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DeeEmDee

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Someone mentioned in another thread (about alternative careers for dental graduates) that some dentists decide to switch to dental hygiene careers after graduating. Does this happen regularly?...I ask because I'm considering dental school but it seems the hygienist route is a lot easier with very good pay, even if the prestige is much less. Any insights on this?
 

Drill2Fill

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It would be crazy to become a hygienist, if you graduated from dental school.
 
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I know this dentist in Fresno, Calif who only do hygiene after graduating. With salary, profitsharing, and bonus, she make a decent $600/day. Not bad and less stress!
 

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Yeah that was funny:p but does anyone have any serious thoughts on this? I can't imagine too many dentists settling for hygienist jobs after 4 years of hell.

edit: Daurang, I just saw your post. Thanks. The money/stress ratio does seem to be pretty good for hygienists. hmmmm.
 

djeffreyt

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Yes, it happens. No it doesn't happen very much. I have no idea what a figure would be, but I think I'd be safe to say it's probably less than 1% and probably way less than 1% of dentists who graduate who either immediately or after a while decide not to become full time dentists and settle for being hygienists. I was the one who mentioned it in the last thread, and only because I know of two hygienists in San Diego who are actually DDS. That's all I know of, and there are well over 2000-3000 dentists in San Diego...not that I've met them all. I also know some dentists with very small practices who do all their own hygiene appointments so they don't have hygienists. They also do the other dental work too, but they do hygiene to avoid paying a hygienist, which is expensive, and so they don't need to have as big of a client base in order to keep the office running all day.

The one hygienist who I've spoken with more about it graduated sometime in the early 90s and knew right away she didn't want to do everything in dentistry (not just having to deal with setting up an office and such, but also didn't like doing fillings or crowns, etc.) She took a job in a perio office and has done cleanings and root planings for the last decade or so and says she's perfectly happy, makes great dough, and will continue doing this as long as she likes. Although a search on how much a hygienist makes an hour or monthly varies greatly...it is generally higher than what things like the OOH, salary.com, etc. say. According to those sites, average hygienists make roughly $25-30 an hour, and have average yearly salaries around 50-65K. In San Diego, where I live, the dentists I speak to and the ads for hygienists I see usually say about $350-$500 per day, which is more like $50 an hour or 100K a year.

You don't have to go into hygiene, though, to avoid the business side of dentistry if that is all you dislike. I'm sure more than a few dentists wouldn't mind an associate who stayed an associate for more than a few years without trying to break out on their own. You could just stay an associate without ever becoming the lead dentist in your own practice. You could work for a dental corporation or be a salaried dentist at a dental clinic that serves a specific population. All of these positions pay less than the average private practice dentist who owns their own business, but it's not chump change...at least $100,000 if not more.
 

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It all depends what you want to do. For me, I had some jobs where I did hygiene regularly because I felt it was less stress for me to do hygiene than to drill & fill. I knew as a general dentist I was just buying time until I returned to residency, so I wanted to see more patients who were happy to be at the dentist's office (those coming for cleanings) and less of the patients who were dreading being there (anyone who required a "shot").

There is a thread on Dentaltown describing how associates sometimes do hygiene when being introduced into a practice to get to know the patient & the patient's mouth better and build the associate's schedule.

And if you can make $100K in Fresno scraping calculus and selling Arestin, then that is a heck of a value for a 2 year degree.
 

Dr. Dai Phan

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For US grads it is rare to go from DDS to DH. However, I have personally know 3 foreign grads who went to a 2 year DH school and work as hygeinists. If someone pays me 800 bucks a day just cleaning teeth, it may worth considering. I know of a prosthodontist who focus his practice to only making dentures and nothing else. No handpiece no local anesthetic no fillings... just dentures. I guess it depends on how you want to earn your living. DP
 

DeeEmDee

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Thanks for the feedback guys. But are there any men in this field at all? Almost all hygienists I've heard of are women. It may sound shallow but as a guy, I don't want to be the dental equivalent of a male nurse.
 

Drill2Fill

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It is a female dominated career, I haven't met a single male hygienist before.
 

johntara04

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It is a female dominated career, I haven't met a single male hygienist before.

There was an dude in my wife's class, but he hasn't passed his clinical boards yet (3 yrs), so he is a graduated hygienist, but not a licensed one.
 
