Nov 17, 2015
2
25
Status
Dentist
So - I'd like to begin by first saying that this is a throwaway, because I don't really feel like having any of you discover who I am - (never underestimate the power of the internet. Dentistry is a very “front” facing profession. Your mug will be plastered on the website of whatever office you decide to work at.) Because of this, I will try to keep personal details to a min.

What has compelled me to go back to SDN, and write what appears to be a memoir? I’m fed up with the field, and everything it stands for. My brother is EM physician (just finished his residency a few years back), and I am pretty sure I'm able to see both sides.

So, young‘uns - 1st - SDN has a reputation for being all doom and gloom. A “sky is falling mentality” I guess. Can’t say I chuckled when I first started going through threads several years back during dental school. But now as a graduate, and practicing dentist… its funny how things work out. The field is saturated, and due to market forces we, as dentists can’t really control, it is definitely headed in a downwards trajectory. Don’t say I didn’t warn you guys.

I graduated roughly 5 years ago. I came out with several hundred thousand dollars of debt. I didn’t think too much about paying them off - I figured I’d just start associating and the rest would take care of itself.

I’m making good progress on it - but my issues with dentistry lie not so much with the debt (although thats a huge part - especially nowadays. Other people have covered this - so I’m not going to delve into it too much), but other issues with the field most people wouldn’t think about if they were applying today.

1) SATURATION. I kid you not - Dentistry is headed towards a zero sum race to the bottom.
There really are too many dentists. Straight up - the field is headed the way of pharmacy. Dental chains are buying out every retiring dentist, and squeezing out completion. On the surface - you’re like “oh - well the ADA says that we’re facing a shortage of dentists! They NEED me!” No. Stop. If you actually think this, go back and apply to medical school, where residency spots are tied to funding, and can’t be multiplied 2x at a whim. I have friends who graduated in my class who are still stuck with 90k associating gigs.​


I firmly believe that the issue is mainly because 1) Too many grads with too many loans are flooding the marketplace, and more importantly - 2) Older dentists ARE NOT RETIRING. This is HUGE. If you go back to 2001-2002, people were saying that dentistry would be facing a shortage, that there wouldn’t be enough docs to make sure little Timmy’s tooth decay wouldn’t go unchecked.​

The reason why dentistry has been so hot recently? Well, articles like this: http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/slideshows/the-25-best-jobs-of-2015/2 and others in Business Insider, CNN, etc. I feel, are pushing a lot of people into the field who ordinarily wouldn’t have bothered looking at it.​

The numbers of dentists needed today per 100,000 people are less than what was needed two decades ago. Dentists today are more efficient, have broader training, and are capable of doing more (no more referring everything out - new docs are now doing extractions, Invisalign, you name it). But older docs aren’t retiring. What happens is a “semi-retirement” where the doc comes in 1 day a week, still owns the office, etc, and the poor associate is only making ~90k a year (60k after taxes, and 30k after repaying loans. I’m not kidding). This all resulted in a huge increase in the # of dentists, especially after the financial crisis. According to a recent ADA survey - 1/3 of dentists AREN’T busy enough! This is huge! In addition, the number of dentists has continued to go up EACH year, after the ADA said there was a shortage back in ~2005

2) The debt isn’t quite worth it anymore. I graduated 5 years back, and I thought my debt was a lot. For everyone intending to go 300-500k in debt, you realize thats 30k+ in interest every year? Paying pack 4k a month out of every paycheck? For what its worth - you’re making ~90k when you start. The way the field is now, a GPR is basically essential. You realize you’re in school ONLY 2 years less than an EM physician? And they get paid ~330k when they start working. 2 extra years, and you quadruple your salary? I firmly believe anyone who is in dental school could easily have gone to med school, even if you need to do a postbacc - it’s within range. Strictly financially, Medicine has FAR more to offer.

3) You feel like a used car salesman with all the competition.

If you’re an introverted person, or are not comfortable “coaxing” people to accept procedures they might not otherwise, drop out of the field right now. This isn’t even corporate - its you trying to keep your office afloat/trying to pay your student loans. Yes, that patient 50/50 could have a crown or no, but if YOU don’t do it, another dentist down the street IS going to do it, and pocket the $2000 themselves.

