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How has your view of dentistry changed over time

CaffineDoc24

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Hi guys, hope all is well. I just wanted to know how you guys viewed dentistry before school, throughout school, and after. How have your views, passion, and liking of the job changed? For the better? For worse? Does the love for the job become even more over time?
 
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Anondds87

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Before and during school - I viewed dentistry as this extremely complex sought after field. Highly prestigious and respected.

After graduating: I'm basically a mechanic of the mouth. Patients view dentists as a necessary evil and think they know more than you because of Google and feel your opinions are always biased towards trying to extract more money out of them.

I would say about 20% of my patients are so awesome that they make me happier when I see their name in the schedule and make me genuinely love being a dentist.

10% i cringe when i see their name in the schedule because they're going to give me a headache.

The other 70% are polite and friendly / indifferent and would go to another dentist if they had cheaper price/ better hours. I think most dentists overrate themselves and dont want to believe this number is so high - but in this day and age convenience is one of the biggest factors in dentistry
 
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WaveyOne

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For the past year, I was working in Medicaid offices in New York City. Calling me jaded was a bit of an understatement. Now that I'm about to start endo residency, I'm starting to feel better about dentistry again.
 
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When I was a college student, I didn't pay any attention to dentistry because my main focus was to become a doctor. After I took the MCAT (twice), I realized that my MCAT score and my undergrad GPA weren't good enough for med school. I immediately signed up to take the DAT exam and applied for dental schools because I didn't want to take a gap year.

When I was in dental school, I still maintained the same view that dentistry was inferior to medicine....in term of prestige and salary. Every time I saw a medical student walking by with a stethoscope around his/her neck, I wished I could be in his/her position. I somehow managed to do very well on the national board Part 1 exam. I didn't want to waste such good score; therefore, I decided to apply for ortho. Again, I didn't know much about ortho when I applied. I chose ortho because everybody at my school said it's a good specialty. When my fiance (she is my wife now) told me she wanted to specialize in perio, I felt it was a big mistake because I thought it was a dying specialty. But I respected her decision.

After I completed my ortho residency, I got 3 good part time job offers at 3 different corps. They paid me $200-300 more per day than what I expected. And the assistants did most of the hard work for me. That's when I realized that I picked the right profession. My wife also did very well....implants help save the perio specialty.

My cousin attended the same college with me. He got much better grades and and got accepted to med school. I always admired his intelligence. I thought he would have a brighter future than me. He is an anesthesiologist and he hates his job. The work hours are bad, the pay is terrible and he doesn't get any respect from the surgeons, whom he works with. He told me he should have gone into dentistry like me and like many of his successful dentist friends. Not all doctors that I know hate their jobs. My younger brother is a GI doc and my brother in law is a family doctor (internal medine). They both love their jobs and want their kids to pursue medicine.

When the recession hit in 2008, many of the people in my neighborhood lost their houses. Many of them were loan officers and real estate brokers. Guess who later bought these foreclosed houses? Dentists and doctors. One of the buyers of these foreclosed houses was my former dental classmate. He is an endodontist.

When the COVID pandemic forced the entire country to shut down, many people lost their jobs permanently. We, dentists, had to stay home as well. But now, we are allowed to reopen our offices. Many of my patients are happy to see me again. My patients continue to refer their friends and relatives to my office. I don't make as make as what I made before the COVID but I am glad that I can go back to work....it's still a 6-figure income. This Covid shutdown is a good opportunity for my wife and I to tell our kids how fortunate we are to be dentists.......and we continue to encourage them to study hard in school so they can get into a dental school or med school and will have stable jobs like us.
 
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Heist

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When I was a college student, I didn't pay any attention to dentistry because my main focus was to become a doctor. After I took the MCAT (twice), I realized that my MCAT score and my undergrad GPA weren't good enough for med school. I immediately signed up to take the DAT exam and applied for dental schools because I didn't want to take a gap year.

When I was in dental school, I still maintained the same view that dentistry was inferior to medicine....in term of prestige and salary. Every time I saw a medical student walked by with a tethoscope around his/her neck, I wished I could be in his position. I somehow managed to do very well on the the national board Part 1 exam. I didn't want to waste such good score; therefore, I decided to apply for ortho. Again, I didn't know much about ortho when I applied. I chose ortho because everybody at my school said it's a good specialty. When my fiance (she is my wife now) told me she wanted to specialize in perio, I felt it was a big mistake because I thought it was a dying specialty. But I respected her decision.

After I completed my ortho residency, I got 3 good part time job offers at 3 different corps. They paid me $200-300 more per day than what I expected. And the assistants did most of the hard work for me. That's when I realized that I picked the right profession. My wife also did very well....implants help save the perio
specialty.

