I'm debating whether or not to pursue a career in Medicine or Dentistry. Convince me to be a Dentist

Feb 17, 2016
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I am currently an undergrad going into my sophomore year of college. I'm torn between wanting to become a doctor or a dentist and I've heavily considered both. Furthermore, I have job shadowed a professional in each area. I know I have time to make this decision so I'm doing this to just see what other people have to say. Any and all feedback is appreciated!
 

redhotchiligochu

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One word to convince you away from medicine: Obamacare

But in all seriousness, being a physician versus a dentist are vastly different. As a primary care doctor, you're very likely working for a corporate entity like Blue Cross or Kaiser. As a dentist, you are most likely setting up your own practice. Do you like being your own boss? Do you like looking into people's mouth? Can you deal with patients complaining about how expensive implants are? There's literally thousands of things that you have to keep in mind.

Hell, since frozenicecreamDMD brought this up, are you pursuing professional school under your own volition or because of your parents? I've seen a lot of unhappy d-school and med school students that drop out after their first year because they were forced into it by their parents.
 
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Aug 9, 2016
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i think you should do chiropractor instead of those two options. i heard it a great career.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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Why are you torn between the 2? They are pretty different careers.
 

catalysts

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A bunch of random people on the internet should not convince you to decide on a lifelong career path for you. You should do that through shadowing/volunteering/job experiences. That's also how the admissions committee will know if you are genuinely pursuing the field.


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Jun 20, 2016
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Agreed with all said comments - actually I took the MCAT - scored a 31, decided the time/money/stress wasn't worth pursuing medicine - the golden days were long gone. Shadowed a dentist, saw a lot I loved. Hated that physicians had to see 50 patients a day and the lack of autonomy. The decision was a simple one for me.
 

2y4life

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Not sure really. I think people (oftentimes incorrectly) believe that pharmacy isn't as pretigious as medicine or dentistry - or that the field is too oversaturated
I know in certain states, such as CA, the market is over saturated but it has a respectable salary and isn't too stressful all things considered but that's from my limited viewpoint.

To the OP, you have to decide what is right for you. I was in your shoe just over a year ago and I decided the dental route after doing some soul searching, speaking with various doctors in various fields, and looking at what I want in the future, both professionally and personally.
 

doc toothache

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I am currently an undergrad going into my sophomore year of college. I'm torn between wanting to become a doctor or a dentist and I've heavily considered both. Furthermore, I have job shadowed a professional in each area. I know I have time to make this decision so I'm doing this to just see what other people have to say. Any and all feedback is appreciated!
You mean podiatrist, chiropractor, optometrist, pharmacist, attorney, Ph.D. physician.....or dentist?

Agreed with all said comments - actually I took the MCAT - scored a 31, decided the time/money/stress wasn't worth pursuing medicine - the golden days were long gone. Shadowed a dentist, saw a lot I loved. Hated that physicians had to see 50 patients a day and the lack of autonomy. The decision was a simple one for me.
You are right. They disappeared about half a century ago.
 
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Aug 9, 2016
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Good luck finding a secure job, or a job for that matter.
My cousin is a pharmacist and his salary is 125k. He work in a rural area. Before that he work in the pharmacy department of a giant supermarket. He quit that because his new job paid more. So there are jobs out there. It might be harder if you want to live in the city, but if you willing to move you will be able to find a job.

Plus I wouldn't laugh and look down at pharmacy if I was predent. There a reason dentist have one of the highest suicide rate in the USA.
 
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BeaverLover

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My cousin is a pharmacist and his salary is 125k. He work in a rural area. Before that he work in the pharmacy department of a giant supermarket. He quit that because his new job paid more. So there are jobs out there. It might be harder if you want to live in the city, but if you willing to move you will be able to find a job.

Plus I wouldn't laugh and look down at pharmacy if I was predent. There a reason dentist have one of the highest suicide rate in the USA.
Pharmacy is at #10 according to my top google search. But then again wheres the data for this stuff
 

frozenicecreamDMD

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My cousin is a pharmacist and his salary is 125k. He work in a rural area. Before that he work in the pharmacy department of a giant supermarket. He quit that because his new job paid more. So there are jobs out there. It might be harder if you want to live in the city, but if you willing to move you will be able to find a job.