Back in the day (think 80’s) if a tooth didn’t hurt/bug the patient, the dentist left it alone. Nowadays, with every one and their mom is trying to sell each patient a full mouth reconstruction (as well as offering massages and other bull**** remedies) is it no wonder people don’t take dentists seriously? No joke, the office down the street from me is a “Dental Spa” that offers a full range a skin rejuvenations, massages, and other girly/try-hard stuff I’ll have to ask my wife about because I don’t know what any of it is

4) Backbreaking work. No joke it’s only been five years, and my lower back is killing me very day. My hands hurt, and my shoulders feel like they're made of stone. Add in the fact I'm looking at mouths all day - the novelty has worn off.

5) The job itself leaves much to be desired. You clean/fix teeth. Thats it. You don’t do complex jaw surgeries (no, Mr. Oral Surgeon - you don’t. You pull 3rds all day in private practice pretending you're a doctor) and you definitely don’t do anything reconstructive asides from teeth. You’re a glorified tooth mechanic. Now don’t get me wrong - I love what I do - but there are other things that now, after several years of practice, I feel like I would also derive pleasure from doing.

6) Insurance companies will f****** gut you and leave you to die on the street. Reimbursements are going down . You might ask — “why does this affect me? I’m going to run a FFS practice!” It affects you because FFS is only viable in certain areas - Anywhere from 0% (lol you wish) to 80% of your payer mix will be PPO. Delta Dental is the bane of my existence and basically a monopoly in several places - they provide dental insurance coverage for 1/3 of the adults in the United States. This monopoly is FEDERALLY protected - meaning there’s no competition for dental benefits/price. The McCarran–Ferguson Act (http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001890) basically allows this. I can’t drop them because 40% of my patients have their insurance, and last year when they decided to cut fees in my area by 5%, I got screwed to the tune of 70-80k in lost income. This leads me to my next point…

7) Dentistry is influenced by market trends/the squeezing of the middle class. The middle class is getting squeezed. Now this definitely affects you, because 20+ years ago, many, many more jobs were unionized, more people had dental insurance, and more people took the time to see the dentist. Average family income (adjusted for inflation) hasn’t risen in a decade! Things like raising the minimum wage, for example, will actually HELP dentists because it makes the average person more likely to afford/see a dentist. But the way it is now, the average family is poorer than they were 10 years ago, and this translates to less than 50% of us adults actually having dental insurance and an even smaller amount using it.

8) Other minor things - such as running an office, insurance write-offs, dealing with people in general, and lack of respect among EVERYONE (the latter being a pretty small issue, as least for me - but I know how neurotic everyone is on SDN, so this might be something to keep in mind)​



Now - all this might seems sort of convoluted. I’m typing this right now after a particularly frustering day at my office. I can see how this profession might have worked a decade or two ago. But I swear to god - I’m not sure if the next 10 years are going to be very much fun for anyone. I have zero bargaining power with insurance companies. Incomes have stagnated - and as a new dentist, you can expect maybe 90k-120k or so - and you’ll be stuck at that level for 2-5+ years. The real kicker is the saturation though. All the rest, most people can deal with. But when 4+ offices go bankrupt in my suburb every year - I’m starting to realize that the field is cracking. Incomes are slowly decreasing - I expect within 5 years or so average starting salary for an associate will be in the 80-100k range (it already is in a lot of places)



For all the people who think I’m some sort of SDN troll - heres a QA section for ya:

Q. You sound mad - well, I’ll have you know- I’m going to be a super dentist! I’ll be the one to buck trends and pay off my 400k loans in 5 years! Just watch me!

A. Ok, Jimmy, good luck. With 400k in loans, no bank is going to loan you money to even purchase a practice. You’ll be making 90k for the next 7 years. You can moonlight as a doctor while in residency and make more than that



Q. Why did you even go into Dentistry if you hate it?

A. I still like dentistry - it’s just that the field is dying, or at least, headed towards a huge “market correction” and I can see it clearly from my vantage point. I feel like a pharmacist circa 2000 making 120k, and life was good. Fast forward 10 years…


Q. Where are you pulling that figure from - 90k as a starting salary of a dentist? Every survey I see says 140k.

A. Those salary surveys are compounded over years and years - meaning they still have data from 2005 when associates used to be paid $500+ a day and 35%+ of production. That doesn’t exist anymore. Today, you can expect to make 90k to 120k if you want to live anywhere within 100 miles of a major city. And if you say that you won’t - you’re lying. This is EVERYONE. Don’t lie to yourself and say you want to live in an oilfield in North Dakota. You guys are what - 19-20 years old in the forum? Do you guys understand that at 27/28/29, when you graduate/finish your residency, you’ll be thinking of getting married. Getting settled down, having a wife and kids - and trust me, your wife won’t want to wake up and chase moose off your property.