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Tooth

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I heard that there was a dentist who, instead of practicing dentistry, would hire tons of hygienists. Since hygienists are required to work under the supervision of a dentist, he would hire like 10 of them and have them do all the work. Then, for any actual dental needs, he would refer them out to general dentists in the community. Often, I've heard that hygienists are the most profitable asset you can have in your practice. This is because they have virtually no overhead. For the most part, they just need to have their scalers sharpened every once and awhile. So, if you can keep them busy, you'll rake it in and not have to lift a finger. Think about it.
 

capisce?

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I heard that there was a dentist who, instead of practicing dentistry, would hire tons of hygienists. Since hygienists are required to work under the supervision of a dentist, he would hire like 10 of them and have them do all the work. Then, for any actual dental needs, he would refer them out to general dentists in the community.

I don't doubt someone doing this, but it would rarely work. Outside dentists are not going to do restorative on patients who they aren't seeing for films and prophy. The hygiene is the easy revenue and most dentists will not be happy about someone who is poaching it and only referring the restos.
 

aphistis

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I heard that there was a dentist who, instead of practicing dentistry, would hire tons of hygienists. Since hygienists are required to work under the supervision of a dentist, he would hire like 10 of them and have them do all the work. Then, for any actual dental needs, he would refer them out to general dentists in the community. Often, I've heard that hygienists are the most profitable asset you can have in your practice. This is because they have virtually no overhead. For the most part, they just need to have their scalers sharpened every once and awhile. So, if you can keep them busy, you'll rake it in and not have to lift a finger. Think about it.
The hygienists themselves are overhead, and they're expensive. If you're paying two hygienists, say, $30/hour each, that gets expensive in one big hurry.
 

johntara04

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The hygienists themselves are overhead, and they're expensive. If you're paying two hygienists, say, $30/hour each, that gets expensive in one big hurry.

$30 an hour x 2 = $60 an hour

$60 an hour x 8 hours (average work day) = $480 a day

cost of prophy = $100

16 patients a day for 2 hygienists x $100 = $1600 a day

$1600 x 65% [cost of overhead (this is hygienist pay, heating, lighting, instrument cleaning, new supplies, etc, etc, etc)] = $1040

Now, you made $560 today for doing absolutely nothing. This didn't include the cost of your exam, x-rays, sealants, Arestin, etc. Also throw in a couple quads of SRP and you easily drive your profit through the roof.

Also, in some states your hygienist can give anesthesia. So, instead of wasting 10 minutes getting your patients numb, have the hygienist do it (they can take 5 minutes from their schedule to do this, especially if you have 2), then you walk in, do your thing and this allows you to see 3-4 more patients a day (that also drives up your profit).

The only doctors I have seen that are losing money on hygienists are the ones that don't know how to run a business, don't use their hygienists properly, or hire too many.
 

aphistis

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$30 an hour x 2 = $60 an hour

$60 an hour x 8 hours (average work day) = $480 a day

cost of prophy = $100

16 patients a day for 2 hygienists x $100 = $1600 a day

$1600 x 65% [cost of overhead (this is hygienist pay, heating, lighting, instrument cleaning, new supplies, etc, etc, etc)] = $1040

Now, you made $560 today for doing absolutely nothing. This didn't include the cost of your exam, x-rays, sealants, Arestin, etc. Also throw in a couple quads of SRP and you easily drive your profit through the roof.

Also, in some states your hygienist can give anesthesia. So, instead of wasting 10 minutes getting your patients numb, have the hygienist do it (they can take 5 minutes from their schedule to do this, especially if you have 2), then you walk in, do your thing and this allows you to see 3-4 more patients a day (that also drives up your profit).

The only doctors I have seen that are losing money on hygienists are the ones that don't know how to run a business, don't use their hygienists properly, or hire too many.
Did I say anything, anywhere, about losing money? Did I?

I said hygienists are expensive. That's it.
 
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aphistis

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I'm just connecting the dots in your own posts. Have you chosen between the $250,000 and the $300,000 job offers yet, or are you still trying to decide? :)
 

capisce?

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Since when is recieving money for doing nothing expensive?

Well, I can pay a hygienist to do my prophies in my office, or I can get my assistant to go to a 7 hour CE about coronal polishing and just have assistants do the prophies.

Sure, I make money on both for 'doing nothing'. But I'll make twice as much with assistants than hygienists because of the overhead difference due to salary.

Hygienists are expensive. Enough said.

Thank you, please drive thru.
 

johntara04

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Well, I can pay a hygienist to do my prophies in my office, or I can get my assistant to go to a 7 hour CE about coronal polishing and just have assistants do the prophies.

Sure, I make money on both for 'doing nothing'. But I'll make twice as much with assistants than hygienists because of the overhead difference due to salary.

Hygienists are expensive. Enough said.