Plus I wouldn't laugh and look down at pharmacy if I was predent. There a reason dentist have one of the highest suicide rate in the USA.
people dont really laugh or look down at pharmacy as a profession but laugh and look down on pharmacy admission standards. you want to know how? invite yourself to the pre pharmacy forums to see (a 2.9 sGPA with no experience can land multiple acceptances at the new private schools, there are even for profit private pharmacy schools)

plus, pharmacy organization promises the pharmacists that they will be able to do more services in the future (manage chronic illnesses and diseases, etc) but guess what happen? PA takes that over and pharmacy can't eat into that pie now. there is a future forsee that the roles of PA will expand given how much they are able to do now with continuing education and such. PA with only 2 year of education are basically healthcare midlevel providers while pharmacists are not even a providers while they have a doctorate degree. they don't even consult about medication extensively to the patients (PAs tend to take that over too)

so pharmacy is left with only dispensing medication with high efficiency. as mail in order becomes more popular, the number of pharmacists needed to verify/process same number of prescriptions will decrease -> decreases job number. and you know its bad when 4 big chains consolidate and there are only 2 big chains now. (during this process, many many drugstores are closed)

you should note pharmacists's salary hit plateau very fast, a guy 20 year out does the exact same thing as the guy 1 year out. thus, other than picking up over time, pharmacists salary stay stagnant at around 100-110k at best now. but it is predicted to decrease dramatically as 16000 (yes you read it right, sixteen thousands pharmacists) graduate each year, with even more schools opening now. pharmacists in the future will most likely work part time or 30hrs/week.

your cousin's area must be really really rural then. Imagine how much the salary of new grad dentist will increase if he moves from okay area to rural area? 20%, thus looking at exceptions like this rather than the big picture will not give you a complete understanding of the state of pharmacy.
 
Jun 20, 2016
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My cousin is a pharmacist and his salary is 125k. He work in a rural area. Before that he work in the pharmacy department of a giant supermarket. He quit that because his new job paid more. So there are jobs out there. It might be harder if you want to live in the city, but if you willing to move you will be able to find a job.

Plus I wouldn't laugh and look down at pharmacy if I was predent. There a reason dentist have one of the highest suicide rate in the USA.
Inaccurate - medicine is higher. Also, if I was unable to find a job strapped with 200k in loans I would be veering towards suicide myself. Two of my friends are in pharmacy, they are regretting it big time. But, you gotta do what you love
 
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Cranjis McBasketball

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My cousin is a pharmacist and his salary is 125k. He work in a rural area. Before that he work in the pharmacy department of a giant supermarket. He quit that because his new job paid more. So there are jobs out there. It might be harder if you want to live in the city, but if you willing to move you will be able to find a job.

Plus I wouldn't laugh and look down at pharmacy if I was predent. There a reason dentist have one of the highest suicide rate in the USA.
Wasnt this like 10 years ago. I guess people dont forget haha


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Aug 9, 2016
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I didn't say pharmacy is better than dental or vice versa, but the whole point of the comment was to point out pharmacy is not that bad. People laugh down on pharmacy in this forum like it a joke. People have been saying the same thing about pharmacy job outlook for the last 20 years, yet there are still plenty of job out there if you willing to move to rural area. Their salary is still consistently over 100k for the past few decades so the oversaturation haven't affected average salary yet.
 
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Cranjis McBasketball

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I know money isnt everything, but itd be hard for me to do a 4 year graduate program and have my income be the same level as a 2 year program such as PA.. PTs and Pharmacists definitely do it for passion.


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frozenicecreamDMD

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I know money isnt everything, but itd be hard for me to do a 4 year graduate program and have my income be the same level as a 2 year program such as PA.. PTs and Pharmacists definitely do it for passion.


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if you count post high school years the time it takes to become pharmacists and PA may be similar (in fact, the time it takes to become PA may be longer if you need to do hours).

Pharmacist: you just need to take prereq and hit 90 units and apply you will get in, which takes 3 years, pharmacy schools are now 3 years for most so it takes a total of 6 years post high school. this is very easy thing to do

PA: you most likely need 4 year college degree and a lot of clinical hours (which take some people 1 year full time to complete) and then 2 year PA school. this takes a total of 6 years
 
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redhotchiligochu

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I like how everytime a "med school or dental school" thread comes up everyone tears apart the OP and the most savage users get the most likes. Cruel world.
 