Q. Where do you see dentistry in 10 years?

A. At the same level as pharmacists, job opportunity wise. Salaries will continue to drop, and the dentist/population ratio will skyrocket leading to declining income (Hell, my income dropped ~30k as an owner the past two years.) If there isn’t a dentist in every Walmart by then, well color me surprised (KIDDING - most will probably be in strip malls, to be honest). Loans will render most graduates unable to purchase practices because they’ll be owned by chains, and most dentists will just be employees making peanuts for their education (look at pharmacy - the other field that doesn't have mandatory residencies/where it's easy to open up a school)


Q. You mentioned your brother was an EM physician. Is how does he view things in the healthcare field right now?

A. First and foremost, I should state my brother doesn't give a f*** about dentists. As in - while Dentists (even the predents in this forum) have this insecurity complex about not being "real doctors", the number of times "dentist" crosses my brothers mind is laughably small. When was the last time you thought about an optometrist? When you needed new glasses 3 years back, otherwise you forget they exist. Thats how 90% of people view dentists

Now for the meat. My brother makes (slightly adjusted) around 320k gross income right now. His first contract out of fellowship was for around 275k. I make around 160k as an owner. 2 years back, I was at 190k, but Delta Dental decided to cut my reimbursement, and now I'm working twice as hard to woo patients to get their teeth taken care of so they don't show up in front of my brother in the ER because of an abscess. I don't give massages or have a spa at my practice, so another few points docked for me.

Physicians like to moan and groan about how the government is out to get them, their pay will be docked, etc. But the fact is - it's not going to happen - at least anytime. The AMA is extremely powerful, and there are well over 1 million physicians in the United States. Supply and Demand doesn't even play a role, because the number of residency spots is governed by government funding levels (which hasn't risen in a decade), and thanks to political gridlock, probably wont rise for the 20 years.

Dentists - all you need is a new school, and suddenly over a 10 year period, you have 1500 new dentists in one geographical area.... all trying to sell you a massage along with your prophy...



My final word to you all? Do anything else. Trust me. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Signed,

-A Current Dentist

PS. I'm posting this here because I realize many of you are too young and don't/are unable to frequent DentalTown. I'm simply keeping guys in the loop. I would have appreciated it if someone did for me back in the day when I was applying - I'm just passing it forward.
 
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Nov 22, 2014
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I am also curious where you are practicing. I guess I don't see what you see in my particular area, but if you are in NYC or another major metro, that might be what you are experiencing. There are zero chain dentist offices within 100+ miles of my hometown. In my hometown, the 3 dentists there are not near retirement age yet. One just had his son come into his practice about 2 years ago, the other two do not have family members going into the business....and I'm hoping they let me work with them so I can take over. I know of one dentist for sure that is looking to sell out in about 15 years, same reason, no family members to take over. Now, you have to want to live in a small town for these opportunities, which I do, but trust me, none of these dentists are hurting financially.
 

zammyd

2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2015
286
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Also am curious on OP's work location. From what I keep reading, I think this factor is huge in determining how the profession treats you.
 

boyhamdzui

2+ Year Member
Aug 13, 2015
72
48
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Pre-Dental
IMO, what you said is true, dentistry will be saturated. However, open a practice is the same thing as doing business and it is not easy. It is all come down to how you want to live your life. 400k in debt is a lot more than it looks like. This post actually can serve as a warning to anyone think of dentist as an easy-money.
 
OP
X
Nov 17, 2015
2
25
Status
Dentist
For those of you asking - My practice is located in the DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area. My brother is in the same area as well. And yes, location plays a huge role - but does so for many other jobs as well. This is a little blunt - but justifying going into Dentistry because you "can always work out in the boonies" isn't a particularly smart way to make a career decision. Almost every major metro area in the US is saturated for the most part, and most practices have excess capacity. When was the last time you heard a dentist say "I'm too busy" ? No more new patients?