Thank you, please drive thru.

In most states, it is illegal for to charge for a prophy when all your assistant has done is a coronal polish. So, if you can have your assistant do that where you are, good for you. If not, good luck with that.
 

capisce?

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In most states, it is illegal for to charge for a prophy when all your assistant has done is a coronal polish. So, if you can have your assistant do that where you are, good for you. If not, good luck with that.

You're so predictable. The funny part is I had a sentence that I edited that said "all I need to do legally to bill for a prophy is see the patient and touch a scaler to their tooth". But I figured you would then respond to that by saying it was no longer 'easy money' since I'd be taking my own chair time to get up and do that. Which then, in turn, would turn into and endless, useless pissing match. So I should add a disclaimer, since you probably will quote that last sentence and say something to the effect that it's too late and already has.

You act like that's unheard of. A majority of pedo practices have only assistants who do the coronol polishing and the dds clinks around to bill for the prophy with the exam. I'll have no need for one in pedo.
 

RDHwife

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A lot of people on this forum have a lot to learn.

1st of all, no 1 dentist can have 10 hygienists working for him. In AZ, one dentist can only have 3 hygienists by law.

2nd, if you're idea of a prophy is having your assistant polish the teeth, you will not have many patients. You should be ashamed of yourself that you are either in dental school or want to be a dentist and you don't realize that a prophy is a lot more than just a polish. Polishing only removes surface plaque and stain, but will leave all of the calculus...which is really the only important part of the cleaning. Your patients will not stay with you long if that is all you do. Or...their periodontal diesease will get so bad that all of there teeth will fall out. So...nice idea, but its not going to work. Patients will not go for it.

And, your hygiene department is a huge money maker. Yes hygienists are pricey, I'm not going to disagree. (A lot more than $30/hr) My schedule on a full day produces around $1200- $1500. If the Dr. pays me $500, he's still taking home a lot of money. Furthermore, the patients develop a relationship with their hygienist that is priceless. Most of the time, the Dr. will come in and diagnose a ton of work and the patient will look at me and ask me if they really need that done. Thats because they trust their hygienist. Yes they may love the Dr. too, but most patients automatically think that the Dr. is just trying to "buy a Mercedes" or something like that.

Now the original thread said from dentist to hygienist. Thats crazy. As a Dr. you can produce way more than a hygienist, and you should be able to make way more money. You deserve to. However, your practices' hygiene department is one of the most important things in your office. If you utilize your hygienists, you will be very successful. Hopefully it doesn't take you guys very long to learn that.
 

capisce?

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2nd, if you're idea of a prophy is having your assistant polish the teeth, you will not have many patients. You should be ashamed of yourself that you are either in dental school or want to be a dentist and you don't realize that a prophy is a lot more than just a polish. Polishing only removes surface plaque and stain, but will leave all of the calculus...which is really the only important part of the cleaning. Your patients will not stay with you long if that is all you do. Or...their periodontal diesease will get so bad that all of there teeth will fall out. So...nice idea, but its not going to work. Patients will not go for it.

You too have a lot to learn. Your first lesson should be to completely read posts before chastising people. For the record, no I'm not ashamed of myself and yes I am actually a licensed dentist and a pediatric resident.

I don't know about you, but I don't see too many 5 year-olds with calculus. For the few teenagers who may need scaling because of some calculus on the mand linguals, I can do that myself as a dds. It makes no sense for me to pay a hygienist when children rarely have anything other than plaque that's removed with a coronal polishing. I hate to break it to you, but except for the occasional aggressive perio not many children will have "periodontal diesease will get so bad that all of there teeth will fall out". It's the norm for pedo practices to employ assistants to do the coronal polishing. You bill it out as that, and if limited scaling needs to be done then you bill it out as a prophy.

Now, regarding the importance of RDHs, I think everyone here will agree that they are an integral part to the success of a dental practice for the reasons you mentioned. They just aren't a necessity in every practice type.
 

1992Corolla

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Sometimes I wish I was a hygeinist...anatomy test on friday:(

Hygeinists do cost a lot but their cost is outweighed by the amount of money they bring in. So technically they aren't expensive.:D

Not choosing sides here either, but JohnTara is a classmate of mine and a close friend. We have known each other since interview day. He has been connected to dentists for a long time and is very experienced.

Just hoping to add some credibility to his supposedly outrageous stories since I have been here for two years and post mostly serious stuff. I also don't see how he can't have been offered jobs already? Networking with close family friends and people you have worked for for a long time can be a bonus as we see here in JohnTara's case.

