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Is the hardest part over?

Biofilm preventer

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For those who have been accepted into dental school and are matriculating this fall, is the hardest part of becoming a dentist officially over? Since we overcame Pre-Reqs, DAT, Interviews and have been selected as part of a very small percentage of applicants to enter into a dental school, was that the hardest part of becoming a dentist. Or.... is Dental School meant to trim the herd even more?
 

Life of Pablo

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Getting through dental school is way harder and more sucky than getting in. Certain schools trim the herd more than others, but you're going to have to work harder than undergrad for sure no matter which school you attend.

Also, imagine this: you filter the best students in the country and put them into 1 class. Then, you give them a class ranking and tell them to go at it.
 
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MolarPower

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Def not IMO. Finishing dental school is much harder. Dental school courses are a different ball game in terms of the sheer volume of material you have to learn in a short amount of time + balancing pre-clinical/clinic.
 
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ToothJockey

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No experience myself, but I have a feeling the hardest part in this whole journey is going to be practicing, esepcially if you strive to be successful. It won't be about exams anymore but instead managing and growing a business, which seems very difficult/stressful because there is no set path to it unlike school which is very straightforward. The stakes are also much higher.

The easy part is when we retire (or keel over and die, whichever comes first)
 
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Big Time Hoosier

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For those who have been accepted into dental school and are matriculating this fall, is the hardest part of becoming a dentist officially over? Since we overcame Pre-Reqs, DAT, Interviews and have been selected as part of a very small percentage of applicants to enter into a dental school, was that the hardest part of becoming a dentist. Or.... is Dental School meant to trim the herd even more?

64D2E453-31C5-4DEB-9047-1F1424B92A2E.gif

Big Hoss
 
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MG14

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Yeah, OP may be fine. I'm about to finish my D1 year and was it fine? Sure! Did it suck? You bet! You can go through quite the load of BS and turn out fine.

It's different for everyone, but heres my take on things. Getting into school is one hurdle, it's mainly to help see who can put up with playing the game, and jump through the hoops. Once you get into dental school, you've learned how to jump through the hoops, now you just learn to jump through smaller hoops in a more strategic way. My motto for dental school, "Play the game, and get out." In short, it's just a different beast. 'Different' doesn't always measure out to be harder or easier, but theres a certain level of adaptation involved and so it all depends on how well you adjust. There are challenges in all stages of life, and so if you've gotten into dental school, congrats but the turbulent ride isn't over.
 
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Every step along your journey has it's easy stuff and more difficult stuff. 1st 6-12 months as an associate can be very difficult. You have no experience. With experience comes easiness. IMO the hardest part to becoming a dentist is dealing with the psychology of a difficult patient. We were all trained to take care of our patients to a very high degree. Most of us are perfectionists. I know I am. My weakness is that I want to please 100% of my patients. I realize that that is not possible, but it doesn't change my perception. There will be days where the staff is happy. You are happy. Wife is Happy. Dog is happy. Then comes in THAT patient. My personality is to try my best to "win" this patient over with extra-ordinary service and treatment. But it doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to show them the door. Not so easy in a litigious environment.

Point is. In time .... the lead up and being a dentist will be done regardless of the difficulty. You'll eventually become comfortable with dentistry. But the patients themselves are the variable that you just cannot predict or control 100% of the time.


tldr; difficult patients are the toughest part of dentistry.
 
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To me, D1 was the toughest part. Makes college look like pre-school. D2-4 have their own challenges, but with boards being P/F, they aren't so bad!

As to @2TH MVR, difficult staff are worse than any difficult patient!

We'll have to disagree on this one. I've feel I had leverage and more control of a difficult staff member. Over the years ... I typically did not go through alot of staff. A difficult patient can bad mouth you to their referring GP. Leave unsubstantiated one sided poor reviews on you. File board complaints on you. At worst ... malpractice suits.

Now in the Dent Corp arena. Yes. Having difficult staff is a real buzz kill. My name is not on their paychecks .... so I'm not percieved as being their boss. It's a weird dynamic not conducive to a well running machine.
 