On a side note - the impending crash of orthodontia will probably hit quicker (think like next ~4 years) - orthodontist salaries are being decimated at the moment, as more and more GPs (trained over the past decade, and comfortable NOT referring things) start doing Invisalign to prop up their bottom line. That's a story for another day however - (I'll need to ask a few friends from my dental school days to get a more accurate picture of what's going on)
 

oralcare123

7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
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I will try to be nice. All those gloomy posts make me smile.
Making good money always takes an effort. And if the wife does not want to support me and share life difficulties, she is not worth keeping
Invisalign has a lot of limitations and orthodontists are offering it too
 
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Soleus715

7+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2011
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First, I want to say that I am really sorry that you are unsatisfied with where you are at. I am older than most applicants so I do agree and understand a lot of the financial issues you have brought up.
My reply is not meant to be offensive or disrespectful but just my point of view from what I've experienced so far. That being said, I really do hope things go well for you.

5) The job itself leaves much to be desired. You clean/fix teeth. Thats it. You don’t do complex jaw surgeries (no, Mr. Oral Surgeon - you don’t. You pull 3rds all day in private practice pretending you're a doctor) and you definitely don’t do anything reconstructive asides from teeth. You’re a glorified tooth mechanic. Now don’t get me wrong - I love what I do - but there are other things that now, after several years of practice, I feel like I would also derive pleasure from doing.
It sounds like you aren't passionate about dentistry although you say otherwise.
From my very VERY short experience as an assistant, most of the patients I've seen respect my boss and are grateful for the treatments they get.
Who cares what your brother or other physicians think of dentists... It's not about fame/respect/recognition... at least for me.

It's not just being a "glorified tooth mechanic" when a patient comes in with a severe toothache and needs treatment. They are in pain and it prevents them from normal day to day activities.
It's a serious issue for them if it's preventing them from working, eating, smiling, etc. If dentists didn't exist, what would someone do with a severe toothache? Take more ibuprofen?

I'm somewhat confused with your comments about "you don't do anything reconstructive asides from teeth". You became a dentist to treat teeth, I'm not sure what you expected.
Also, your comment about "pretending to be a doctor" makes it sound like you personally believe all the stuff you learned is worthless to you not just in a financial way but clinically as well. All health professions each have their merits, and dentistry focuses on... teeth. Maybe this is the root of your frustration with dentistry. Maybe dentistry just doesn't suit you. I'm not too sure where you are with debt, but it's never too late to change. I've seen a person in their mid 40's at my interview, I think a career change is still possible. However, if you truly value your education and dentistry as a profession, maybe you need something to spark your passion for it again.
-----

Furthermore, I have not seen my boss try to "woo" any patients. That's unethical in my opinion regardless of whether or not another corporate office will "woo" a patient to do an unnecessary crown.
It's always been about giving the patient all the options and helping them decide. If it's better to save the tooth, but they cannot afford it, they probably will choose to extract it. Only thing my boss would do here is to offer them a payment plan to help them choose a procedure without being negatively influenced by finances. There's no way he would force it on them or use persuasion only to get more money.

I handle a lot of the business side in my office and my boss allows generous discounts regardless of the reductions in ins fee schedules. Money's important, but smart planning is even more important which allows you to be financially flexible with patients. Many will be grateful and word of mouth will spread and the practice will grow at an exponential rate. We stopped all advertising for as long as I can remember and we're booked pretty much through January already. There are so many new patients coming in that I feel bad they have to wait a lot sometimes with the way the schedule is right now. Location matters a lot, but so does your relationship with your patients. If you are frustrated with dentistry, it may show in your interaction with your patients.
 
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catoshiro

2+ Year Member
Dec 21, 2014
169
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Pre-Dental
For those of you asking - My practice is located in the DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area. My brother is in the same area as well. And yes, location plays a huge role - but does so for many other jobs as well. This is a little blunt - but justifying going into Dentistry because you "can always work out in the boonies" isn't a particularly smart way to make a career decision. Almost every major metro area in the US is saturated for the most part, and most practices have excess capacity. When was the last time you heard a dentist say "I'm too busy" ? No more new patients?

On a side note - the impending crash of orthodontia will probably hit quicker (think like next ~4 years) - orthodontist salaries are being decimated at the moment, as more and more GPs (trained over the past decade, and comfortable NOT referring things) start doing Invisalign to prop up their bottom line. That's a story for another day however - (I'll need to ask a few friends from my dental school days to get a more accurate picture of what's going on)
Mm shadowed a GP in Austin, was always booked out with 3 chairs for a month. patients would come in from Dallas and Houston, drive 4 hrs just to see this dentist. Obviously doing incredibly well as said dentist took week long vacations every other month. oh and didn't take insurance. Not sure what worked for him but that's for me to talk to him about halfway through dental school. Right now I'm just trying to get in.
 
