A lot of you probably have chosen dentistry here over medicine because of "money" or "lifestyle" as compared to medicine (everyone is always compared to being a physician in the healthcare field). While it is true that most dentists work in comfortable practices and have a better "lifestyle" than physician, medicine runs in cycles. Today dentistry is the hot thing - in 20 years the environemnt could change a lot. Personally, I don't see the whole cushion dentistry thing lasting much longer. There is a big time difference in the level of education needed to fill a cavity/clean a tooth/perform a root canal as compared to performing medical surgery. IF you think about it part of the reason why dentistry is so appealing is the short amount of time before practicing - but this is also a downfall because that means they are easily replaced. In the end, in practice dentists do not utilize the breadth of knowledge about the human body that an MD must do on a daily basis. Also, while dental schools start out learning a lot of fascinating info on anatomy and similar stuff, by the time of their third year, they start to only concentrate on hand-work instead, hence similar to a trade school. These trade school techniques require not a lot of knowledge about pathology, usually only needing hand skills similar to those of an artist or a plumber. Many dentists are very unethical. There aren't official stats to support this just like there aren't official stats to support that many dentists are unethical. The public does not view doctors in this same regard. A patient does not fear a doctor scheduling them for a random procedure they are unaware of when they feel perfectly healthy. In fact, it's quite the opposite. They feel doctors don't do enough to serve them, and many patients will actually demand and request a full work-up when one isn't required. I never suggested the majority of dentists were corrupt but there is a significant portion of them who routinely cheat patients to the point that there are several websites, books, television documentaries, jokes about them in pop culture to suggest that you are aware of this phenomenon to some degree. I went to see a dentist for a clearning; I had no pain like you assume. I have never had any cavities. I don't have a family history of cavities. I'm pretty regular about hygiene. The dentist suggested I get my molars sealed because their shape was deep which could later lead to cavities. I was suspicious so I saw another dentist who laughed at the previous dentist's recommendation and said I didn't need that. I then saw a "friend" who was a dentist suggested I put a crown on a different tooth altogether that both the other dentists missed. This was all done within a 2 week time span. 3 dentists had 3 different diagnoses? I talked to another dentist who is a member of our family. She said there is a large ethical gray area in dentistry that concerns "preventive care" in which the patient doesn't currently have anything wrong but X-rays may indicate a problem in the near future. However, she said that in many situations, the dentist could realistically avoid performing a procedure and wait for a more conclusive diagnosis but many dentists would go ahead and do the procedure "just to be on the safe side." Sound familiar? Dentists also try to push whitening and bleaching tray products which I don't feel is appropriate. There is a difference between knowing a service is available and pushing a service onto a patient which dentists are notorious for doing when it comes teeth whitening. If dentists want to improve their perception among the public and hence their prestige, they need to address the fact that a significant percentage of their colleauges are unethical and simply trying to build the million dollar practice. You can't just downplay this by suggesting that all medical fields have their wackos. You guys even have magazines that unabashedly devote themselves to building these lucrative practices. In one of those magazines, they had photos of dentists posing at their practices. Some of the practices looked like Liberace built them with huge gaudy aquariums. It also doesn't help that when you drive on the freeway, you see big banners with ZOOM on them and some dentists' practice being advertised. These incidents only reinforce the image, however false it may be, that you are businessmen first and health providers second. This is why the public doesn't view dentists in the same light as doctors. Maybe it's time dentists took some responsibility for their image? I know as osteopaths we need to take responsibility for our image. We continue to preach about cranial manipulation although the evidence supporting such a practice is anecdotal. If we want the public to view us as equal to M.D. then we need to police ourselves. Even though the majority of osteopaths do not believe in cranial manipulation, we don't voice that opinion loud enough and thus give the false impression that all osteopaths are in favor of this type of manipuation.