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Hey ug

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God bless whoever chooses to do that^^
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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Hi Im Dent

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OP should ask why they want to go into either field in the first place rather than asking us. We don't know OP's intentions whether they actually want to help people, they just want money, or they just want the prestige. Knowing their intentions would help us a lot better they definitely shouldn't rely on the internet's opinions to decide between two different careers.
 

shwayne

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If you choose medicine, I would suggest pursuing an MBA first. More and more physicians these days are transitioning from patient care and into the business aspect of healthcare. Hospitals are no longer run by the doctors, they're run by the administration.
 

ncide

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If you choose medicine, I would suggest pursuing an MBA first. More and more physicians these days are transitioning from patient care and into the business aspect of healthcare. Hospitals are no longer run by the doctors, they're run by the administration.
Welcome to the world of corporate dentistry.
 
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Feb 17, 2016
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Thanks for your answers guys/girls. I did this more of a way to see different peoples opinion on the topic than wanting people to actually convince me off my life long career. I posted almost the same the same question on the Medical board and they didn't seem to get that I wasn't actually looking for random people on the internet to tell me what I should be for the rest of my life.
 

schmoob

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Thanks for your answers guys/girls. I did this more of a way to see different peoples opinion on the topic than wanting people to actually convince me off my life long career. I posted almost the same the same question on the Medical board and they didn't seem to get that I wasn't actually looking for random people on the internet to tell me what I should be for the rest of my life.
In their defense, that's kind of what the post sounds like you're asking.
 

mroerdh22

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If you have shadowed both, which one did you enjoy the most? Which one could you see yourself doing for 20+ years and feel fulfilled? Your personal experience alone should be enough to convince you. You have to really want to be apart dentistry and have an genuine interest in it. It can get very monotonous at times and people get burnt out quickly because of it. I am a dental hygienist and I have watched the trend over the years transcend through assistants, hygienists and dentists who choose to leave dentistry because it isn't what they thought it would be. I took a break from dental hygiene to go back to school full-time and pursue my goal of going to dental school. I took a long hard look at what I wanted. As frustrating as dentistry can be, I couldn't see myself doing anything else. It is something to think about. Any time you shadow, ask all office staff members about their favorite and least favorite parts of dentistry and you are sure to get a pretty honest answer.
 

schmoob

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Thanks for your answers guys/girls. I did this more of a way to see different peoples opinion on the topic than wanting people to actually convince me off my life long career. I posted almost the same the same question on the Medical board and they didn't seem to get that I wasn't actually looking for random people on the internet to tell me what I should be for the rest of my life.
Please disregard my last post. I took a look at your thread in pre-med and see what you're talking about. I especially loved this gem:

"I'm not going to convince you. You need to follow your heart. Medicine is a calling, like being a priest or a fireman."

Now to answer your question, take a look at the post and think of the type of personalities you will be working with. That's not to say that won't occur in dentistry or any other field, but I have seen this less often in dentistry than in medicine.
 
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Cranjis McBasketball

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Please disregard my last post. I took a look at your thread in pre-med and see what you're talking about. I especially loved this gem:

"I'm not going to convince you. You need to follow your heart. Medicine is a calling, like being a priest or a fireman."

Now to answer your question, take a look at the post and think of the type of personalities you will be working with. That's not to say that won't occur in dentistry or any other field, but I have seen this less often in dentistry than in medicine.
This x 10000... I was an MA when I was wanting to do med school and the doctors were jerks and so unhappy.. So I shadowed dentists who seemed a lot happier. It was the same at my school. Pre dental society had a way different personality compared to pre med


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Charles_Darwin

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This x 10000... I was an MA when I was wanting to do med school and the doctors were jerks and so unhappy.. So I shadowed dentists who seemed a lot happier. It was the same at my school. Pre dental society had a way different personality compared to pre med


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I agree. On the other hand, I've looked at the pre-med side of SDN and they have much more memes. Make of that what you will, OP.
 

frozenicecreamDMD

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you can be rest assured that the majority of these premeds that use SDN will not get in. since the pool of medical applicants is so large, assuming half of them get in, that will still leave around 15000 applicants that applied but did not get in anywhere.

where do they go? they become bitter and pursue phD
 
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Cranjis McBasketball

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I shadowed both dentists and physicians.

Dentist: "You should pursue dentistry."
Physician: "You should pursue dentistry."
I shadowed a PA and he also said to pursue dentistry haha


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