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tkim

10 cc's cordrazine
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Aug 2, 2002
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So funny how all the pre-dents are crapping on the OP.

Couple things:

1) Unless you're counting a one-year dental residency, emergency medicine residency is 3-4 years long after med school. It's not only two years longer. Plenty of time for interest to accrue on those whopping loans.

2) That salary is location and payor dependent. Plenty of er docs making more and less, depending on hours worked and location.

3) When I'm up at 3am, Christmas day, and someone signs into the ER with 'dental pain', and I check the EMR and see that they've been here once a month for the past year for the same complaint, and I write them another script for amox or clinda, and a fistful of norco/vics/percs, with the discharge paperwork of "follow up with your dentist", I know that they'll be back in a month, because dentists don't take medicaid, they don't work major holidays, nights, weekends.

4) It's specialty dependent, but a not insignificant percentage of my patients die, smell really bad, are crazy, hostile, have no insurance, and I cannot refuse to see them.

The grass is always greener.
 

Dentalkid20

5+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2014
141
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I wonder if the OP has ever met an Oral Surgeon? Bone grafts, implants, tooth exposures, sinus lifts, jaw replacements... all are normal everyday surgeries. And with the training provided in medical school recent graduates have skills to perform facial reconstructions and much more.... Dentistry is awesome, sorry this guy doesn't feel the same.
 
Mar 16, 2015
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As someone who has worked in the emergency room for 5 years. I would gladly make 30k to look at teeth all day.
 
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Nov 22, 2014
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For those of you asking - My practice is located in the DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area. My brother is in the same area as well. And yes, location plays a huge role - but does so for many other jobs as well. This is a little blunt - but justifying going into Dentistry because you "can always work out in the boonies" isn't a particularly smart way to make a career decision. Almost every major metro area in the US is saturated for the most part, and most practices have excess capacity. When was the last time you heard a dentist say "I'm too busy" ? No more new patients?

On a side note - the impending crash of orthodontia will probably hit quicker (think like next ~4 years) - orthodontist salaries are being decimated at the moment, as more and more GPs (trained over the past decade, and comfortable NOT referring things) start doing Invisalign to prop up their bottom line. That's a story for another day however - (I'll need to ask a few friends from my dental school days to get a more accurate picture of what's going on)
All the time. My dentist is full, not taking new patients, hasn't for several years. His son, who has been with his practice 2 years is also now full. The other dentists in town are also full, well one isn't but he is a crook and people don't stay with him very long. We have family friends that have to drive 1 1/2 hours to go to a dentist because they are newer to town and can't get in. We got lucky years ago to get into our now dentist because we got to be friends with his children in sports.

Also, the most expensive house on the market in our town is $450,000. It is a 6500 sq foot huge house. A typical 2 story, 4 bedroom "suburban" house goes for about $250,000 but you can get into a nice 4 bedroom ranch, 2500 ish sq feet for $150,000 or less. So, even if you netted 100K/year, your cost of living is so much less, walk to work probably even, that you are still living a really nice lifestyle. Heck, a family membership at the PGA 4 star rated golf course in town is only $1600/year.
 
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faceman

2+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2015
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OP is 100% correct. Here in NY good luck setting up a practice. I am not kidding, where I live there are about 5 dentists on almost each block.

Competition is fierce, saturation is REAL, and private equity Giants are buying out every practice and consolidating. Remember that corporations have economies of scale and are able to drive down prices to squeeze out competition. I'm not saying it's impossible to succeed, but times are different and with huge loans, decreasing reimbursement, saturation, technological innovation/CE training, and tuition rising much faster than the rate of real inflation.. It will be much harder for the new age of dentists.

To overcome these issues: location, business sense (success in dentistry = 80% business model, 20% service quality), skill and speed, niche.

The key to success is to have a realistic view of the market and adapt accordingly. To disregard these issues because it makes you feel better and reaffirms your decision is a big mistake and you will learn it the hard way sooner or later.

Dentistry is still an excellent profession for the right person. Do it for the passion, or pick something else.