My cousin attended the same college with me. He got much better grades and and got accepted to med school. I always admired his intelligence. I thought he would have a brighter future than me. He is an anesthesiologist and he hates his job. The work hours are bad, the pay is terrible and he doesn't get any respect from the surgeons, whom he works with. He told me he should have gone into dentistry like me and like many of his successful dentist friends. Not all doctors hate their jobs. My younger brother is a GI doc and my brother in law is an family doctor (internal medine). They both love their jobs and want their kids to pursue medicine.

When the recession hit in 2008, many of the people in my neighborhood lost their houses. Many of them were loan officers and real state brokers. Guess who bought these foreclosed houses? Dentists and doctors. One of the buyers of these foreclosed houses was my former dental classmate. He is an endodontist.

When the COVID pandemic forced the entire country to shut down, many people lost their jobs permanently. We, dentists, had to stay home as well. But now, we are allowed to reopen our offices. Many of my patients are happy to see me again. My patients continue to refer patients their friends and relatives to my office. I don't make as make as what made before the COVID but I am glad that I can go back to work....it's still a 6-figure income. This Covid shutdown is a good opportunity for me to encourage our kids to study hard in school so they can get into a dental school or med school and will have stable jobs like us.
Many dentists I know had a really hard time with the COVID shutdown. And you are both specialists. Many dentists work in corporate and are unhappy.
 
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Many dentists I know had a really hard time with the COVID shutdown. And you are both specialists. Many dentists work in corporate and are unhappy.
When general dentists struggle, specialists also struggle because they rely on the referrals from the GPs. This economic pain is only temporary. The economy will recover like it did in 2008.
 

Heist

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When general dentists struggle, specialists also struggle because they rely on the referrals from the GPs. This economic pain is only temporary. The economy will recover like it did in 2008.
I didn't say it wouldn't recover, just that it's hard on people, including dentists.
Which economy is worse?
 

NavyDentist2

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For the past year, I was working in Medicaid offices in New York City. Calling me jaded was a bit of an understatement. Now that I'm about to start endo residency, I'm starting to feel better about dentistry again.

lmao I feel the same.. the only way I could get excited again is to go back to school
 
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Hi guys, hope all is well. I just wanted to know how you guys viewed dentistry before school, throughout school, and after. How have your views, passion, and liking of the job changed? For the better? For worse? Does the love for the job become even more over time?


Before school? I had no idea about dentistry. I was premed, but was talked into dentistry by one of my dorm mates. Reasons: not having to deal with life and death decisions. The premed students seemed so serious. You know ... nerdy. I liked to study, but I also liked to party .. so dentistry it was.

Throughout school? Like everything else .... in school everything is presented in the perfect, learning atmosphere. An ideological environment. You did what was best for the patient. You interacted with fellow colleagues (specialists) to determine the best course of treatment for your patients. Again ... this is to be expected in a learning environment. I obviously was very excited with dentistry (ortho) during my time in school.

After school? I would say the 1st half of my career I was VERY happy with dentistry (ortho). I was eager to make my patients happy. Plenty of energy to attend CE courses and to interact with my fellow colleagues (GP and ortho). Looked forward to the study club meetings and the ADA,ASDA,AAO, PCSO meetings. Enjoyed the lunch and learns at my office for the referring GPs. Then things started to change. Recession of 2008. Aligners. Proliferation of DSOs. After the 2008 recession (and maybe a prediction of what will happen post-covid now) is that dentists became cutthroat. We were no longer colleagues working for the benefit of our patients, but competitors. Dentistry has become essentially a business of being a tooth mechanic as @Anondds87 mentioned. Dentistry is increasingly looked upon by patients and insurance companies as a commodity business. I'm not naive. I get it. That's how the world works right now.

Do your best. It's simply a job. Git paid well. And do other things that make you happy.
 
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Saddleshoes

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My story...

SCHOOL: A long marathon. I didn't let the bastards grind me down. I did not go to my graduation as my own little protest.

FIRST YEARS: I started a practice from scratch in a small farming town. I was killing it from the first month. The first 3 years were great fun. I was learning something everyday. I had a steep learning curve on the business aspects of the profession. I liked overcoming the new challenges each week. I liked being a big fish in a small pond. Years 4-7 started to look a lot like the first 3 years but no new challenges. It got old. Years 8-9, I was bored out of my mind. I was doing lots of CE at this point.

SHIFT #1: I sold my practice for a descent price and took 4 months off. (Wife and I rode our bikes across the country.) Came back to a part time job that I had always had and made it a 3 day a week job at an institution. I also worked in a blue collar clinic part time. At this point the dental thing was only a job. A very good job but only a job. I was still a little bored so I took a teaching job at the local collage, 1-2 days a week. During this time we were raising kids and that was my primary concern. Not owning a practice made me a better Daddy and Husband. I liked letting somebody else worry about the details to running the clinic. I did minimal CE at this point.