I'm guessing this thread will be closed soon...I hope I haven't overstepped the bounds of admin - poster relationship:D
 

aphistis

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johntara04 said:
BUT, I do have 2 offers already to work in 2 different offices. One is for $250,000, and the other for $300,000.
johntara04 said:
You don't know how long I have been doing this and in what capacity my experiece entails.
johntara04 said:
You may have watched the surgery, did you help treatment plan and assess the bone availability, augment bone, avoid sinuses/IA canals?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. I have done all of that. Don't assume you know where I am coming from and what I have or have not done.
johntara04 said:
Also, you may have done more procedures than me, but I guarantee I have seen/assisted more implants placed than you have done procedures.
johntara04 said:
So, even though I don't hold the drill (yet), I am way, way, way, WAY more experienced in dentistry than 90% of you guys (most likely you included as well).

Sorry, Corolla. You're a good guy. Your friend probably is too, away from the computer. But an anonymous first-year dental student, smugly talking down his nose at practicing dentists and throwing out ridiculous claims like these, is pretty hard not to openly laugh at, and just about impossible to take seriously.
 
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Jaybe

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So is JohnTara a boy or a girl???
:confused:
John = Boy,
Tara = Girl,
JohnTara = ?
 

johntara04

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Sorry, Corolla. You're a good guy. Your friend probably is too, away from the computer. But an anonymous first-year dental student, smugly talking down his nose at practicing dentists and throwing out ridiculous claims like these, is pretty hard not to openly laugh at, and just about impossible to take seriously.

Listen, this ridiculous, childish, and immature. You do not know what I have done and what I am currently doing. You do not know my background and previous education. You assume, because I am a first year dental student that there is no possible way I could of done those things. I am very fortunate to have the background in dentistry that I have. I kind of stumbled into it. But, I do have that experience. I am lucky enough to work for a doctor that basically does massive cases (most done in sedation at the local hospital). Last Wednesday, I watched him place 13 implants. He leaves every other weekend to different parts of the country and lectures on this subject. He takes home over 1 million a year. Also, due to the fact that he enjoys teaching so much, he has allowed me to participate in every step of the cases, from treatment planning to how to place implants (have I actualy placed, of course not). So, yes, I have helped treatment plan and assess the bone availability, augment bone, avoid sinuses/IA canals. Also, I have "sold" dentistry before.

Last Tuesday, the doctor was very busy, so he went in to the patients, did 15 minute exams, left, typed up the treatment plans and handed them to me. I took the patients into the patiet consult room, presented the treatment plans, set up future appointments (two were sedation cases, those will be fun to watch), and collected/set up financing for the patients. I did that for over $20,000 in dentistry.

Now, whether you believe this or not, it is true (and you don't have to believe it, that has no bearing on me). So, this childish bantering needs to stop between me and you. If you believe it great, I am sure my experience in working with this type of dentistry can help you, as your experiences of going through dental school can help me. But if you don't believe me, then just ignore me (who knows, maybe you aren't even in dental school, maybe your just some loser like Mark Hacking that wishes he was in dental school). Nothing I have said is untrue, nor does it offer dental advice to others, nor can you prove it is untrue. It is your word against mine. So until I say something that is untrue or can potentially hurt someone, this needs to stop.
 

OceanDMD

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In most states, it is illegal for to charge for a prophy when all your assistant has done is a coronal polish. So, if you can have your assistant do that where you are, good for you. If not, good luck with that.

In some states assistants cannot legally perform coronal polishing. It can be considered an irreversible type of treatment. You are essentially permanently removing microns of enamel.
 

johntara04

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So is JohnTara a boy or a girl???
:confused:
John = Boy,
Tara = Girl,
JohnTara = ?

I am a dude, I think I may have the most unoriginal screen name in the history of screen names. Can you guess what my wife's name is? Or what year we got married? :D
 

OceanDMD

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In some states assistants cannot legally perform coronal polishing. It can be considered an irreversible type of treatment. You are essentially permanently removing microns of enamel.

This is somewhat misleading. Most CERTIFIED assistants can perform coronal polishing. I used to practice in a state where a non-certified assistant could make and seat temporaries, and place composites, but couldn't perform coronal polishing.
 

johntara04

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This is somewhat misleading. Most CERTIFIED assistants can perform coronal polishing. I used to practice in a state where a non-certified assistant could make and seat temporaries, and place composites, but couldn't perform coronal polishing.