Best to all and good luck in the real world.
 
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Typical Average Student

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Jul 6, 2014
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It sounds like OP is having a serious case of "my brother makes more, why can't I?"

I've worked in the ER for 3 years and trust me... 7/10 ER physicians would rather have the relaxing life of a dentist over the stress of an ER lifestyle any day. The other 3/10 haven't been burnt out 5 years in yet or only work PRN.

I agree that dentistry is saturated to a point but most likely will not be as bad as pharmacy because most pharmacists don't own their own practice so they depend on Walgreens, CVS, and Walmarts to open. The day I see a dental office in a Walmart, I'll let you know.
 

faceman

2+ Year Member
Nov 15, 2015
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It sounds like you live in the absolute middle of nowhere somewhere in like Iowa or Nebraska or something, and it's sounding pretty good right now...

Location is key and if you set up shop with a decent demand and low supply, you will do very well. But, any decent area is most likely occupied by a healthy # of dentists. And in all honesty, who wants to move to some rural county.. No offense lol.

For OMFS, I think the situation is slightly different. There are less oral surgeons being produced and the scope of omfs is far wider than dentistry. With an increasing # of dentists doing implants and 3rds, the T&T business model is sure to suffer. In fact, i spoke to oral sx locally that say it's becoming increasingly more difficult to get referrals, decreasing reimbursement (increase in amount of Medicaid pt and those with garbage insurance policies). The issue is that private practice OMS is all about referral networks and your bottom line is ultimately a function of GPs sending you cases. You have to be willing to constantly expand your GP network. Another issue is this new traveling OMS bs.

Nevertheless, the guys do fairly well and are overall happy about their profession. It's important to note that those entering OMS should inspire to be full scope practioners rather than exodontists and implantologists. I think the future of omfs will have to expand their scope of service.

Can't comment on the academic realm, but my ultimate goal is to have a delicate balance in academia and private practice.
 
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zammyd

2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2015
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For all those giving OP a hard time, I'm actually glad he made this post. Dentistry is not all glam and glory and this post really demonstrates valid concerns that one should consider. Although struggling as a dentist may not be that common, it is still definitely possible, and people who are considering to pursue dentistry should be aware of this.
 

redmau5

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Apr 10, 2014
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For all those giving OP a hard time, I'm actually glad he made this post. Dentistry is not all glam and glory and this post really demonstrates valid concerns that one should consider. Although struggling as a dentist may not be that common, it is still definitely possible, and people who are considering to pursue dentistry should be aware of this.
Agreed. I think the post is valuable because it raises awareness about some of the issues we'll face as future dentists. That said, the overdramatic title ("Do NOT go into Dentistry") is childish and pointless. There are ways to work around many of the issues mentioned in the OP, especially if you know what you're getting yourself into beforehand. To reiterate what many others have already said, the grass is always greener...
 
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doc toothache

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Jan 17, 2006
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Time to switch careers. If nothing else, it will help the "saturation" issue.
 

Miley Cyrus.

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Feb 18, 2014
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Do you think specializing would offer slightly better financial prospects? I heard ortho has been hit hard, although I'm not sure whether it is otho's being crybabies in that they can no longer make $800k/yr. Thoughts??
 
May 13, 2013
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Do you think specializing would offer slightly better financial prospects? I heard ortho has been hit hard, although I'm not sure whether it is otho's being crybabies in that they can no longer make $800k/yr. Thoughts??
Curious about this as well. I have heard a lot about struggles with Ortho. Also, are other specialties like Endo or Perio facing problems in areas like DC as well?
 
Nov 22, 2014
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It sounds like you live in the absolute middle of nowhere somewhere in like Iowa or Nebraska or something, and it's sounding pretty good right now...
Not quite in the middle of no where, but yes, we are in a rural area, but still close enough to the "big city" to participate in all that has to offer.

Location is key and if you set up shop with a decent demand and low supply, you will do very well. But, any decent area is most likely occupied by a healthy # of dentists. And in all honesty, who wants to move to some rural county.. No offense lol.

For OMFS, I think the situation is slightly different. There are less oral surgeons being produced and the scope of omfs is far wider than dentistry. With an increasing # of dentists doing implants and 3rds, the T&T business model is sure to suffer. In fact, i spoke to oral sx locally that say it's becoming increasingly more difficult to get referrals, decreasing reimbursement (increase in amount of Medicaid pt and those with garbage insurance policies). The issue is that private practice OMS is all about referral networks and your bottom line is ultimately a function of GPs sending you cases. You have to be willing to constantly expand your GP network. Another issue is this new traveling OMS bs.