SHIFT #2: As my kids getting close the age were they would be leaving the house other possibilities came up. My part time state institution job had an early retirement option. I became eligible for a sabbatical at college. So I took the early retirement, and a sabbatical and spent a year traveling with my teenage kids. The only dentistry I did was some volunteer work. During this time I learned that I really missed taking care of people. When I came back I helped a FQHC (Community Clinic) get started, as well as returning to the teaching gig. I liked that work and was/am very good at it. At this point I didn't have to do dentistry any longer but I liked doing it under my terms. I started doing more CE at this point because dentistry had move on and I had not kept up.

SHIFT #3: It turned out that the set of dental skills I had developed during my career was just that thing that a GPR program was looking for. I am currently doing a GRP gig and my teaching gig because I fell like I am giving back to dentistry. I don't need the money but I enjoy dentistry now more than ever. Now I am the one giving the CE.

Dentistry is only a tool. If you use that tool well it can help your have a great life. If you focus on the tool rather than the bigger picture you will be miserable.
 
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yappy

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Before dental school I thought dentistry was a cool, yet practical, career. I liked the idea of being in healthcare.

In dental school I felt that I received a great education. However, the culture of dentistry was a big let down. I had worked in a hospital before attending dental school; reasoning by analogy, my expectation was that dentistry wouldn't be too different. However, the culture of dentistry was shocking to me. Dentists are far too self interested, IMO. If you ask a dentist about dentistry, all too often it circles back to how the logistics their job in dentistry helps or detracts from their personal life. How certain procedures do, or do not, benefit them professionally or financially. What sort of schedule do they like to maintain to satisfy their personal interests. etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately, these sentiments were not confined to professors as it was common among students, part-time faculty, and local dentists I shadowed too. There was also this whole "horse-sense" mentality. It lacked rigor and was not evidence based. I'm not trying to act as though the logistics of a job are not important; however, the degree to which it is discussed and focused on is weird. This was in stark contrast to working in medicine where the focus of most conversations were in the interest of the patient. The work itself was justified despite how inconvenient it may be. Quality, through literature and best practices, was emphasized.

After dental school I thought that I had made a big mistake and that I should have gone into medicine. However, I enjoyed my work and felt like I was doing a good job despite having tons more to learn. That's when I discovered that the real problem with dentistry was the culture. I now practice in a way that is similar to how physicians practice medicine. I like putting patient's first, using evidence based practices, and delivering safe care to patients. If other dentists have the mentality I described in the second paragraph I avoid them like the plague. Don't go into dentistry if you don't enjoy it. I enjoy it more and more the further away I get from graduation, but that is because I actually enjoy dentistry.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that I am not a very financially motivated person. I have a comfortable, secure, life but no one would be impressed by my life style. I live like a school teacher. I think my low financial expectations have contributed to my satisfaction.
 
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I didn't say it wouldn't recover, just that it's hard on people, including dentists.
Which economy is worse?
Yeah, it's hard on everybody. My anesthesiologist cousin also complained about having to work longer hours, treating fewer patients and making less money. After every surgical procedure in the OR, they have to wait 20 minutes for the aerosolized particles to settle before they can dismiss the patient and bring in the next case.....very inefficient. I too have to book fewer patients per day (and have to work more days per week) in order to maintain the proper social distancing. At least we still have jobs. Many people lost their jobs/their businesses permanantly and have to start everything from scratch again.

I think this recession will take longer to recover. We don't really know when the virus will go away. Will it ever go away? Many of the restaurants have not been allowed to open for dining in yet. Hair/nail salons are still closed. Many of my patients' parents work at these places or are the owners of these stores. No money, no dental tx, no ortho tx for their kids.
 
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CaffineDoc24

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Thank you guys for your incredible insight. A little background on me, I was considering medicine for a while, although had many doubts along the way even then. Now, I realized that I care more about lifestyle, which is harder to achieve in medicine, unless you have the grades to become, say a dermatologist. I realized that I really just want a job that allows me to live my life outside of work, and I feel dentistry is more conducive to that. Although I have shadowed, it's hard for me to know if the job is for me, without trying it first (which is obviously impossible).
 
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allDAT

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Honestly, the quality of this profession (if you can call it that anymore) continues to deteriorate.
The gist of what's going on:

1. Education costs too much.
2. The clinical experiences provided by dental schools are not even 50% of what previous generations gained during their 4 years. In short, the clinical experiences at most schools are okay at best, unacceptable at most, and downright a joke at several. Many new graduates enter the workforce ill-prepared and are considered by many dentists in private practices to be unemployable.
3. Insurance has a stronghold in our profession and Delta is crushing us.
4. There's a huge riff between hygienists and dentists and COVID made this 10x worse. In short, getting dentists to work together is like herding cats and RDHs stick together well. They have the upper hand and are slowly killing the private practitioner's cashflow (RDH hourly wage goes up, insurance reimbursement stays the same or goes down - it's just a slow boil but it's at a breaking point in 2020).
5. Dentists treat each other very poorly, write negative reviews about each other, and in general are more like mechanics than doctors as we compete for a piece of a shrinking pie (middle-class families).
6. Combining #4 and #5 - the culture of our profession is quite toxic.
7. Most of the emphasis within our profession can be summed up by the phrase "financially driven treatment planning" and many dentists view their patients and their insurance as wells of money where their duty is to extract as much money from the well as possible.
8. Since insurance reimbursement is stagnant and more patients depend on their insurance to pay for their care (see #5 - the shrinking middle class), we have shifted to volume-based practice models that's resulted in an overall decrease in the quality of care for people. When it comes to your lifestyle and income, this is like running on a treadmill - you used to be able to stroll at level 3 to earn X. A decade later you had to job at level 5 to earn X. Another decade later you had to sprint at level 7 to earn X. Now you can't run any faster to instead of running 4 days a week, you add a 5th day to earn X. Then you start to get tired and go back to level 5, but your income decreases so you have a decision to make - do you stay at your decreased income and let overhead and inflation continue to eat away at your earnings? Do you add another day to make up for the decreased production? Or do you pivot and try and expand the business with associates or drop some of your PPOs? The dropping the PPOs bit has become very, very challenging in most major metros.
9. Dentists can't retire so they're holding onto their practices for way too long. This hurts 2 ways - first, there are fewer practices available to purchase. Second, when the practice hits the market it's basically dried up - the dentist has no debt and was working to make a little spending money to avoid touching retirement savings until absolutely necessary. So while the practice used to collect 800k, now it collects less than 400k and the patients are really just there because the owner has been their dentist for 30 years (they may even commute to their dental appointments etc.)
10. We've pumped out a lot of dentists lately. All of this in the name of "access to care" which I have come to learn is a sham. All of us move to areas of reasonable desirability. Graduating more dentists does not result in more dentists moving to rural America. The fix for the "access" problem is to accept students who are from the areas in need. For example - if you need a dentist in rural Kansas, accept someone from rural Kansas into dental school because the kid you accepted who grew up in Manhattan is never moving to Kansas.

I could go on and on.
At the end of the day, I'm doing fine right now but as a zoom out and forecast what the next 2 decades of my career look like, I'm no longer optimistic about dentistry and COVID accelerated the deterioration of dentistry.
 
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Molar Whisperer

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Before I went to dental school, I thought it would be a semi-low key, nice, respectable profession. My time in DS were the worst 4 yrs. It seemed the classmates were ultracompetitive and the instructors wanted to haze and weed out students. We had to complete a minimal amount of procedures on patients and they think they could bully and take advantage of us. If you get different instructors to look at a same case, WTF. I really had nothing positive to say about school only that it made everybody tougher (those that stayed). According to many sources, you only learn about 5% of dentistry while in school. When I graduated in the late 90's, already there were talks about oversaturation and lower insurance reimbursement, discounted PPOs, and WTF capitation. Fortunately the in-state tuition was low compared to today and the USAF paid for mine. My 4 yrs in the USAF made up for the BS in DS. I gained so much valuable experience and networking. If you have the right plan, you can succeed as a dentist, though won't be as easy as in previous years.

My dad and brother are physicians. My dad was the reason why I didn't want to pursue Medicine. It provided very poor family life. From my observations, the successful doctors had multiple divorces, poor physical and mental health, very little to no hobbies, and no family and or free time. Yes, many of them have big and fancy homes and cars. Too bad you can't live in it and drive it when you die alone.
 
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Heist

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Before I went to dental school, I thought it would be a semi-low key, nice, respectable profession. My time in DS were the worst 4 yrs. It seemed the classmates were ultracompetitive and the instructors wanted to haze and weed out students. We had to complete a minimal amount of procedures on patients and they think they could bully and take advantage of us. If you get different instructors to look at a same case, WTF. I really had nothing positive to say about school only that it made everybody tougher (those that stayed). According to many sources, you only learn about 5% of dentistry while in school. When I graduated in the late 90's, already there were talks about oversaturation and lower insurance reimbursement, discounted PPOs, and WTF capitation. Fortunately the in-state tuition was low compared to today and the USAF paid for mine. My 4 yrs in the USAF made up for the BS in DS. I gained so much valuable experience and networking. If you have the right plan, you can succeed as a dentist, though won't be as easy as in previous years.

My dad and brother are physicians. My dad was the reason why I didn't want to pursue Medicine. It provided very poor family life. From my observations, the successful doctors had multiple divorces, poor physical and mental health, very little to no hobbies, and no family and or free time. Yes, many of them have big and fancy homes and cars. Too bad you can't live in it and drive it when you die alone.
I've seen the same with dentists and neck and back problems, divorces, unhealthy lifestyle etc. It's up to the person, not the field
 
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Molar Whisperer

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I've seen the same with dentists and neck and back problems, divorces, unhealthy lifestyle etc. It's up to the person, not the field

You're absolutely right. Same goes to all walks of life (not necessarily neck and back problems) such as celebs, star athletes, rock stars, CEO's, Playboys, etc. From my observations in which I've been around a lot of doctors, I see disproportionate number with them.
 

