement in technology and general hygiene.

    SEE: http://www.adea.org/DEPR/Summit/williams.pdf page 2 of 9, third paragraph


    I hope everyone who is planning to attend dental school has done this type of research and has already thought of reasons they believe this profession is relatively secure. If you can share, I am sure everyone on this forum would appreciate it. . .Please don?t be offended by anything in this post.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. RaiderNation

    RaiderNation Recently Reinstated
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2003
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    1
    Actually, over tnext 10 or 15 years the number of dentists retiring compared to the number of dentists graduating is amazingly larger. Therefore, as one dentist I talked to put it, dentistry will be "so wide open" when you graduate. I think UOP's site has some statistics about that if you want to check it out.
     
  4. LestatZinnie

    LestatZinnie Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    0
    you know, most the the "disruptive" technologies that you've mentioned that will eliminate the need for dentists have been talked about decades ago, but they're still more fiction than reality. If you look at the treatment of cavities, they're still the same as decades ago- drill and fill. The sedation and restorative materials have improved, but the basic technology is the same. I seriously doubt a magic bullet will emerge anytime soon.

    With regards to the fluoridation issue, yes it has decreased cavities overall, but from a newspaper article I've read recently comparing cities receiving fluroridation and those who don't, there are no significant in oral health. Cavities are almost entirely preventable if one brushes and flosses daily- but the probably with people is habits. You can give people all the technology they want, but their bad/lazy habits will never change. MD's work can be cut down by half if obesity are reduced, but it's unlikely people will start eating healthy and exercise even though they know it's good for them. Same can be said for dentistry.

    Your statement that aging people will not need dentists because they're keeping their teeth longer is WRONG!! People will be seeing dentists more and more as they age precisely because they still have their teeth and need them to be taken care of! The problems of sensitive teeth, recessing gum, etc will require gum grafts by dentists, etc. I really don't see your logic here. If they had no teeth, they'd just slap in a denture and be done with it.

    in all, over-supply of dentists may be more of a problem than people not needing dentists, but that may change after the impending retirements of baby boomers (the greatest number of dentists generated). As far as I'm concerned, it will be business as usual in the next 30 or so years, the timeframe which I'll be practising. The role of dentists may evolve with changing technology and patient needs, but they will always remain the caretaker of the oral cavity.

    If you're still unsure, go into ortho or OMS- people will always need braces and have tooth extractions, no matter how good "disrutive technologies" are.
     
  5. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,459
    Likes Received:
    4

    Your prognostication (which is nowhere near "fact" by any stretch of the imagination) is based on many faulty assumptions, that fluoridation is a "magic bullet," that people are miraculously keeping their teeth longer without intervention, that the ADA's 6-month checkup recommendation is arbitrary, and that somehow in the future anyone can perform dental treatment because of "technology advancements."

    The REAL facts are:

    - fluoridation is not a magic bullet. While fluoridation works well for smooth surfaces on teeth, it doesn't work for deep pits, grooves and fissures, and kids will always love sweet things and get all sorts of crap packed into those deep pits and fissures as they eat.

    - people keeping their teeth longer is not a miracle. (can we say "6 month recall?") :laugh: Oh... And as long as the tobacco industry exists, there will always be smokers who need extensive perio tx and eventually dentures.

    - "technology advancements" do not mean that in the future those without a dental license will be allowed to administer dental treatment, be it pharmacological, restorative or surgical.

    - And 6-month checkups is NOT something arbitrarily set by the ADA. You can let a developing cavity sit for a year and wait until it starts to hurt like a sumbitch, then pay me $600 to do the root canal and another $750 for the post and crown. I don't mind. :D Or you can get a 6 month check-up, have the dentist intercept a developing cavity in a timely fashion, and put in a $100 filling right then and there.

    The dental profession is constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges. It will be around as long as Homo sapiens exist.

    HTH.
     
  6. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    3
    jasonmy0234

    Demand for Dental Care is projected to increase dramatically through the year 2010. As members of the baby-boomer generation grow older, large numbers of them will require maintenance on dental work, such as bridges. As the practice of dentistry has progressed, the majority of that generation has retained a good deal more teeth than the generation preceding it, requiring not just prosthodontic care, but general dental care as well. The younger population increases every year, and despite treatments such as fluoridation of the water supply, which decreases the incidence of tooth decay, it will continue to need preventive checkups.

    So... this is a research that has been done, and makes the field more secure than a decade ago.
     
  7. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,799
    Likes Received:
    68
    Status:
    Dentist
    Can we say "troll," people?

    To the original poster, if you think the future of dentistry is so bleak, then go to medical school if you feel that the MD degree will give you more career options. You'll still need to come to someone with a DDS/DMD degree if you have a toothache (which happens more often than the pretty suburban picture of dental improvements you posted).

    The 6 dental schools that closed had one thing in common - they were all very expensive private schools. Dental education is much more costly to a university than a medical education, and it became unprofitable for those universities to keep their dental schools going.

    The majority of dental students are not MD wannabes, as you'd like to believe (according to what you wrote in your first paragrah). They actually like teeth and everything related to the oral cavity/head & neck and could care less about colonscopies and childbirth; leave those procedures to our MD/DO colleagues.
     
