Going into Dentistry for the Lifestyle—is it Still Feasible in 2017?

Kurk

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As I continue through my quarter-life crisis, I question whether or not I'm on the right track to success.

My motivations for dentistry are in this order:
- Income potential (45%)
- Autonomy (40%)
- Flexibility (10%)
- Prestige (5%)

These are the things I want out of it.

I do, however, enjoy advising people during their time of need and serving as a resource.

But wait! There's nothing in that list like helping people!

Well I believe income potential covers that as I'm a strong believer in philanthropy. I personally consider dentistry a trade service profession with the majority of people not appreciating the services as they would the services of an ER physician.


I have yet to shadow a dentist and it's not going to happen until at least the end of the fall semester.

My question is, how are the insurance reimbursement rates doing?

Is it going to be a lot more difficult for me to start a practice out of school, debt aside, just from a regulations standpoint?

Forget competition/saturation; I live in a mid-western state where saturation isn't an issue if you move away the city.

After this thread I'm going to see if I can ask the same questions to my dentist and school alumni dentists.
 
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If you want to make a lot of money as a dentist, it won't be by being a sole GP. At this point, one should use the income from dentistry to leverage investments for maximum financial profit. Of course self practice ownership is another option, as is specializing. This field is more business than it is clinical work IMO
 
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May 22, 2017
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As I continue through my quarter-life crisis, I question whether or not I'm on the right track to success.

My motivations for dentistry are in this order:
- Income potential (45%)
- Autonomy (40%)
- Flexibility (10%)
- Prestige (5%)

These are the things I want out of it.

I do, however, enjoy advising people during their time of need and serving as a resource.

But wait! There's nothing in that list like helping people!

Well I believe income potential covers that as I'm a strong believer in philanthropy. I personally consider dentistry a trade service profession with the majority of people not appreciating the services as they would the services of an ER physician.


I have yet to shadow a dentist and it's not going to happen until at least the end of the fall semester.

My question is, how are the insurance reimbursement rates doing?

Is it going to be a lot more difficult for me to start a practice out of school, debt aside, just from a regulations standpoint?

Forget competition/saturation; I live in a mid-western state where saturation isn't an issue if you move away the city.

After this thread I'm going to see if I can ask the same questions to my dentist and school alumni dentists.
Most dentist I have worked for were not able to get their own practice right away due to the burden of student loans. Most of them either joined a dental group after 3 years or got their own practice after 5 years.

Most of them recommend to have "practice" (be an employee for a dental office) be in the real world, because once you get out of school believe it or not you have to be fast. In school you get to see a patient for 3 hours appointment while in general practice you have an 1++ while also checking (6 months exam) patients that the hygienist(s) have.

My suggestion would be to join group of dentist that could be your mentor. I'm from NC and there is minority dental society where once a year has a meeting with students interested in dentistry. I learned the business side of things there. It is difficult to get the rates that you charge from medicare/Medicaid patient so most likely if you see patient under those goverment aids have the idea that the work you do for them is because you like it and no for the money. As for regular insurance you will have to negotiate rates with them.

I would strongly recommend to shadow different dentist and different specialties. It helps a lot on deciding if dentistry is for you. Also if you can afford to go on a mission trip that helps too.

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Kurk

Kurk

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If you want to make a lot of money as a dentist, it won't be by being a sole GP. At this point, one should use the income from dentistry to leverage investments for maximum financial profit. Of course self practice ownership is another option, as is specializing. This field is more business than it is clinical work IMO
Of course. No one becomes wealthy by working for someone else.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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You should find more valid reasons for why you want to be consider becoming a dentist because there are a lot of other careers that are easily more attainable than a career in dentistry which would satisfy your "motivations".
please name them
 
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Kou_KeiKi

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I'm currently trying to put a dental clinic on track right now. It's been difficult since I didn't have managing background. I really agree with @Alpha Centauri that dentistry is more business than clinical work. Your top three priorities (income potential, autonomy, flexibility) can be achieved by a career in dentistry (in 2017), if that's what you are asking.
 
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go into investment banking, start 6 figure progress your way to half a million and withing 6 years a million....then invest in stocks and make that mullah.


**** is ez, i am currently in optometry school but made about $8000 within 5 minues, yes lucky but in a regulated market, you should b safe.
 

allantois

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I'm currently trying to put a dental clinic on track right now. It's been difficult since I didn't have managing background. I really agree with @Alpha Centauri that dentistry is more business than clinical work. Your top three priorities (income potential, autonomy, flexibility) can be achieved by a career in dentistry (in 2017), if that's what you are asking.
What are you talking about? you are applying to dental school :confused:
 

Illumident

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What are you talking about? you are applying to dental school :confused:
Kou_KeiKi is helping run a family business.