Awisdomtooth

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If you think getting in to a dental school was the hardest part, you are absolutely WRONG. As mentioned above it only gets harder and harder. Believe it or not, it gets even harder once you graduate. My advice to all of those new dental students is to ignore all the mean faculties that you might encounter at dental school and maximize your hands on experience in all aspects of dentistry as much as you can. Don’t let the fear or one negative comment ruin your chance of getting more experience. As a matter of fact once you graduate you just know so little that you will be surprised. :)
 
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wannagiveup

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For those who have been accepted into dental school and are matriculating this fall, is the hardest part of becoming a dentist officially over? Since we overcame Pre-Reqs, DAT, Interviews and have been selected as part of a very small percentage of applicants to enter into a dental school, was that the hardest part of becoming a dentist. Or.... is Dental School meant to trim the herd even more?
lol it's just the beginning. Welcome to the suck. I think Dante forgot to put D2 year as the tenth circle of hell.
 
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MLC45

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I heard D2 is the hardest with it getting easier after then. Or does it vary from school to school?
My DS1 year, my highest semester was Fall at 24.5 credit hours and for DS2 it was Spring at 27.5 credit hours. Both were Hellish, but DS2 was much worse. The classes were harder and the amount of lab work had me spending hours each day, after class, to get it all done.
 
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LaughingGas

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Getting in can feel it was harder. The whole dental school application can be soul draining with a lot of uncertainty until you receive that acceptance letter post-december. So once you pass that hurdle, only finishing the degree is left. I do agree it is harder academically or managing an office, but I feel it is different type of stress. Once you are in, you feel the door has been opened and all you have to do is reach the next end of the hall. It is not going to be easy, but roughly 90-95% of students graduate.
 
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Biofilm preventer

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Getting in can feel it was harder. The whole dental school application can be soul draining with a lot of uncertainty until you receive that acceptance letter post-december. So once you pass that hurdle, only finishing the degree is left. I do agree it is harder academically or managing an office, but I feel it is different type of stress. Once you are in, you feel the door has been opened and all you have to do is reach the next end of the hall. It is not going to be easy, but roughly 90-95% of students graduate.
as opposed to like 30 percent of Pre Dents going the entire journey of college and getting accpeted into dental school. Maybe even less then 30 percent
 

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Not to scare you but my life as a predent was a blissfully naive life and for me, D1 and D2 years were definitely the two hardest years of my life. Besides the academic struggles and trying to keep up with those responsibilities (late nights and weekends in lab + endless studying) there's also the added element of trying to balance new relationships (with classmates + faculty) and old relationships (family + friends) especially if you're moving to a different city for school. It really took a mental toll on me but I'm grateful for the strength and resilience I gained from those experiences which I know will help me even when I graduate and start practicing in the real world.

I got through it by reminding myself life is life and we're here to learn and grow, not to have an easy time (true in general and not just on the path of dentistry!) Make sure you have a good support system in place and that you're engaging in habits that promote your mental wellness (hobbies + passions outside of school). Burnout, depression, and anxiety are real and affect people in our profession like any other profession. But know that if you were able to get into dental school, this means you have the strength and character needed to overcome those obstacles. Reminding myself of this also got me through it.

I think D3 and D4 will be better because I have more experience under my belt and am more comfortable in my school environment but I know the clinical years will come with their own challenges. But I feel better prepared to meet those challenges because of the switch I made in my thinking. To have the correct perspective can really be a gamechanger. Instead of getting depressed over the difficulties + challenges you will inevitably face, think of them as your moments of learning + growth that will lead to your future success. The only way to learn is through struggling + making mistakes and I'm at peace with that now instead of trying to fight it and that's what made the most difference for me

TLDR; life in general (even beyond dental school) doesn't get easier, it only gets harder. Rise to the challenges by changing your perspective and recognizing those challenges as moments of growth which will lead you to the success you want. Taking care of your mental + physical health will give you the strength you need to do that.
 
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HKSZYU

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The drop out rate in most dental schools is pretty low (which a few notable exceptions.) Speaking just from my experience, I feel like our school genuinely wants you to be successful and get to the end, and they have guardrails and resources to help you get there. In that sense, for someone like me who has no plans to specialize and really just needs to get through, I don't feel a huge amount of competitive stress.

Of course, if you don't study hard, no amount of administration help is going to save you, and "study hard" almost certainly means significantly harder than undergrad (even to just pass.) I'd say you cover about a semester's worth of undergrad material every few weeks in dental school. The pace and volume takes some adjusting.
 
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TLDR; life in general (even beyond dental school) doesn't get easier, it only gets harder. Rise to the challenges by changing your perspective and recognizing those challenges as moments of growth which will lead you to the success you want. Taking care of your mental + physical health will give you the strength you need to do that.

Well said.
 
