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How did you guys figure out what residency you wanted

sosineedhelp

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Dec 23, 2017
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I’m a current D2 and feel like a lot of my classmates came into dental school knowing 100% what they wanted to do after graduating. I wanted to keep my options open and not commit to anything, but with COVID and just in general, not really knowing enough, I still have no idea what or where I want to go with my career post-grad. I feel like i haven’t seen enough to commit to any field of dentistry. I was curious how other people found their way and why they chose certain residencies. I’m not concerned about length/$ of residencies, I’m more worried about finding something I will actually like and be passionate about as a practicing dentist. Curious to hear thoughts, pros/cons, stories, etc!
 

Awisdomtooth

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Jun 22, 2012
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  1. Dentist
I was just like you when I started Dental school. Many of my classmates new they wanted to go to residency and they ended up not going to as their plans changed by the time they get to D4. Point is you never know till you experience it all. Try to go to grad departments at your dental school. Shadow or assist the residents so you can see what Endo/ OS/ Perio/ Pedo/ Ortho feels like. One thing that I highly recommend is GPR programs. Have that in mind as well. You have a long tome to decide what you really like when it comes to dentistry :)
 
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Alpha Centauri

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Yea I second the GPR or AEGD route. I did it because I didnt know what I wanted to do, much like you. AEGD helped me decide in perio. Good luck!
Do you feel "behind" since you missed out on a year savings if you just jumped into perio right away? I figure there is no way you could have known but I am sure this feeling is natural regardless
 

WaveyOne

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I was terrible at cavity preps in pre-clinic, but loved pre-clinic endo by the time D2 rolled around. Hated restorative dentistry as well. Combined with great relationships with the endo faculty, it was a no brainer for me.
 
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Aug 3, 2017
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  1. Dentist
I was just like you when I started Dental school. Many of my classmates new they wanted to go to residency and they ended up not going to as their plans changed by the time they get to D4. Point is you never know till you experience it all. Try to go to grad departments at your dental school. Shadow or assist the residents so you can see what Endo/ OS/ Perio/ Pedo/ Ortho feels like. One thing that I highly recommend is GPR programs. Have that in mind as well. You have a long tome to decide what you really like when it comes to dentistry :)
I second this. I've always felt that traditional DS that offer graduate residency programs gives a student a better idea on the different residencies. Other DS such as MWU Az that offer no residencies probably gives a skewed view on what a specialist is and what they do.
Keep your grades up to give you options later. You'll know as you are exposed to more procedures. I started DS wanting to be a general dentist. By 2nd semester D2 .... my focus became ortho.
 
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yappy

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The best thing about dentistry, IMO, is you don't have to have it all figured out in dental school. You can figure out what you want to do after graduation. As a general dentist, as long as there is a market for it, you can do some % of any specialty. If you do figure out that you want to specialize most dental residencies are not punitive towards people who have practiced for a few years.
My experience was that I pretty much hated everything in dental school except removing teeth. I later learned the only reason I liked extractions was because faculty would leave me alone to get the job done without any extra "checks". After graduation I found I liked all dental treatment but hated the dental school environment. Just keep an open mind and do as well as you can throughout dental school. This will keep your options open in case you ever decide to do a residency.

TLDR: Dental school clinic sucks. Dentistry is awesome. Do well in school.
 
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Combine33

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Dec 3, 2012
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Do you feel "behind" since you missed out on a year savings if you just jumped into perio right away? I figure there is no way you could have known but I am sure this feeling is natural regardless

Kinda, sorta, not really hahaha! I'm still in my 20's and I went to a state school with a way below average debt load. I'm just happy a program wanted to give me a shot, so I'm running with it.
 
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Alpha Centauri

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Kinda, sorta, not really hahaha! I'm still in my 20's and I went to a state school with a way below average debt load. I'm just happy a program wanted to give me a shot, so I'm running with it.
Im lucky that I got into school straight out so I suppose a GPR could be my "gap" year. Becoming a more proficient dentist i my time at a GPR is worth it to me regardless of if i specialize
 

Combine33

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Dec 3, 2012
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Im lucky that I got into school straight out so I suppose a GPR could be my "gap" year. Becoming a more proficient dentist i my time at a GPR is worth it to me regardless of if i specialize

I always advocate for an AEGD, which in my opinion is more realistic than a GPR, but both will do you good. I'm one of the people who think that either should be an absolute requirement after DS
 
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BlackThought

Faustian Luminary
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Oct 30, 2010
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Shadowed different specialties during dental school.
Found one I liked.
Got to know some of the attendings and residents at my home program. Asked them questions about stuff.
Solidified my interest in the specialty.
Took pertinent exams. Applied. Matched.
 
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