Over the past two months, I have been helping my father establishing a new clinic and took over the dental clinic from the previous owner dentist. I helped a lot during the transfer of ownership process, learned the dental managing software, hired new employees, organized refurbishment, and much more.
 

Illumident

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My question is, how are the insurance reimbursement rates doing?

Is it going to be a lot more difficult for me to start a practice out of school, debt aside, just from a regulations standpoint?
1. In general, insurance reimbursement rates will always decline unless dentists continue lobbying against them.

2. From a pure regulations standpoint, no. From a financial standpoint, yes, because there are more factors that play into the feasibility of starting your own practice than just regulation.
 
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wengerout

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Jun 24, 2015
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As I continue through my quarter-life crisis, I question whether or not I'm on the right track to success.

My motivations for dentistry are in this order:
- Income potential (45%)
- Autonomy (40%)
- Flexibility (10%)
- Prestige (5%)

These are the things I want out of it.

I do, however, enjoy advising people during their time of need and serving as a resource.

But wait! There's nothing in that list like helping people!

Well I believe income potential covers that as I'm a strong believer in philanthropy. I personally consider dentistry a trade service profession with the majority of people not appreciating the services as they would the services of an ER physician.


I have yet to shadow a dentist and it's not going to happen until at least the end of the fall semester.

My question is, how are the insurance reimbursement rates doing?

Is it going to be a lot more difficult for me to start a practice out of school, debt aside, just from a regulations standpoint?

Forget competition/saturation; I live in a mid-western state where saturation isn't an issue if you move away the city.

After this thread I'm going to see if I can ask the same questions to my dentist and school alumni dentists.
Personally from what I've read you would be better off going into finance.

Really until you start getting the grades/shadow a dentist you're stressing yourself over questions you can't (really) answer.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Personally from what I've read you would be better off going into finance.

Really until you start getting the grades/shadow a dentist you're stressing yourself over questions you can't (really) answer.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
What autonomy is there in finance?
 

Ollivander

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Sep 11, 2012
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Most careers don't have full autonomy unless you're running your own business. Even physicians and dentists can be subject to working for hospitals and chains where they answer to others. You just need to figure out what level of autonomy you're okay with.

As for your initial question, I feel like a lot of people that are currently applying or in dental school are in store for a rough decade after graduation. Dentistry is no longer worth it if you're resorting to options that will leave you 400K+ in debt. You're better off becoming a physician, PA, NP, or CRNA if you want to pursue a healthcare field. However, if you can keep your debt low by going to an in-state school or having the military pay for it then dentistry can still provide you a nice lifestyle. Although as another poster already said, dentistry isn't a means of making a lot of money by itself given the cost of education, economic landscape, and saturation of the profession unless you're in the top 1-2% of all dentists. It is a starting point to accumulate funds to invest in more profitable ventures though.

If you can't get into a cheaper school, re-evaluate your options at that point and go from there.
 
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klownzo

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If you're willing to practice in a rural setting, absolutely it's still worth it. You can have 400+ in debt and still make it big. If you're going into a saturated with area with a lot of debt it's still possible but a lot harder and unlikely. Too hard to tell until you see what your options are upon graduating.
 

Vicviper

Michael De Coro, DMD - AKA Steve McAwesome
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Dentistry is not a profession to enter just for the lifestyle. Many schools will have you 400k+ in debt by the time you graduate. My brother went to law school, and he'll earn more money than I ever will, and got out with ~50K in loans. If you're just looking for a good lifestyle with earning potential, there are many other options. I've heard countless stories of dentists who got into it "just for the money," and then get burnt out after 3-4 years, and realize they're half a million in debt from something they don't really enjoy doing. There are many posts on DentalTown about people who would not have become a dentist for the money / lifestyle if they had known what it involved.

That said, dentistry is an amazing profession, but it's not for everyone - some people just never really start enjoying it, no matter how much they try. I love being a dentist - and I love going into work every day, and I knew from when I was in high school that it was what I wanted to do. Shadowing and working with dentists is how you start to find that out. For years, I thought I wanted to be an Orthodontists, everything sounded amazing, the person that inspired me to become a dentist was an Orthodontist - but once I started actually rotating through my school's Ortho clinic, I realized I found it incredibly boring, and that it just wasn't for me.

If you're not passionate about being a dentist because you love dentistry, I would strongly advice you away from it - it is not something that is worth doing unless you actually enjoy doing it - or you will very much regret it later. To find that out, you really need to spend a significant amount of time shadowing, 40+ hours is a good start. Beyond the stress from having to deal with patient headaches and business situations, there is the physical toll it takes on your body, many people don't consider that aspect either.