CaffineDoc24

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Before I went to dental school, I thought it would be a semi-low key, nice, respectable profession. My time in DS were the worst 4 yrs. It seemed the classmates were ultracompetitive and the instructors wanted to haze and weed out students. We had to complete a minimal amount of procedures on patients and they think they could bully and take advantage of us. If you get different instructors to look at a same case, WTF. I really had nothing positive to say about school only that it made everybody tougher (those that stayed). According to many sources, you only learn about 5% of dentistry while in school. When I graduated in the late 90's, already there were talks about oversaturation and lower insurance reimbursement, discounted PPOs, and WTF capitation. Fortunately the in-state tuition was low compared to today and the USAF paid for mine. My 4 yrs in the USAF made up for the BS in DS. I gained so much valuable experience and networking. If you have the right plan, you can succeed as a dentist, though won't be as easy as in previous years.

My dad and brother are physicians. My dad was the reason why I didn't want to pursue Medicine. It provided very poor family life. From my observations, the successful doctors had multiple divorces, poor physical and mental health, very little to no hobbies, and no family and or free time. Yes, many of them have big and fancy homes and cars. Too bad you can't live in it and drive it when you die alone.
What kind of docs, if you don’t mind me asking?
 

Molar Whisperer

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What kind of docs, if you don’t mind me asking?

Mostly surgeons (3), urologists (2), and OBGyns (8-10. After my mom died of cancer, my dad remarried without me knowing and quickly divorced the scam marriage) that I observed. I saw my dad's med school classmate who is a Pediatrician beat the crap out of his 10 y/o son. I would never have that class mate see my kids.

My brother is an internal Hospitalist who sees only the terminally ill. He is my younger brother but looked 25 yrs older than me. When my wife first met him 19 yrs ago, she thought he was my dad though he was in Med school at the time.
 
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Heist

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Mostly surgeons (3), urologists (2), and OBGyns (8-10. After my mom died of cancer, my dad remarried without me knowing and quickly divorced the scam marriage) that I observed. I saw my dad's med school classmate who is a Pediatrician beat the crap out of his 10 y/o son. I would never have that class mate see my kids.

My brother is an internal Hospitalist who sees only the terminally ill. He is my younger brother but looked 25 yrs older than me. When my wife first met him 19 yrs ago, she though he was my dad though he was in Med school at the time.
This is anecdotes. Anyone can beat up their kid. Not limited to medicine.

The majority of docs are not urologist and obgyn. I have seen very fit surgeons.

Like I said its up to the person.

How many dentists do you know that closely? Maybe you don't know them close enough.

We will have to agree to disagree

Use data, not anecdotes
 
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Heist

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Thank you guys for your incredible insight. A little background on me, I was considering medicine for a while, although had many doubts along the way even then. Now, I realized that I care more about lifestyle, which is harder to achieve in medicine, unless you have the grades to become, say a dermatologist. I realized that I really just want a job that allows me to live my life outside of work, and I feel dentistry is more conducive to that. Although I have shadowed, it's hard for me to know if the job is for me, without trying it first (which is obviously impossible).
Lots of physicians have good lifestyles. The academic physicians, psychiatry, many specialists. Lots of job opportunity out there. If you work more, you can make more, it's up to the physician
 

Molar Whisperer

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This is anecdotes. Anyone can beat up their kid. Not limited to medicine.

The majority of docs are not urologist and obgyn. I have seen very fit surgeons.

Like I said its up to the person.

How many dentists do you know that closely? Maybe you don't know them close enough.

We will have to agree to disagree

Use data, not anecdotes

You're right again. It is not limited to medicine. As in my previous response, it can happen to all walks of life including dentists. I'm glad I had first hand observations to bring more awareness of the balance of work and family.
 
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General dentistry, in my opinion having practiced as a GP for a few years, offers very little “thinking.” If you are looking for a field where you have to critically think a lot, I would not suggest general dentistry.
 

CaffineDoc24

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Thanks for your responses guys. I shadowed a periodontist today, and thought it was cool. I like how there was a good amount of biology involved in what he did. How competitive is it to get a residency?

I'm going a little crazy over this decision, I have a med school acceptance (at a DO school) but every day I feel like I'm signing away the best years of my life (and spending up to a decade away from home) for a job I only find "interesting", and where most fields have a tough work/life balance. I feel like, although I have a base level of interest, it is not enough and I'm making this huge sacrifice mostly for the job stability/income (doctor money is enough for me). Almost every doc I speak to isn't happy. I have pressure from my parents to do med, but they don't know anything about it- no one in my family is in healthcare. They only see the end results: people in my community who are docs opening up urgent cares, or specialty clinics and seem to be wealthy. But they don't understand the sacrifice, especially what residency is like.

