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Is dental school as tough as medical school?

Discussion in 'Dental' started by PinkZinfandel, May 14, 2014.

  1. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Is dental school as tough as medical school? I've heard that med school is like drinking from a fire hose. Is dental school the same?
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  3. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    In general, no. They do teach you a lot of information, but it's not at the level of detail that it is in medicine. The rigor of each profession's board exams (and entrance exams--DAT and MCAT) reflect this.

    That said, you will be studying a lot and also spending a lot of time working on hand skills, etc.., that medical students don't have to worry about.
  4. hellopeople

    hellopeople 7+ Year Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    I've heard the time commitment needed is very comparable for the first two years. After that, I think med students have it harder.

    Expect it to suck whichever way you go.
    Roosevelt likes this.
  5. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    I am curious what dental school exams are like for the basic sciences. Does anyone have a link to samples of old dental school exams? Thanks!
  6. dmdluffy

    dmdluffy YOSH!!~ 7+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Grand Line
    Forget which OMS resident that is a frequent poster talked about this, but as I recall, yes the didactics are not as in depth (at most dental schools anyway) but dental school is worse/harder since we have all the lab work, more patient care, and all the dental classes on top of the same subjects that med students cover in the same time span of four years.
  7. kingenamel

    kingenamel 2+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2013
    I heard the exact same thing
    Tigger16 likes this.
  8. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    The competition within medical school is probably fiercer. You have to strive much harder to be the best in your medical class, where everyone is aiming for top specialties and has type A personality. Majority of people in dental school just want to be GP and get by with minimum. Detail of medical school is much greater and rightfully so. I think dental school is a different kind of difficulty than the difficulty that medical students experience. I don't know exactly how they're different because I was never a medical student but I would think it's a different kind of difficulty.
    this_afreekan and Silent Cool like this.
  9. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    SGV, can you elaborate on how it is a different kind of difficulty? Is it the hand-skills that makes it make more difficult?
  10. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    I don't really know because I was never a medical student. I live with medical students and they're always studying. I go out to lectures and lab, sometimes really long hours at the lab, and when I come home, they're still studying. I'm exhausted from all the manual dexterity crap on top of studying that I have to do...They're probably tired from studying all day. We're both tired but probably for slightly different reasons. Sure I'm not studying as much as them but that's because of the lab crap I have to do. I don't know what upperclassmen medical students do (I know of clerkships and rotations with surgical rotation being the most grueling) but upperclassmen dental students have to schedule their own patients, do all the paperwork, and do actual dentistry on patients. I don't know how to compare them.
  11. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Also how hard is it to get a dental residency? I heard it is extremely tough because spots are limited?
  12. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    There's a lot more to memorize in medical school.
    Also I would agree with @sgv : I think most dental students just want to pass and be a general dentist.
    Also the personality types are different.
  13. sacapuntas

    sacapuntas Verified Account 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    With exceptions given to certain subjects (like head and neck anatomy) DS seems to cover a wider breadth of material at a fast(er?) pace, but with a fair amount less depth. I think it is probably easier because you can still get away with cramming, regurgitating and forgetting a lot of material in DS whereas medical students need to learn and retain more of the material moving forward in their careers.
    Silent Cool likes this.
  14. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    I don't really know. I know there are some really competitive applicants out there but where you draw the line of "yes you'll probably get in" and "no you'll probably not get in" is a mystery to me. At least with dental specialties, specifically OMFS, I believe we tend to be a little more forgiving by allowing applicants with low numbers to compensate with high CBSE score and year long internships. I'm not an expert.
  15. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    Yeah, I have the same experience where dental students can get away with dumping almost everything they learned the day after the exam. I don't know why but it won't necessarily hurt you at the moment. At least it hasn't for me. Obviously you want to retain information for when you graduate to become a competent dentist. Not everyone is perfect. I think we can get away with it because dental patient management, general knowledge, and critical thinking skills is far less demanding than that of medicine.
  16. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    So dental board exams are only pass/fail, right? (Unlike the USMLE where you get a certain score and that score largely determines what specialty you match into). And if the dental boards are only pass/fail---how they choose candidates for dental residencies?
  17. sacapuntas

    sacapuntas Verified Account 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    I think you may be selling dentistry far short with comments like this.

    Maybe the reason you are bored with dentistry already is that you haven't begun to explore the critical thinking skills and creativity it will take to properly diagnose and treatment plan complex cases while working within constraints demanded by real patients. A mediocre dentist that just wants to mindlessly perform a series of procedures that simply address the 'problem of the day' could be a poor critical thinker, but an excellent dentist that solves problems the patient can't articulate or may not be aware of will need to be an excellent critical thinker.

    These are the skills that make you a 'doctor' vs. a 'mechanic'.
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
    gn4 and ggj like this.
  18. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    You're right. I think my mistake is equating dental school with real world dentistry. Not even dental school just D1...
  19. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    The two most competitive specialties, omfs and ortho, have been using the cbse and gre which have numerical scores. The other specialties tend to weigh other things on the application more heavily. I don't know what those other things are.
  20. CMistry

    CMistry Dentist Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I have been through both. As mentioned above, they are vastly different and "toughness" or "difficulty" does not capture their differences. Also as mentioned above, medical school requires you to learn and understand all of the information taught to you. Regurgitation does not take you as far as it does in dental school. The exams (both school and licensing) require much more critical thinking and are consequently much more difficult. Dental school overall is much busier and requires longer hours. Not to mention it is MUCH more stressful due to clinical requirements. Both of them are difficult and require significant commitment on the part of the student. Especially if that student wants to excel and get into a competitive specialty.
    clinic21 likes this.
  21. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Ok thanks everyone! I was just curious about the training. I shadowed both dentists and doctors and I really liked dental a lot more....I am 100% sure I would rather be a dentist than medical doctor
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  22. jda02624

    jda02624 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2002
    Medical school is worse because they have to look into more holes. We only have to look into one :)
  23. PinkZinfandel