I don't mean to sound too hellfire and brimstone - I haven't posted in years, I was just stopping by SDN to post about the AEGD I run, but I felt like I had to respond to your post.

Good luck, and I wish you the best of success in finding the career that is right for you! It was truly worth making less money to find a profession that you actually enjoy doing, and you look forward to going to work every day - this is very important.
 

wengerout

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Jun 24, 2015
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What autonomy is there in finance?
There isn't per say, but every option has sacrifices.

In dentistry our "Autonomy" (which isn't a full fledged guarantee with the way the field is heading) comes at the cost of large sums of debt. For some it's worth it, but looking at your priorities I don't think it will for you in the long run.

Shadow a dentist and come back after.
 
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Allaboutteeth5

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This post makes me upset. My motivations for becoming a dentist:
  • Helping people
  • Providing access to oral health to people who typically cannot obtain it
  • Lifelong learning
  • Teaching patients and communities about proper oral health
  • Hands on work with small material (I love working with my hands)
  • Building relationships with patients.
I would be a dentist if it paid a kindergarten teacher salary, and that is no exaggeration
However, I still cannot get admitted into dental school after multiple attempts.:bigtears:
 
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Axiomatician

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May 13, 2016
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You're a freshman in undergrad. You've got a long way to go. Most pre-dents in your shoes don't make it to dental school by the time they're graduated. If you want real money, go into something else.

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cacajuate

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Aug 27, 2012
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If you want to make a lot of money as a dentist, it won't be by being a sole GP. At this point, one should use the income from dentistry to leverage investments for maximum financial profit. Of course self practice ownership is another option, as is specializing. This field is more business than it is clinical work IMO
What other profession can you make $300k+ working 4 days a week? PLENTY of owners still make this kind of money, don't let the doom and gloom of this forum deter you from that fact.

IF you work for yourself, dentistry is still a freaking great career with great income potential. If you choose to be an associate working in the middle of San Fran, then it's your own choice to be making $150k your entire career.
 

Mad Jack

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As I continue through my quarter-life crisis, I question whether or not I'm on the right track to success.

My motivations for dentistry are in this order:
- Income potential (45%)
- Autonomy (40%)
- Flexibility (10%)
- Prestige (5%)

These are the things I want out of it.

I do, however, enjoy advising people during their time of need and serving as a resource.

But wait! There's nothing in that list like helping people!

Well I believe income potential covers that as I'm a strong believer in philanthropy. I personally consider dentistry a trade service profession with the majority of people not appreciating the services as they would the services of an ER physician.


I have yet to shadow a dentist and it's not going to happen until at least the end of the fall semester.

My question is, how are the insurance reimbursement rates doing?

Is it going to be a lot more difficult for me to start a practice out of school, debt aside, just from a regulations standpoint?

Forget competition/saturation; I live in a mid-western state where saturation isn't an issue if you move away the city.

After this thread I'm going to see if I can ask the same questions to my dentist and school alumni dentists.
Trolling hits all of your boxes as well, and as the President has shown, it can be quite lucrative.

Dentistry can also be lucrative if your loans aren't high.
 
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isso1418

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Dec 17, 2016
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This post makes me upset. My motivations for becoming a dentist:
  • Helping people
  • Providing access to oral health to people who typically cannot obtain it
  • Lifelong learning
  • Teaching patients and communities about proper oral health
  • Hands on work with small material (I love working with my hands)
  • Building relationships with patients.
I would be a dentist if it paid a kindergarten teacher salary, and that is no exaggeration
However, I still cannot get admitted into dental school after multiple attempts.:bigtears:
I hope u become a dentist because its seems that a lot of people who are in dental school are doing it for all the wrong reasons!
 
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weaselodeath

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You should go shadow if you think you are interested. There are negative and positive aspects to dentistry, just like any career. If you don't feel your work has purpose and meaning, then it might be tough not to get bored with it.

Honestly though, it sounds like you would make a good programmer. Money, flexibility, and autonomy are literally the biggest draws to that career, and if this quarter-life crisis of yours is occurring when you already have a life going it has the added advantage of being learnable in your spare time. I was in the arts before deciding to pursue dentistry, and many of my colleagues would sling code on the side because it gave them the freedom to do what they were really passionate about.
 
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aj30

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Sep 2, 2015
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I hope u become a dentist because its seems that a lot of people who are in dental school are doing it for all the wrong reasons!
Who decides what constitutes the "right" or "wrong" reason?