That seems a little backwards, doesn't it? We just moved to PA and in UT my wife could do anesthesia. The docs there loved it, as they could use her to do their injections, then just walk in and do the dentistry. Here she can't do anesthesia, and the docs are always so surprised to hear she could in Utah. They seem amazed that a "silly little hygienist" could handle such a big responsibility (even though she is the smartest person I know. She did not pay a penny for undergrad or hygiene, finished both in 3 years with a 3.9 gpa, she got an A- the semester we got married, and had better gpa/ACT scores than her 2 friends that went to Wharton). I guess what is acceptable or not just depends on what environment you were raised in.
 

capisce?

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Also, I have "sold" dentistry before.

Last Tuesday, the doctor was very busy, so he went in to the patients, did 15 minute exams, left, typed up the treatment plans and handed them to me. I took the patients into the patiet consult room, presented the treatment plans, set up future appointments (two were sedation cases, those will be fun to watch), and collected/set up financing for the patients. I did that for over $20,000 in dentistry.

Give me a break. You sold that treatment plan :laugh: I'm quite sure it was the reputation of your employer that allowed you to 'sell' that treatment plan. You may have presented it, but don't kid us and tell me you sold that case. Subtract the senior doc and place you 1 year out in a solo practice and see how many of those you sell early on.

And in regards to your quote about the fact that you seeing procedures makes you more qualified to do them than actual dentists, that's just laughable. I guess using that logic then assitants with more years of experience than the dentists they are helping might as well take over the case. You can watch all day, but until you pick up the handpiece you have no idea what it's like. Sure, you might have watched someone having to prep a margin on the distal of #2 blindly, but you can never appreciate the difficulty until you are the one doing it. Until then, go back to school and wait until you at least have the credentials to get up on your soapbox.
 

johntara04

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And in regards to your quote about the fact that you seeing procedures makes you more qualified to do them than actual dentists, that's just laughable. I guess using that logic then assitants with more years of experience than the dentists they are helping might as well take over the case. You can watch all day, but until you pick up the handpiece you have no idea what it's like. Sure, you might have watched someone having to prep a margin on the distal of #2 blindly, but you can never appreciate the difficulty until you are the one doing it. Until then, go back to school and wait until you at least have the credentials to get up on your soapbox.

Please show me where I said this. I don't think you guys are reading the posts. You think I say something, get your panties all in a twist and then write a paragraph on something that I never said. So, again, show me my "quote" that says seeing a procedure makes me more qualified to do them than an actual dentist.

Again, this is stupid. For some reason it pisses you guys off that I have been lucky enough to do what I have done up to this point in my developing career. I don't know why, nor do I care. That is your problem. You are putting words in my mouth that I never said. Now, lets go and shut down this thread, so you guys can find another post of mine and we can rehash what we have already gone through in two other threads.
 

Jaybe

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I have been watching this thread degenerate into the absolute dreg of SDN posts. After taking part in getting many threads closed over the past few months, I am utterly disgusted that this thread has not been terminated yet.

So, this is an open invitation for you all to jump in with such heinous personal attacks as to get this thread immediately closed!!!

Please, we need your help!!!

:mad:
 

OceanDMD

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Give me a break. You sold that treatment plan :laugh: I'm quite sure it was the reputation of your employer that allowed you to 'sell' that treatment plan. You may have presented it, but don't kid us and tell me you sold that case. Subtract the senior doc and place you 1 year out in a solo practice and see how many of those you sell early on.

And in regards to your quote about the fact that you seeing procedures makes you more qualified to do them than actual dentists, that's just laughable. I guess using that logic then assitants with more years of experience than the dentists they are helping might as well take over the case. You can watch all day, but until you pick up the handpiece you have no idea what it's like. Sure, you might have watched someone having to prep a margin on the distal of #2 blindly, but you can never appreciate the difficulty until you are the one doing it. Until then, go back to school and wait until you at least have the credentials to get up on your soapbox.

Wait to you get out in the real world, and as a young dentist run into an assistant like this. I have had the privilege of dealing with a "KNOW IT ALL" assistant. There really is something different about prepping the distal margin on #15, or #18 for a crown prep, or finding three MB canals on #14 versus watching another dentist do it(I watched for 1 1/2 years);) .
I think there was another recent thread where a first year dental student said something like he was more competent than 90% of the people who post here:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

If you DO have this $250 k offer as a first year dental student(which Im assuming is with your prior employer or family), dont count your chickens. MOney isn't everything and it sure as hell is different being a partner/associate versus an assistant. I was in the same boat, having this offer going into school(although not as BIGGG as yours), and I left this practice and its know it all assistant one year after working there. Sometimes it doesn't work out (especially with family).
 
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