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have interests elsewhere? what to do?

wvupredent

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I was just wondering if other people have interests and strengths that lie no where near to dentistry and sometimes contemplate their decision to pursue dentistry?

I know personally I have a natural talent and interest in technology. I'm not into programming and that sort of thing, but I am very technical and am more of the intergrative type. I may actually double-major in Management Information Systems in addition to my pre-med animal science degree. It's like I want to do two different careers, but I only have one life, so it make sthe decision difficult. And when you have two opposing possibilities, it makes you question your true commitment to either side.

Sometimes I think "what are you doing?" and tell myself I should be completely "following my heart" with technology.....but at the same time, I'm not someone who just picked dentistry for shallow reasoning. I do have an interest and desire to be a dentist, too. I feel I can have a professional life, while keeping my interests/hobbies active.

So, I guess I'm just concerned that I don't have the obsession with dentistry that I should. It seems like on this board, at times, that some people think if you didn't make the decision to be a dentist in 8th grade and been steadfast without second thought since, then you're not "cut out for the job".

Are there others that feel the same way I do? Was dentistry truly a thought-out decision for you? Do you consider yourself "normal" in the sense that you like science, like the idea of being a dentist, but aren't like religious towards it? I hope you understand what I'm saying. I know it requires dedication to succeed, but I can't honestly write a personal statement that says I woke up when I was 13 years old and knew dentistry was my life calling without every questioning it again.

I guess I'm just paranoid trying to be COMPLETELY sure I'll be happy with dentistry. Then, I think "well, if you are questioning it, then how dedicated are you?"

It's a vicious circle of doubt that is really driven by my wanting to be true to the field of dentistry itself, I believe. I honestly think it's my concern that I would be letting down the field and my future patients if i don't feel like "this is what i live for!!" when i see another dental procedure.

I want to be a dentist, and I want to be happy, but I don't want to do it if I lack the necessary "obsession" that some seem to have on this board. How do you pick one interest over another?

Anyone feel the same? Thoughts?
 

H2OPOLODENT

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A lot of people have a very "cookie-cutter" image of dentistry. The reality is, there are many opportunties for dentists outside of simply doing private practice full time. I personally entertain the idea of teaching in dental school or becoming part of the administrative/political wing of the dental community. Other options include working for dental material manufacturers, or having a full time research career, or even a combination of these career paths. I'm sure there are ways to integrate your love of technology with your interests in dentistry. Just don't feel like to you need to pick one over the other.

After going through dental school, I think you'll probably have a better grasp of what you want out of your career. No need to pigeonhole yourself at this point.
 
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rals

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With Dentist going to full digital offices (xrays, patient files), I would say it is very techie.

I don't think that's all that technically challenging; however, you may end up making improvement on the technologies used, or even inventions to be added to every dentist's office... dentistry does have serious opportunities for someone with technical inclinations. you could even teach materials or something, that's technical. or esign more ergonomic chairs even. so many possibilities....
 

pmantz

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For my undergrad I have take a chemistry seminar as a senior, it consists of writing a paper and doing a 50 minute presentation, covering current reaserch. Every year they have a theme, this year it is carrear orientated. So for the past month I have been reading alot of research on inorganic-organic hybrid fillers, along with nanofillers for use in dental composites. I have been having some fun and have foung the research to be very interesting. I really love chemistry and have entertained material science. But I really want to practice traditional dentistry. At least I will get to use all this cool stuff in a couple years.
 

wvupredent

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I have considered the possibilities of improving technologies in dental offices--either large-scale or just my own. I really think the technology thing is a major interest, but I don't think I would be satisfied with it alone as a long-term career. I am particularly interested in technology integration and automation. I think there is great potential for more advanced automation systems in dental practices. And just for fun, I also think of "cool" things, such as having a touch-panel for patients that allows them to select the artist or satellite radio channel THEY want to hear during procedures. Possibly some type of video selection for patients during procedures, as well? I know a lot of patients get extremely nervous (i'm still not sure why? :confused: ), but anything that would make their operation more relaxing or just plain "cool" would be rewarding, I think. :cool:

I don't think I will be satisfied intellectually/academically if I do not pursue dentistry. It's like I wish I could put my life on pause for five years and do the technology venture, then come back to dental school and pursuing a life-long satisfying career.

But that cannot be done, unfortunately, and I was worried that going into dentistry with thoughts of integrating technology automation instead of being strictly a practitioner was "wrong", but I'm glad to see that others see the potential and aren't critical of my wanting to "split" my dental profession between the two. :)
 

rals

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I think there is great potential for more advanced automation systems in dental practices. And just for fun, I also think of "cool" things, such as having a touch-panel for patients that allows them to select the artist or satellite radio channel THEY want to hear during procedures. Possibly some type of video selection for patients during procedures, as well? I know a lot of patients get extremely nervous (i'm still not sure why? :confused: ), but anything that would make their operation more relaxing or just plain "cool" would be rewarding, I think. :cool:

I would not do this in my practice. I think it's most important for me to be comfortable with the music playing so that I am relaxed and can focus on doing a good job. I wouldn't want my patient playing n'sync or alice in chains or something...
 

diane07

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This might be a different take on it, but it is worth thinking about. From what I've heard about dental school, it's not an easy four years.

I went to school with someone who was accepted into dental school and ended up dropping out. I have another friend who was accepted to medical school and stayed for one week and said "enough of this crap" and left. My point is, dental school and medical school are both very taxing programs. And those who never wanted it badly in the first place, are the ones who find it's just not worth it when the going gets tough.

By your own admission, you're questioning whether or not dentistry is right for you and wondering if you'd be happy doing it. You're doing the right thing by thinking long and hard about this. Decide if you have the ambition to go through the competitive process of applying and if you have what it takes to do well in a challenging academic environment. Also think about whether or not you would find find this type of work to be satisfying. If you want to be a dentist, then go for it! But if you're not sure or have doubts, think twice before expending time, money, energy on something that may not be fulfilling to you.

You're wondering why everyone else seems so hardcore. It's because they know what's at stake and that it will take a tremendous amount of effort on their part. Getting into dental school is not easy and it's very competitive. Spending four years of your life in rigorous dental school is something that would give anyone pause. Taking out $100-300k in loans is also something to seriously consider. But for those who've made up their minds and know that this is the field for them, they'll do whatever it takes because they have the drive and desire necessary to make it happen.

And to ease your mind, it's probably pretty rare when someone thinks about becoming a dentist in 8th grade. In fact, there are plenty of predents who are pursuing this after already having had a prior career! Being obsessed is probably not healthy either. The reason everyone seems so one dimensional is that this is a predent forum and that is what all the discussion is geared towards! Obviously everyone has a life/interests outside of dentistry. But those most likely to succeed are the ones who have given this decision serious thought to make sure it's the right choice for them. I hope you do the same, and only you can make that decision. Wishing you the best though!
 
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