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S_Diamond_DDS

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I would say “yes.” Since as long as you do the requirements for your ds classes/clinic/licensing, you’re guaranteed to be a dentist at the end of school, with many career options available to you. Also, most dental schools want you to do well, partly because it’s a reflection on them, which means the number and intensity of all classes combined each quarter is designed so that 100% passes as long as you put forth a reasonable effort, which isn’t always true in undergrad.
 
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BeggarsCantBeChoosers

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Not even close my dude. You don't even know what hell is until you're a D2. People will tell you that as long as you make it to dental school, you'll 100% graduate and become dentist. That's not necessarily wrong, but the reality is 2-4% of your classmates will either drop out or have to repeat after D1 or D2. It won't be you as long as you "try".
 
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S_Diamond_DDS

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Not even close my dude. You don't even know what hell is until you're a D2. People will tell you that as long as you make it to dental school, you'll 100% graduate and become dentist. That's not necessarily wrong, but the reality is 2-4% of your classmates will either drop out or have to repeat after D1 or D2. It won't be you as long as you "try".

Just don’t be that 2-4% and you’ll be good. In my class, the only two people that dropped out were 1) because her heart wasn’t in it, and 2) family issues, which she then joined the following years class and has since been doing fine.
 

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Another thing is that there is no guarantee you will actually like being a dentist. I had classmates who after going through the motions of classes, sim lab, board exams, and clinic, they discovered that they really didn’t enjoy dentistry.
 
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LaughingGas

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Another thing is that there is no guarantee you will actually like being a dentist. I had classmates who after going through the motions of classes, sim lab, board exams, and clinic, they discovered that they really didn’t enjoy dentistry.
Yeap. I know two classmates that completely switched careers right after graduation.
 

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I think it depends on your school. I noticed my school doesn't really like to fail students, so they curve exams/finals to help the bottom performers out. I personally don't think it is hard to just pass at my school, but we still have students who fail some classes and have to repeat those classes. We had 5 drop out D1, none drop out D2, but some upperclassmen joined our class who had to repeat the whole year.

EDIT: for example our cumulative physiology final had an 18 point curve, and nobody failed the class - which I assume is because of that massive curve lol
 

saydental

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I think it depends on your school. I noticed my school doesn't really like to fail students, so they curve exams/finals to help the bottom performers out. I personally don't think it is hard to just pass at my school, but we still have students who fail some classes and have to repeat those classes. We had 5 drop out D1, none drop out D2, but some upperclassmen joined our class who had to repeat the whole year.

EDIT: for example our cumulative physiology final had an 18 point curve, and nobody failed the class - which I assume is because of that massive curve lol


Which class(es) were the reason some students had to repeat a year?
 

Quinque

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Which class(es) were the reason some students had to repeat a year?

I heard of gross anatomy and fixed lecture, mainly just large credit hour classes or failing a few small credit hour classes together. But if it was something like only failing operative lab or immune, the students just retook that over the summer or during after-school hours remediation classes.
 
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MLC45

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Which class(es) were the reason some students had to repeat a year?
My school doesn't like to fail students, however if your hand skills aren't up to par then you're a law suit waiting to happen in clinic, and they will make you take the year over. You have to pass operative in October and fixed in May. Endo and Removable they're a bit more willing to work with you and let you retake the practicals. Also you have to pass Oral Path and Pharm.

On a good note if we talk with administration early they can assign a tutor to work with us and are more understanding to let us remediate during the breaks.
 
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TheGreatPianist

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I heard of gross anatomy and fixed lecture, mainly just large credit hour classes or failing a few small credit hour classes together. But if it was something like only failing operative lab or immune, the students just retook that over the summer or during after-school hours remediation classes.
Do you think it's a good idea to take a gross anatomy course before dental school? I'm considering taking one
 

New_Vegas

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I heard D2 is the hardest with it getting easier after then. Or does it vary from school to school?
D2 is a lot harder, you are just more equipped to handle it, so it's easier if that makes sense.

D1 was more psychologically challenging, and you will see how bad you struggle with doing ideal class II preps, or crown preps, etc.. Then by D2 year you will be humbled and your expectations of yourself will be lower. You will "let more stuff slide" etc.

If someone asked me, I would say D1 was the hardest year.. Despite knowing that D2 was actually much harder as far as taking more credits and more difficult classes (I think we had 24 or 26 credits our D2 fall semester). But in D2 I just knew how to "roll with the punches better".

What was surprising to me was how difficult D3 year was in certain aspects. It's a real eye opener when you see how difficult it is to try to get that patient with irreversible pulpitis numb for an extraction... Or even how hard it is to do your first crown prep and final impression on an actual patient.
 
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