  8. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    8,392
    Likes Received:
    29
    Status:
    Attending Physician, Dentist
    Agreed. :thumbup:
     
  9. hockeydentist

    hockeydentist 1K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,703
    Likes Received:
    5
    Get this loser out of here

    There is a Forum for trolls, an thats in the MD/ OSTEOPATH forum . Take your garbage over there and stay there.
    :laugh:

    :smuggrin:
     
  10. gatorfan99

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    121
    Status:
    Dentist
    My first semester in college, I went to the pre-med soc meeting and thats when I realized that, not only are all pre-meds annoying dorks, but also that I would never want to persue a MD. Thanks, but no thanks. I find it fascinating that pre-meds think that most pre-dents are Med school rejects, thats just plain ABSURD.
     
  11. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    13
    Status:
    Non-Student
    No need to sink to the level of calling MD & DO forums "trolls"....

    This topic by the OP I see at least once a year since I've been on SDN, it's cyclic. Everytime I read it and I laugh.

    :laugh: <---- like this

    :rolleyes: <----- then I do this

    :sleep: < -------- then I do this

    :scared: <----- then I have a nightmare about :spam:

    :sleep: <----- then I go back to sleep
     
  12. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gatorfan, here here!
     
  13. Dr.OnTheGo

    Dr.OnTheGo Pre-Surgery

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    the person who made the claim that dentistry is dying is obviously out of the realm of whats really going on.

    the claim tries to elaborate on how technology will soon take over etc etc. The poster clearly forgets that most of the population of the world live in poverty. They either have no access of essential medicines or healthcare professionals in general. So how can we even start talking about expensive technology??

    People who make claims such as the one made in this thread really give the impression that they want to go into health care for the wrong reasons. I think the poster is materialistic and immature.

    Anyways its my first post and i really like these forums! :) good luck everyone.
     
  14. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the best way to deal with someone like this in the future is to simply not respond to the thread.
     
  15. hockeydentist

    hockeydentist 1K Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,703
    Likes Received:
    5
    Which is it the red pill or blue pill.

    The red pill -totally ripin on someone becuase of there ignorant ramblings.

    the blue pill- not replying to the message at all(doing nothing)

    Give me as many red pills as possible please! :idea:
     
  16. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I have to admit, it makes me feel good to inform someone. However, if that person is just posing a ??? to stir the pot, count me out from now on.
     
  17. jjfluffy11

    jjfluffy11 Junior Member
    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think most of us here are offended by the fact this person thinks most of us want to be MDs but couldn't get in. I don't know about everyone else, but I know for a fact I don't want to be an MD, and I never even tried. There are plenty of people applied to dental schools with GPA that is good enough to get into any med school. It is people choice to do what they want to do, and not for other people to assume why they did it. My friend went to Northwestern for dental school, and she told me the reason why Northwestern closed down was because the school felt the dental school was losing too much money and it was not worth it for the school to continue their program. She came out of Northwestern for perio speciality, I think she would know why the school closed down and the reason for it is not because this country is over filled with dentists.
     
  18. ToothMonkey

    ToothMonkey Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can confirm your friend's version of events. Private schools are usually very profit-oriented, and NU is exceptionally so. It would be a cold day in hell before they took a revenue cut to rectify a social imbalance like a surplus of dentists.

    Northwestern's dental school was shut down because it wasn't making enough money. The braintrust believed they could better use the real estate for more profitable ventures. That's it, plain and simple.

    If the dental school had been a major cash cow then no oversupply of dentists would ever have convinced NU to shoot itself in the foot by shutting it down. A 100:1 ratio of graduating dentists to retiring dentists would not have made one iota of difference. So long as they could scrape together enough fresh meat to fill each class at $50k+ per year per head the dental school would never have closed.
     
  19. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    825
    Likes Received:
    4
    Our original poster seems to have done quite extensive research:

    "b. Periodontitis is decreasing ? people are keeping their teeth longer".

    Uh, so people keeping there teeth longer, and in doing so experiencing many more years of dental care, decreases the need for dentists? LMFAO!! The beautiful thing is all us dents will be booked 3 ms in advance once we get out. :thumbup:
     
  20. speter33

    speter33 S.D.N.'s Captain
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,473
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not overly concerned about any of the things in the post. But an eventual vaccine for tooth decay has potential to seriously harm dentists. Doesn't look like it'll happen in the near future. But in 20 years or so who knows...
     
  21. DcS

    DcS damn the red baron
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    825
    Likes Received:
    4
    I don't think a vaccine will be made in the next 20 years, i doubt it will in any of our careers but of course that's only my opinion. IF it ever was completed, i believe i read somewhere it would need constant re-immunizations every couple years. People are way too lazy...i mean, seriously, we'd all be out of business if not for a majority of people that are simply too lazy to brush and floss. Not to mention, the NIH took away funding for research into a caries vaccine because it failed to produce any headway.
     
  22. And now we know why you feel this way about dentistry. Buddy, you better make a new screenname and start over because we all know now that you're a med school reject who'll always see dentistry as a #2 to medicine (I bet your parents or someone else told you that).