As time goes on, I realize what I want most is to have as much time dating (I haven't done much of this), spending with friends, having sunday bbq's (just an example), traveling and making memories (I'm not looking to party my butt off, I did enough of that in college. Although a little couldn't hurt). I know dent school is also rough, but it's shorter and the job is guaranteed to have a work/life balance. Some med students kill themselves in school to get amazing grades, just so they can have the lifestyle a general dentist has, who only had to pass dent school. But this isn't even guaranteed for these med students. Also, I have heard from friends at USC dent (I'm from LA) that some schools can be more rigorous than others.

I really don't wanna sound overdramatic, but I can't sleep, its hard to eat, and I feel that no matter what decision I make there is a good chance it's the wrong one. I generally have a really thick skin, because I have had depression for years because of personal stuff. But this decision will change my life and I'm worried if I make the wrong choice, that would be the thing that would really bring me down. I really don't know how much I would like dentistry or not, it's so hard to imagine without doing it myself even after shadowing a bit. Maybe I should take a shot in the dark and just go for it, if what I listed above is what is most important to me. I go to therapy, and he thinks I should go for dentistry. But he's not too aware of either fields and what they entail. Any advice?
 
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NavyDentist2

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Thanks for your responses guys. I shadowed a periodontist today, and thought it was cool. I like how there was a good amount of biology involved in what he did. How competitive is it to get a residency?

I'm going a little crazy over this decision, I have a med school acceptance (at a DO school) but every day I feel like I'm signing away the best years of my life (and spending up to a decade away from home) for a job I only find "interesting", and where most fields have a tough work/life balance. I feel like, although I have a base level of interest, it is not enough and I'm making this huge sacrifice mostly for the job stability/income (doctor money is enough for me). Almost every doc I speak to isn't happy. I have pressure from my parents to do med, but they don't know anything about it- no one in my family is in healthcare. They only see the end results: people in my community who are docs opening up urgent cares, or specialty clinics and seem to be wealthy. But they don't understand the sacrifice, especially what residency is like.

As time goes on, I realize what I want most is to have as much time dating (I haven't done much of this), spending with friends, having sunday bbq's (just an example), traveling and making memories (I'm not looking to party my butt off, I did enough of that in college. Although a little couldn't hurt). I know dent school is also rough, but it's shorter and the job is guaranteed to have a work/life balance. Some med students kill themselves in school to get amazing grades, just so they can have the lifestyle a general dentist has, who only had to pass dent school. But this isn't even guaranteed for these med students. Also, I have heard from friends at USC dent (I'm from LA) that some schools can be more rigorous than others.

I really don't wanna sound overdramatic, but I can't sleep, its hard to eat, and I feel that no matter what decision I make there is a good chance it's the wrong one. I generally have a really thick skin, because I have had depression for years because of personal stuff. But this decision will change my life and I'm worried if I make the wrong choice, that would be the thing that would really bring me down. I really don't know how much I would like dentistry or not, it's so hard to imagine without doing it myself even after shadowing a bit. Maybe I should take a shot in the dark and just go for it, if what I listed above is what is most important to me. I go to therapy, and he thinks I should go for dentistry. But he's not too aware of either fields and what they entail. Any advice?

go to med school
 
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yappy

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General dentistry, in my opinion having practiced as a GP for a few years, offers very little “thinking.” If you are looking for a field where you have to critically think a lot, I would not suggest general dentistry.

I'm not trying to oversell it but I feel like there is a lot of thinking in general practice. You're responsible for a lot of issues if you're providing comprehensive care.
 

slowthai

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I'm going a little crazy over this decision, I have a med school acceptance (at a DO school) but every day I feel like I'm signing away the best years of my life (and spending up to a decade away from home) for a job I only find "interesting", and where most fields have a tough work/life balance.

The majority of med students go into primary care, which can easily have a similar lifestyle to general dentistry; 35-45 hours a week (depending on a lot of factors) for a minimum of 200K starting out in most fields

Some med students kill themselves in school to get amazing grades, just so they can have the lifestyle a general dentist has, who only had to pass dent school. But this isn't even guaranteed for these med students.

Bro, no. You just need to pass exams, no need to kill yourself. There are plenty of people that just coast into family med, psych, peds, PM&R, etc. And it's basically guaranteed. Match rate for DO students is 90% as of this year.

Now if you want to ball out and still have a great lifestyle, that's derm. Those people 100% kill themselves during med school for 350-450K, 35-40 hours a week. Personally, the thought of looking at skin everyday makes me want to projectile vomit, immediately. But that's just me
 
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mmc12

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The majority of med students go into primary care, which can easily have a similar lifestyle to general dentistry; 35-45 hours a week (depending on a lot of factors) for a minimum of 200K starting out in most fields



Bro, no. You just need to pass exams, no need to kill yourself. There are plenty of people that just coast into family med, psych, peds, PM&R, etc. And it's basically guaranteed. Match rate for DO students is 90% as of this year.