Nevertheless, the guys do fairly well and are overall happy about their profession. It's important to note that those entering OMS should inspire to be full scope practioners rather than exodontists and implantologists. I think the future of omfs will have to expand their scope of service.

Can't comment on the academic realm, but my ultimate goal is to have a delicate balance in academia and private practice.
Those of us that grew up in that environment :). Don't knock it until you try it but it's a great life....and great opportunities to have a successful practice. When we as children pretty much had free reign to roam the town, bike to our friends' houses, go to the store and buy candy as young as 1st grade, it's a great life and one I hope my future children will have as well. Along with all of that, we had top notch schools, 30 AP classes to choose from, DE classes at the university in town, etc, etc,etc. Plus, we are easy driving distance to the major metro for sports, concerts, etc.
 
May 6, 2015
589
854
Status
Pre-Dental
Not quite in the middle of no where, but yes, we are in a rural area, but still close enough to the "big city" to participate in all that has to offer.

Those of us that grew up in that environment :). Don't knock it until you try it but it's a great life....and great opportunities to have a successful practice. When we as children pretty much had free reign to roam the town, bike to our friends' houses, go to the store and buy candy as young as 1st grade, it's a great life and one I hope my future children will have as well. Along with all of that, we had top notch schools, 30 AP classes to choose from, DE classes at the university in town, etc, etc,etc. Plus, we are easy driving distance to the major metro for sports, concerts, etc.
Shhh don't tell them!!!
 

EasTexan

0011101001000100
5+ Year Member
Sep 23, 2013
339
507
Texas
Status
Non-Student
I'm here for the rural hype train!

I mean... no.. stay in the city.
 
Mar 26, 2015
11
4
Behold, dentists from NY are CA are coming!

This guy was in DC... not CA or NY. From what Ive heard, I think saturation is a problem in most major metro areas in the United States. The number of dentists per capita has gone from 55 per 100,000 to 64/100,000 over the last decade. Thats a 15% increase in the number of dentists across the United States in like what, 10 years? But that ratio is counting rural areas - in major metro areas the ratio is more like 200/100,000 or higher. Plus the whole corporate dentistry thing... A decade ago, corporations were virtually nonexistent. Now, they control ~10% of all dental practices, and the number is rising steadily each year...


Oh, and don't forget the midlevels (advanced hygienists, therapists), who have a better change of getting what they want (they already have in many states) than medical midlevels, because lets face it - filling a tooth isn't rocket science, and won't kill anyone...


Maybe the OP is a really determined predent looking to lower his future competition

IMO he probably isn't. EM sounds like a good deal though - looking through the med forums, it seriously looks like this is legit. Only a 3 year, noncompetitive residency after med school (shortest one), then 300k a year? A ton of people also mentioned cutting back to 20 hours/week as they got older and still making 200k+, which doesn't sound half bad... With 4 years of dental + 1 year gpr, thats only 2 years less than 4 years med +3 years residency for the EM physician - who can moonlight...


To be honest, I am interested in dentistry for the lifestyle it provides, job stability, and income... and because I had always viewed medicine as being "too long". I shadowed several dentists in my hometown, and a few doctors, and could see myself doing either. Despite what everyone on this forum says... I doubt anyone here has a "passion" for teeth. I mean, come on... Looking more and more at the debt picture, and the fact that I'll have to buy a practice for another 500k - putting me nearly 1 million dollars in debt before I've earned a dime - It just doesn't make sense financially for me. Plus, since many hospitals are non-profits, residents qualify for loan repayments much much easier, and quicker than most dentists ever would.

I was planning on applying to Dental School this next cycle, but I think I might just buckle down, take the MCAT and shoot for med instead. If I'm doing a postbacc, not gonna waste it on dental school when I have a clear shot for medicine, esp with my gpa which isn't much below average (3.5 vs 3.67 average for all med schools). There are tons of med schools out there - even some that barely get any applicants.

I figure if I'm willing to move/live to the middle of nowhere after dental school for 10+ years, then going to a med school in the middle of Kentucky, or wherever for 4 years isn't that bad of a tradeoff. Every other "alternative health" field I've looked at - optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy - there really isn't a silver bullet for income vs hours worked. The king of it all is Medicine and thts always gonna be protected....
 
