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!