Now if you want to ball out and still have a great lifestyle, that's derm. Those people 100% kill themselves during med school for 350-450K, 35-40 hours a week. Personally, the thought of looking at skin everyday makes me want to projectile vomit, immediately. But that's just me
Not to mention, if you want to match into Derm or several of the other top specialties, most applicants have several (5+) publications in peer reviewed journals already. Even for competitive specialties like ortho/OMFS, most applicants don't have ANY publications. Most ortho/OMFS applicants have performed research, but not to the extent of getting it published in a peer reviewed journal.
 
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CaffineDoc24

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Not to mention, if you want to match into Derm or several of the other top specialties, most applicants have several (5+) publications in peer reviewed journals already. Even for competitive specialties like ortho/OMFS, most applicants don't have ANY publications. Most ortho/OMFS applicants have performed research, but not to the extent of getting it published in a peer reviewed journal.
I have 2 publications in hematology/oncology currently. Does that help with dental residency?
 

yappy

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Could you give a little context please?

Please pick what you find most interesting and are drawn to. I was friends with plenty of medical students - it didn't seem that bad. They had social lives and passed their classes. You're going to work hard and make enough money no matter what you do. Do something you like and make sure that the sacrifices you make justify themselves.
 
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NavyDentist2

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Could you give a little context please?

1. You’re crazy to turn down a med school acceptance to apply for Dental school. Dental school tuition is a lot more expensive and on average medical doctors make more.

2. Judging by your post you don’t seem like a business oriented person(I am not) medicine will be a safer path for you(I wish I had done medicine: not that I hate dentistry)

3. No matter what field you get into you’ll be able to find time to date.
The majority of med students go into primary care, which can easily have a similar lifestyle to general dentistry; 35-45 hours a week (depending on a lot of factors) for a minimum of 200K starting out in most fields



Bro, no. You just need to pass exams, no need to kill yourself. There are plenty of people that just coast into family med, psych, peds, PM&R, etc. And it's basically guaranteed. Match rate for DO students is 90% as of this year.

Now if you want to ball out and still have a great lifestyle, that's derm. Those people 100% kill themselves during med school for 350-450K, 35-40 hours a week. Personally, the thought of looking at skin everyday makes me want to projectile vomit, immediately. But that's just me

I second this. Also isn’t step 1 transitioning to p/f now?
 
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CaffineDoc24

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1. You’re crazy to turn down a med school acceptance to apply for Dental school. Dental school tuition is a lot more expensive and on average medical doctors make more.

2. Judging by your post you don’t seem like a business oriented person(I am not) medicine will be a safer path for you(I wish I had done medicine: not that I hate dentistry)

3. No matter what field you get into you’ll be able to find time to date.


I second this. Also isn’t step 1 transitioning to p/f now?
Yes, Step 1 is p/f now, but apparently this hurts DOs. My school's grading system is A-F though. I guess this isn't so bad, it allows you to know how you're doing.

In addition, no matter which field I go into, I'm definitely running my own business, that's a must. I come from a very business-oriented background (stereotypical middle eastern Jew lol) so I have lots of help there. Ideas in medicine could be opening up an urgent care and stuff like that. But my interests don't really lay in primary care (I'm more of a basic science guy, so I guess radiology or path? Hard to have your own business as a radiologist or pathologist though).
 

yappy

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Yes, Step 1 is p/f now, but apparently this hurts DOs. My school's grading system is A-F though. I guess this isn't so bad, it allows you to know how you're doing.

In addition, no matter which field I go into, I'm definitely running my own business, that's a must. I come from a very business-oriented background (stereotypical middle eastern Jew lol) so I have lots of help there. Ideas in medicine could be opening up an urgent care and stuff like that. But my interests don't really lay in primary care (I'm more of a basic science guy, so I guess radiology or path? Hard to have your own business as a radiologist or pathologist though).

If your interests are radiology and path then I would not recommend dentistry.
 
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slowthai

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Yes, Step 1 is p/f now, but apparently this hurts DOs. My school's grading system is A-F though. I guess this isn't so bad, it allows you to know how you're doing.

In addition, no matter which field I go into, I'm definitely running my own business, that's a must. I come from a very business-oriented background (stereotypical middle eastern Jew lol) so I have lots of help there. Ideas in medicine could be opening up an urgent care and stuff like that. But my interests don't really lay in primary care (I'm more of a basic science guy, so I guess radiology or path? Hard to have your own business as a radiologist or pathologist though).

Preclinical grades don't matter. Just do well on step 2 and you'll have a relatively easy path into DR or pathology. The great thing is that both of these fields are relatively DO friendly.

Yeah, I have no idea what you would do on the business front as a DR or pathologist, other than try to start your own private practice. I say try because it's getting harder and harder to do this secondary to private equity takeover and government regulation, particularly for DR. Guess the business side is where dentistry wins out.
 

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I would do more research to see which profession you like more. Keep shadowing more dentists to see if it’s something you could do. Don’t base your decision on lifestyle - good work/life balance can be found in either one.