Last edited:

PocketRocket

2+ Year Member
Jan 25, 2015
577
423
Status
Pre-Dental
I worked in the ED for like 4 years and the doctors have it pretty good. Personally, the thing that turned me away from it is that most of the time is spent talking to and consulting patients, communicating with scribes regarding documentation, and in a way commanding or leading a team of nurses, NPs, and PAs. Most of the "physical work" is done by the techs, RNs, PAs, and NPs. Don't get me wrong there is plenty of consulting/socializing done in dentistry but its more of a 5:1 ratio while as an ER MD/DO it's the other way around. A lot of people like that though. However, I find myself most immersed when I am doing work with my hands and that is one of the reasons why I'm choosing dentistry as my future career.
 

Screwtape

10+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2008
894
759
Midwest, USA
Status
Dentist
This guy was in DC... not CA or NY. From what Ive heard, I think saturation is a problem in most major metro areas in the United States. The number of dentists per capita has gone from 55 per 100,000 to 64/100,000 over the last decade. Thats a 15% increase in the number of dentists across the United States in like what, 10 years? But that ratio is counting rural areas - in major metro areas the ratio is more like 200/100,000 or higher. Plus the whole corporate dentistry thing... A decade ago, corporations were virtually nonexistent. Now, they control ~10% of all dental practices, and the number is rising steadily each year...


Oh, and don't forget the midlevels (advanced hygienists, therapists), who have a better change of getting what they want (they already have in many states) than medical midlevels, because lets face it - filling a tooth isn't rocket science, and won't kill anyone...





IMO he probably isn't. EM sounds like a good deal though - looking through the med forums, it seriously looks like this is legit. Only a 3 year, noncompetitive residency after med school (shortest one), then 300k a year? A ton of people also mentioned cutting back to 20 hours/week as they got older and still making 200k+, which doesn't sound half bad... With 4 years of dental + 1 year gpr, thats only 2 years less than 4 years med +3 years residency for the EM physician - who can moonlight...


To be honest, I am interested in dentistry for the lifestyle it provides, job stability, and income... and because I had always viewed medicine as being "too long". I shadowed several dentists in my hometown, and a few doctors, and could see myself doing either. Despite what everyone on this forum says... I doubt anyone here has a "passion" for teeth. I mean, come on... Looking more and more at the debt picture, and the fact that I'll have to buy a practice for another 500k - putting me nearly 1 million dollars in debt before I've earned a dime - It just doesn't make sense financially for me. Plus, since many hospitals are non-profits, residents qualify for loan repayments much much easier, and quicker than most dentists ever would.

I was planning on applying to Dental School this next cycle, but I think I might just buckle down, take the MCAT and shoot for med instead. If I'm doing a postbacc, not gonna waste it on dental school when I have a clear shot for medicine, esp with my gpa which isn't much below average (3.5 vs 3.67 average for all med schools). There are tons of med schools out there - even some that barely get any applicants.

I figure if I'm willing to move/live to the middle of nowhere after dental school for 10+ years, then going to a med school in the middle of Kentucky, or wherever for 4 years isn't that bad of a tradeoff. Every other "alternative health" field I've looked at - optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy - there really isn't a silver bullet for income vs hours worked. The king of it all is Medicine and thts always gonna be protected....
I doubt many people in medicine would concur, they usually say get the heck out of health care in general. Personally, I think the dental specialities are probably the best deal income vs hours worked along with successful general dentists and a few medical specialties (only the uber competitive ones). Also most people think EM salaries are unsustainable at the current rate, but there are many more informed people on that subject and I have no crystal ball. Do your research!
 

htorres89

5+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2014
236
139
After reading this I feel stuck. I don't know whether to shake this guy's hands down thank him for taking the time to write such an informative post that may prevent me from doing something I regret or to just keep it moving and focus on getting into dental school next year. My father is also a dentist, so a lot of this stuff he was saying, I can recall my dad going through the same issues(issues with insurance, over saturation,etc.).

However, when my dad was in dental school(in the 1980's) damn near everyone was telling him to get out of the profession before it was too late because of how rapid it was expanding....but that was back then and it's different world we live in now.

So I don't know what to believe. I feel like speaking with a bunch of doctors and just make my opinion from there.
 
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