evaluating the future job outlook for orthos. please help

Nov 21, 2011
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Pre-Medical
hey guys. I have recently started to shadow an ortho and I really feel like this is a career path I would like to follow. However, I am a little concerned about the job outlook. Currently (from my understanding to talking to my ortho AND using the search feautre in this forum) it seems like ortho is a somewhat unsaturated field. meaning job oppurtunity is there. however, i've heard that the outlook for ortho isn't that great and salaries might take a dip because GP are starting to do a lot of the things that ortho's do. I am currently a second year in undergraduate so I have a LOT of time before I would ever practice but I wanted to know what your opinion was of the ortho field in the next 10-15 years. thanks!
 

theleatherwalle

7+ Year Member
Jul 16, 2011
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Dental Student
I'll give you a D1 perspective.

GP's are starting to do more and more procedures as technology improves. Things like invisiline make it easier tor GPs to do what orthos do. Orthos also do more than braces! It seems the vast majority of people want to specialize, but remember ortho programs are extremely competitive. Also, things tend to go up and down. What is hot today may not be so hot tomorrow. Business majors and perio was hot back in the 80s, but today Endo is the hot field. hot field=makin money! Look at how business majors are doing now if you want to see how things tend to come and go. I suggest you go shadow and try not to worry to much about the job perspectives. Honestly, no-one can predict the future. GPs will continue to do more and more things, but there will always be need for talented specialists!
 

jeffity

7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2009
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GPs will continue to do more and more things, but there will always be need for talented specialists!
I like this. Unless you've had the extra years of training and are doing these procedures all day, you're never going to be able to hang with specialists. As a GP, if you run into trouble, you can always rely on the specialist to save your butt.

If you want to keep your options open and not get stuck in a specialty, stick with GP and try to pick a field that you want to semi-specialize in. You don't want to be a jack of all trades (you'll end up being sub-par at all of them), but you could put the time and effort in to becoming proficient in an area. I'm not talking about a few CE courses or some 2 weekend crash course. I know a GP who has become turbo with endo. Another I know does ortho. But he put in two years of training with a year of 'lecture' two days a week and another year of 2-3 days in a clinical setting.
 
OP
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Nov 21, 2011
64
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Pre-Medical
thanks for your input! I'm just worried and trying to research before I commit myself to dentistry. My parents want me to go the MD route but I just have more of an inclination towards dentistry because I think it allows for more patient interaction and that's something I really value. And I was just wondering what makes you believe that endo is the hot field now?
 

jeffity

7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2009
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I'm no authority on the matter, but one thing I've heard is that endo is in the business of saving teeth. Random Joe's on the street think implants or stem cell stuff (maybe Joe's don't know about that part...) are the end of dentistry altogether. But an implant is never going to be better than your real tooth. At least for the foreseeable futuer. Whether someone wants to just pull a tooth to save money is likely the same person who would rather go without the tooth than get an implant.
 

jigabodo

10+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2006
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Dentist
hey guys. I have recently started to shadow an ortho and I really feel like this is a career path I would like to follow. However, I am a little concerned about the job outlook. Currently (from my understanding to talking to my ortho AND using the search feautre in this forum) it seems like ortho is a somewhat unsaturated field. meaning job oppurtunity is there. however, i've heard that the outlook for ortho isn't that great and salaries might take a dip because GP are starting to do a lot of the things that ortho's do. I am currently a second year in undergraduate so I have a LOT of time before I would ever practice but I wanted to know what your opinion was of the ortho field in the next 10-15 years. thanks!
I will give you my 2 cent as someone who just recently graduated from dental school.

Specialists will always be needed in the field. Back in dental school, I would say I received pretty basic knowledge about orthodontics, and that's about it. I know how to look at facial profiles and evaluate SNA, SNB and all that, but beyond that, I really had no practical clinical experiences regarding ortho. I've made a few appliances and that's about it.

Sure, there are always courses available to GP. They can take CE courses and learn how to put on braces. However, in reality, the information they learned in those weekend courses are nowhere near the level of what a specialist will learn in 2 years. They will probably be able to treat straight forward ortho cases after taking CE courses, but cases of moderate to severe difficulties are still going to be handled by specialists.

That being said, with the way the economy is going on, more GPs are indeed trying to keep patients in their own office instead of referring them out. In addition, with the bad economy, patients are less likely to shell out money for procedures that aren't absolutely necessary. IMO, prosthodontists have probably been hit the most, followed by ortho, perio/pediatrics. Endodontits and OMFS are basically untouched, so to speak. That is actually one of the main reasons I can see affecting ortho (as well as other specialties) in the near future.
 
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yappy

10+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2008
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I agree with the above poster in that, if the economy improves and more people who have neglected dental issues make it to their GP, the GP may lose interest in ortho. I dont think it's their lowest hanging fruit. I think they're resorting to doing more (adult) ortho because they're looking for extra streams of revenue.

One thing I was thinking about the other day is I would suspect that perio may become a hot field once the relatively wealthy generation - babyboomers - begin to retire with full dentition. People keeping their teeth longer + longer lives + glut of people in that age bracket = good times for perio? Maybe?
 
OP
N
Nov 21, 2011
64
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Pre-Medical
thanks for the replies guys! i haven't really thought about specialties the way you guys have described it. and it makes sense. i suppose a safe bet would be to get into dental school and ride it out until I face the decision to specialize or not and when the time comes I can see how the market is and make a decision. right? hah
 
OP
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Nov 21, 2011
64
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Pre-Medical
sorry for adding onto the thread but I was wondering if it was normal for a orthodonitsit to also be a GP. so in this way you get the best of both worlds. does this make sense?
 

jeffity

7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2009
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Dentist
sorry for adding onto the thread but I was wondering if it was normal for a orthodonitsit to also be a GP. so in this way you get the best of both worlds. does this make sense?
I thought it wasn't allowed. Whether that's an ethics thing or a rule somewhere, I don't know. I was under the impression that it's kind of a "you can't turn back" sort of thing.