One big thing: dentistry is VERY hands on. It’s surgery. It’s technique sensitive. You need to be good with your hands. If you don’t like surgery then you shouldn’t do dentistry. Dentistry, like medical surgical specialties, is also very hard on the body. These two reasons are why orthodontics is a sought after specialty. You can’t really get away from the fact that you need to use your hands if you do dentistry. (Although there are some specialties that don’t need hands - oral radiology and dental anesthesia but not many people go into these)

The nice thing in medicine is there is so much more variety later down the line that you can find a speciality that really tailors to your personality.
 
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CaffineDoc24

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Preclinical grades don't matter. Just do well on step 2 and you'll have a relatively easy path into DR or pathology. The great thing is that both of these fields are relatively DO friendly.

Yeah, I have no idea what you would do on the business front as a DR or pathologist, other than try to start your own private practice. I say try because it's getting harder and harder to do this secondary to private equity takeover and government regulation, particularly for DR. Guess the business side is where dentistry wins out.

Yeah, I guess I'm trying to balance out my priorities. It's just really hard to weigh such qualitative factors. There are a lot of great things in common for both, but I guess these are the differences for me:

Pros for dentistry: business-oriented, guaranteed good lifestyle, less dealing with insurance, immediate results (although not exclusive to dent), shorter schooling, be with my family sooner, worst-case scenario (general dentist) is great, longer patient interactions
Cons: not too many options, won't know how much I like working with my hands until I do it myself when it may be too late during dent school, tuition (although I am so blessed my parents would be helping me with this).

Pros for medicine: sooo many specialties, higher chance I may find something I like, more biology involved (although clinical medicine can be more physiology-based).
Cons: possibly hard lifestyle, long schooling, moving every few years to possibly random cities, longer time away from home (Los Angeles), worst-case scenario is primary care (not something I'd really wanna do), shorter patient interactions, higher chance of being an employee, residency is hell, missing out on youth (although if I can pull off some work/life balance in school, this can be mitigated. But this one really scares me), possibly dealing with death.
 

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Cons: possibly hard lifestyle, long schooling, moving every few years to possibly random cities, longer time away from home (Los Angeles), worst-case scenario is primary care (not something I'd really wanna do), shorter patient interactions, higher chance of being an employee, residency is hell, missing out on youth (although if I can pull off some work/life balance in school, this can be mitigated. But this one really scares me), possibly dealing with death.

People do this all the time. People keep up with hobbies, get married, travel, etc. You can basically do most things that other people are doing. You just have to manage your time well, plan well, and budget well. You don't have to put your life on hold because of school. Well, for the most part, lol
 

CaffineDoc24

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People do this all the time. People keep up with hobbies, get married, travel, etc. You can basically do most things that other people are doing. You just have to manage your time well, plan well, and budget well. You don't have to put your life on hold because of school. Well, for the most part, lol
Good to hear. How do people manage this through 3rd year or residency, when you don’t have full control over your schedule? Also, how much studying do people usually do after work in clinical years/residency?
 

NavyDentist2

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Yes, Step 1 is p/f now, but apparently this hurts DOs. My school's grading system is A-F though. I guess this isn't so bad, it allows you to know how you're doing.

In addition, no matter which field I go into, I'm definitely running my own business, that's a must. I come from a very business-oriented background (stereotypical middle eastern Jew lol) so I have lots of help there. Ideas in medicine could be opening up an urgent care and stuff like that. But my interests don't really lay in primary care (I'm more of a basic science guy, so I guess radiology or path? Hard to have your own business as a radiologist or pathologist though).

I’m more of a basic science guy as well. My grades in dental school reflect that. Dental anatomy waxing fukin blows along with setting denture teeth. Some kids in my class quit school after 1/2 year because they hated them so much. One went to med school one went to law school.

Look we are not trying to be doom and gloom about our profession. I don’t hate dentistry at all now plus I had a scholarship from the navy so life is good. We are just telling you the other side for you to think about.
 
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slowthai

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Good to hear. How do people manage this through 3rd year or residency, when you don’t have full control over your schedule? Also, how much studying do people usually do after work in clinical years/residency?

I would defer to @TikiTorches on this one, because I haven't reached those years yet, but admittedly, it can be tougher to do those things. During third year, the tougher rotations are typically surgery, OB-GYN, and internal medicine. During residency, the tougher ones are usually inpatient heavy, which is anything that requires hospital admission with sicker/critically ill patients. You will likely have to cut down on the number/the duration of your hobbies/outside interests because most of your day is spent at the hospital.

For third year/residency, the ideal amount of studying is around 1-2 hours a day, based on what I've heard. Does that always happen? No, but it's what people typically aim for.
 

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I worked at 2 DMOs and 2 DSOs. In DMOs, I get a guaranteed salary for capitation and Medicare. DSOs depend on production in saturated markets (low production unless you cross the ethics line like unnecessary treatment). Sadly when I was in DSOs, many patients that need tx didn't have the extra funds or they surpassed their ins benefits and couldn't proceed. In my previous posts, I had an eye on a 1.2 mil private practice but the wife was against it due to the high risks and time commitment in a saturated market.
 
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