In medicine, there's a widespread belief that the "right" reason is to "help people" and the "wrong" reason is for the money. However, this ignores a basic reality of life: that talent flocks to where the money is. So, if doctors got better compensated (both in salary and in better return on investment for their long years of schooling and slave labor) medicine would attract better, smarter, and more qualified applicants. Surely a doctor's competence and intelligence is more important than his "passion for helping people" or lack thereof, right? That's not to say that nothing besides smarts counts, as, like in medicine, other things, such as bedside manner and empathy, do play a role. But money should be a major incentive for those entering medicine, so that medicine will attract the quality of applicants it needs.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Who decides what constitutes the "right" or "wrong" reason?

In medicine, there's a widespread belief that the "right" reason is to "help people" and the "wrong" reason is for the money. However, this ignores a basic reality of life: that talent flocks to where the money is. So, if doctors got better compensated (both in salary and in better return on investment for their long years of schooling and slave labor) medicine would attract better, smarter, and more qualified applicants. Surely a doctor's competence and intelligence is more important than his "passion for helping people" or lack thereof, right? That's not to say that nothing besides smarts counts, as, like in medicine, other things, such as bedside manner and empathy, do play a role. But money should be a major incentive for those entering medicine, so that medicine will attract the quality of applicants it needs.
 
7

786783

ONLY with a military scholarship, large undergraduate scholarship/full ride, large family contribution, Texas Schools as a resident.
 
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What other profession can you make $300k+ working 4 days a week? PLENTY of owners still make this kind of money, don't let the doom and gloom of this forum deter you from that fact.

IF you work for yourself, dentistry is still a freaking great career with great income potential. If you choose to be an associate working in the middle of San Fran, then it's your own choice to be making $150k your entire career.
The last thing I am is being deterred by the doom and gloom of this forum, but everything you say is true, especially after the debt is paid off

ONLY with a military scholarship, large undergraduate scholarship/full ride, large family contribution, Texas Schools as a resident.
Lol
 
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321931

Don't go into any job with "income potential." Especially healthcare. Just don't. ESPECIALLY HEALTHCARE. Did I mention that again?

I was in your shoes just 5 years ago and momma told me to do what I love, and not pursue the benjamins. I realize now what she said is true. I don't care what you do or like, as long as you like it, you will be better off then the guy making 6 figures and hating his job.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Don't go into any job with "income potential." Especially healthcare. Just don't. ESPECIALLY HEALTHCARE. Did I mention that again?

I was in your shoes just 5 years ago and momma told me to do what I love, and not pursue the benjamins. I realize now what she said is true. I don't care what you do or like, as long as you like it, you will be better off then the guy making 6 figures and hating his job.
Then I'm going to pursue becoming a Youtube gaming celebrity and/or adult entertainment film star.

Maybe I'll become a worthless English major because I like it so much and not computer science since it's too difficult for me and I hate putting effort into anything.
 

artist2022

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Then I'm going to pursue becoming a Youtube gaming celebrity and/or adult entertainment film star.

Maybe I'll become a worthless English major because I like it so much and not computer science since it's too difficult for me and I hate putting effort into anything.
Hey don't bash English majors- now they won't read your PS and you'll have a poorly written one. :rolleyes:

Don't be so dead-set on a career when you haven't experienced it first. No more posting on SDN. Get out into the world and try new things.
 
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Kurk

Kurk

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Hey don't bash English majors- now they won't read your PS and you'll have a poorly written one. :rolleyes:

Don't be so dead-set on a career when you haven't experienced it first. No more posting on SDN. Get out into the world and try new things.
alright.
 

Bernie Sanders

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May 27, 2015
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Dentistry will not give you a great lifestyle anymore. Most dentists are having to work twice as hard, learn twice as much just to make a decent amount. Medicine is better.
 

I-hate-alginate

La Dolce Vita
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Dentistry will not give you a great lifestyle anymore. Most dentists are having to work twice as hard, learn twice as much just to make a decent amount. Medicine is better.
Yet every dentist I know has the "great lifestyle".
 

I-hate-alginate

La Dolce Vita
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How many dentists do you know that graduated within the last 5 years? How many of them have a "great lifestyle"?
Okay, new grads, I know multiple. They don't have the "great lifestyle" YET but they are sure on their way.
 

Mad Jack

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I say this in all seriousness: never trust a man who's willing to work for less than he is worth, because he's either bad at what he does or he's trying to swindle you and you just don't know it yet. Altruism fades after 8+++ years of training, and you're mostly left with someone that wants money, wants out, or is not particularly skilled enough to be capable of doing anything else (which bodes poorly for their skills within their current area). There is nothing wrong with wanting a decent life for yourself and your family, and I wish more people would cast aside this idea that we've all got to be bleeding-heart altruists if we're going to be in the professions. Yes, we have some obligation to society, but we can meet that while society also provides a financial incentive to us.
 
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