    The way I see it, why should I sacrifice my ability to help people, have more of a family and social life, a more laid back lifestyle, less malpractice claims and insurance, and comparatively less work to make marginally more money? The opportunities in both medicine and dentistry is sky high; it just depends on which route you prefer.

    However, I'll admit that I went through some times of confusion like you. I applied to grad schools in 4 different professions, with dental school being my favorite at #1 and the rest backups. I got into all 4 and, yes, medical schools were definitely among my prospects. I researched and thought about what I wanted in life. I believe I made the right decisions and picked a career that fit me, rather than fitting myself into a career.
     
  23. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,459
    Likes Received:
    4
    Well, somebody has to administer the vaccines... And as a prescription pharmaceutical, the only people authorized to administer the caries vaccine will be: (drum roll please!) The dentists! :hardy:

    A caries vaccine will not do anything for gingivitis or periodontitis BTW. One still needs to get 6 month recalls to scrape off subgingival tartar where you can't get at it with a toothbrush.

    Also, as it stands now, the vaccines against caries are topical, and thus short-acting only. They need to be re-administered pretty often.

    As I see it, it might only change a dentist's routine of drilling and filling 10 cavities a day to administering 10 doses of the stuff a day. Easy money, no overhead expense for rubber dams, burs, bonding agents, matrix bands, composites or amalgams or other such expendables. :D It will give the dentist an even bigger profit margin!

    A caries vaccine is no panacea. It will not be much of a threat to the dental profession; the dental profession will simply evolve and adapt with it.
     
  24. born2runhc

    born2runhc New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dentistry is moving from primarly preventative to cosmetic, but it certainly is not dying. Emphasis towards different specialties is possible, but it's not dying. There will always be a high demand for aesthetic dentistry, particularly in your major cities.

    Plus, if the sky does fall, the state of dentistry in countries like Ireland and Britian is a bit behind us. There's always a need.

    I was also under the impression that part of the reasons some schools closed, Georgetown for one, was because they couldn't justify the operating cost vs. the number of applicants. Applications had been way down for quite some time, but (as we all know) they've begun to bounce back.

    And I wanted nothing to do with an MD.

    I appreciate the opportunity to add nothing new.
     
  25. speter33

    speter33 S.D.N.'s Captain
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well none of us can predict what will happen in the future. Harvard is currently claiming that they are on their way to creating a vaccine which will be given to kids from birth to immunize them again strepoccoci bacteria which cause tooth decay. Of course they are still in the very very very early stages of creating the vaccine.

    here are a couple of links on the subject
    http://www.harriscom.com/vaccine_release.htm
    http://www.harvard-magazine.com/on-line/01026.html
     
  26. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even if they found a vaccine tomorrow there's still enough dental work out there for the rest of our careers without resorting to purely cosmetic procedures. As others have said, there's still perio issues and tooth wear. BTW they were also in the very early stages of one when my mom graduated from D school in the 70's.
     
  27. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,459
    Likes Received:
    4
    Yep, that vaccine the Forsyth institute is working on seeks to stimulate IgA release. It's an immunoglobulin secreted in saliva, and the article confirms what I mentioned-- It requires periodic boosting to maintain effectiveness, which means we dentists will have to periodically re-administer the stuff.

    And it works well only if a child receives the initial dose during a critical period before reaching the age of 1.

    As I mentioned before, most dentists don't see the caries vaccine as a threat to the profession-- instead, there is a great potential for dentists to make good money re-administering the vaccine at the required intervals. :D

    And on top of that, this vaccine is specific for Strep Mutans. It will do absolutely NOTHING against microorganisms that cause periodontal disease, such as Porphorymonas Gingivalis, Actinobacillus Actinomycetecomitans, Bacteroides Forsythus, etc. We will still have plenty of perio work to keep us busy.

    So rest easy; the vaccine will actually help the profession, not hurt it!
     
  28. Dr.OnTheGo

    Dr.OnTheGo Pre-Surgery

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    "certain critical period before the age of 1"... so consider the population of the world that is of age 1+. i think we have enough patients till our last breathing day!

    no worries :thumbup:
     
  29. vcast

    vcast You just never know ...
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2004
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    :rolleyes: I find it very funny how the poster made sure to announce that he was "holding some spots to some top-notch dental schools, but have had some problems dilemmas while deciding whether to matriculate."

    Seems to me like the poster is holding some spots in the waiting list and may be considering he is not cut out for dental school because of its "claimed uncertainty in the future."

    It may be the first part of the posters psychological defense mechanism ... or just someone that shouldn't be a dentist.

    For the rest of us who know how VITAL we will be, I have this message to you all ... oral heath depends on us and that my friend is never going to change !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
     
  30. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2003
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    3
    Dentists are an invaluable asset to their community. Has been... and will be.

    To the OP: If you have the extra incentive to consider the profession, don't predict any negative outlook, but regard the field as what it offers to society, because it will continue to improve in all aspects as the demand increases in the near future.
     
  31. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mo007, I like your quote, and that dealer is right, but I'm still going to buy one.:)
     

Share This Page