    PinkZinfandel 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2010
    LOL, a dentist was telling me someone asked him how he would like looking in peoples mouths all day and he said "well doctors stick their fingers in more places than mouths"
    WackyChicken, InspiredDDS and ggj like this.
  24. ggj

    ggj human considering dental 5+ Year Member

    May 31, 2012
    I would argue that dentists have it harder the first two years because of lab work, patients and clinic, and studying for boards. My medical school friends only have class until noon every weekday. They are expected to study on their own. Meanwhile, we have to be in school the entire day - either for class, for clinic, or for lab. On days where you stay extra for lab work on your own, you can spend 12+ hours in the building!

    I do agree that medical students require greater detail, but we have it hard for different reasons than them. Also, remember, by D2, you are expected to know how to give anesthetics, prep teeth for cavities or crowns, dentures... etc. Your first two years are everything dental. Those four semesters are probably the hardest ever. But once you get through them, you're a dentist. Boom.
    Don't let the level of difficulty of a program deter you from pursuing it though. Everything is possible with hard work and perseverance.
  25. AlbinoPolarBear

    AlbinoPolarBear 5+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    Class rank plays a bigger role. To apply to OMFS, you'll have to take the NMBE CBSE (which is scored), which covers the same material as USMLE Step 1. Other stuff like research, ECs, letters of recs, etc. plays a part too. It really depends on which specialty you're interested in. There are around 5000 graduates a year, and around 500 Ortho+OMFS spots (2 most competitive specialties), so a top 10% class rank would definitely make you more competitive.
  26. Firm

    Firm Member Dentist 10+ Year Member

    May 22, 2002
    I've never been to med school so I don't know how hard it is but I did room with 3 med students while in dental school. Their schedules were MUCH different than mine. For the first 2 years, I was in class 8-5 with an hour lunch break. They were in class 8-12 with the rest of the afternoon to study. I had labs which I feel are much harder than exams because of the manual labor involved. I usually studied 6-10pm after class while they would study 1-5pm after class. Frequently, I would come home and find that they were playing Madden or NCAA all afternoon completing multiple seasons in a semester.

    During the second 2 years, their schedules ramped up where they were in various clinics at all hours of the day. I think their rotations lasted about 9 weeks with a few classes sprinkled in. I was in the dental clinic where my stress came from finding patients to work on in order to earn points toward graduation. My classes decreased and I would have a few exams a month to study for. I would say that during these 2 years our schedules were equally demanding.

    After med/dental school, I think is where things really change. I had med friends who were in residency and they would frequently work 80-90 hour weeks. In my residency there was very little work after 5pm unless I had a case to present.
  27. diasIItema

    diasIItema 2+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2012
    I'm just going to interject that since this question always reappears on this forum, it should be said that anyone who chooses medicine/dental medicine simply for validation of their self-worth, etc. is very insecure. Who cares which is harder? They're entirely different professions with entirely different methods of educating doctors. It all boils down to the individual anyway; it's all a matter of perspective and personal preference.

    Quite frankly, nothing should be more difficult than it needs to be. The highlights of dental/medical school can be summed up in a First Aid review book. But you can't teach yourself clinical dentistry or hands-on experience. That's where the value of a dental education comes in. Med students sit in a library all day and memorize slides. To me, that's a waste of money. They could almost eliminate the first two years of med school here and just have students buy the blocks, study, pass a bunch of block exams and STEP 1, and then start the curriculum with rotations.
  28. Bereno

    Bereno Smoking Monkey 5+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Both are harder than each other.
  29. InspiredDDS

    InspiredDDS 2+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Dad said same thing. He does colonoscopies all day. To each their own I guess? Lol
  30. Datooth

    Datooth 2+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2013
    I agree, a lot of things are not much tough.
    Silent Cool and Dentalguy8621 like this.
  31. sgv

    sgv ...crumbling 2+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2013
    The sad thing is only <15% of patients report of having had a head and neck exam done on them by their dentist...
  32. Sublimazing

    Sublimazing Dentist Physician 5+ Year Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    the shreve
    100% of my hot female patients report a breast exam though
    Mediumrare, sgv and ChrisM07 like this.
  33. Shunwei

    Shunwei 7+ Year Member

    May 26, 2007
    Is dental school as difficult as med school?

    Who gives a f*ck?

    You do what you feel is the right career for you.

    If you got balls you will bulldoze whatever it is in front of you to get it.

    Case closed
    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  34. Ferneezy

    Ferneezy I don't always Go Blue, but when I do... 5+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    and shunwei drops the mic.

    my contacts in tokyo tell me it registered on their seismographs
    Silent Cool, Bereno and sgv like this.
  35. Michael A. Blum

    Michael A. Blum Michael A. Blum, D.D.S.

    Both are not easy but if you compare medicine is tough as it is more broader. After learn lots of modules related to parts of medicine you can get a specialization, like heart surgeon ,etc. Where a dentist does not need to know other parts of this field.
  36. AmpedUp

    AmpedUp The Legend Still Lives 7+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    Depends on your level of passion + dedication to a certain field. That's what may determine "easiness".

    If you bring a med schooler to dental school, they'd think it is brutal as eff -- vice versa

    Both are difficult in their own right. You can't compare the two.
    clinic21 likes this.

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