surgeon_hopeful

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Hi,

I'm still in high school, as some of you may know, and I was wondering how much there honestly is to learning about teeth. In medicine, there seems to be a whole lot of things to learn about, but how much can one honestly learn about dentistry because the whole subject seems a bit straightforward to me. I'm not trying to be a jerk or saying medicine is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> dentistry, its just an honest question, so please no flames.

thanks
 

Dental Dork 09

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Its not just the teeth, but essentially everything in the head and neck region.

If dentistry was just about teeth and we didn't have to worry about supporting stuctures, infections, overall patient health, etc; Then our field would be a cake walk.
 

diane07

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It's "straighforward" to you because you don't know much about it.

When you start taking upper division science classes in college, it will become more apparent to you how much there is to learn about the body!

Dentistry's focus is on the mouth area, true. But overall health and how the body functions is often interconnected.

I can see why you'd think that though . . . when we don't know much about something it seems simpler than it actually is.
 
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There is really nothing to it... Its basically a white thing(or many shades of the rainbow) in your mouth... But for some reason people want to give us money to look at it... Its the strangest thing I tell ya...
I say if it looks funny just take a pair of pliers and start yanking...

see look at this article.... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17372104/
 

armorshell

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How hard is an appendectomy? You just slice them open and cut it out right?

Can't be that hard to fix my own car right? Just get the new part and bolt it in there right?

Shouldn't be too hard to build my own house, nail some walls together and it's a house!

Can't be too hard to play a violin, right? There's only 5 strings!

Ignorance is bliss :)
 

OceanDMD

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Its not just the teeth, but essentially everything in the head and neck region.

If dentistry was just about teeth and we didn't have to worry about supporting stuctures, infections, overall patient health, etc; Then our field would be a cake walk.

Its not? Damn!
 

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this is funny because my dad's friend was like...."oh i could do dentistry...all they do is drill and fil...how hard can it really be?" Only if he knew the enormous amounts of procedures, techniques, precision etc it takes. I was like if its so easy why doesn't he quit his avg paying job and do dentistry and make good money.
 

surgeon_hopeful

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Dental916- I know that there are a lot of procedures, and stuff that take practice, but I'm talking strictly about dental anatomy/anatomy you learn in dental school.

ElDentist- Of course it seems trollish. What else do you expect from an uptight high school student worried about his future, and doesn't know exactly where his interests lie?
 

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We have to take gross anatomy just like the med students, so it is not any easier there.
 

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Its not? Damn!

Well I guess it all depends on how you want to practice. So I take my comment back.

If you just limit yourself to really general procedures it pretty much is cake walk and you can make an ok living.

But take some risk, do some manly procedures, and bring the bucks home :D
 

armorshell

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Dental916- I know that there are a lot of procedures, and stuff that take practice, but I'm talking strictly about dental anatomy/anatomy you learn in dental school.

ElDentist- Of course it seems trollish. What else do you expect from an uptight high school student worried about his future, and doesn't know exactly where his interests lie?

Remeber, dental anatomy and gross anatomy are only a drop in the bucket of the sciences you learn in dental school. Many dental school curricula are very similiar to med school curricula, in fact at some schools dental students share classes with the affiliated med school in addition to their own dental related classes.

The major difference between medical and dental school is the 3rd and 4th years. Instead of doing clerkships in various specialties of medicine, you will practice dentistry under faculty guidance.

So to answer your question, yes there is THAT much to learn about teeth, and your school will keep you busy for all 4 years (Or all 3 if you're lucky ;) )
 

1992Corolla

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I too was a little naive. I knew there was a lot of stuff to know, but I had trouble actually grasping the concept of what exactly we had to know about teeth.

So not stupid naive, just curious naive.

Here is an example:

There are about 30 different things to know for each tooth in the mouth. Some teeth have more (max 1st molar), some less (mand central incisor). Noting that there are 32 teeth in the mouth and each of these characteristics varies from each kind of tooth...with just these teeth there are about 1000 unique terms.
Now i realize that many of these terms are redundant and apply to more than one tooth...so even if you split this number in half you get 500. This doesn't include the histology, surrounding structures, etc.

Then you get into the restoration of these teeth. You now have to know how the anatomy works, take it away in exact dimensions and rebuild it in exact dimensions.

This is all one class too.

Add biochem, histo, anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, etc. and you have quite the load. Med students feel the same pressure. You probably only use 10% of all this stuff in the real world, but it is a loop to jump through set up by society to become a dentist.

Hope that helps your perspective a bit.
 
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surgeon_hopeful

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wow that was an excellent site kenniemed...thanks a lot! Although I do have one more question. Do dental schools really try to weed out people like he said, because I've always heard that dental schools (unlike law/bus school) try and keep everyone they can and do everything they can to make sure one succeeds. So is it THAT hard to pass dental school, or if I just try my best and work hard will I be able to succeed?
 

kenniemd

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wow that was an excellent site kenniemed...thanks a lot! Although I do have one more question. Do dental schools really try to weed out people like he said, because I've always heard that dental schools (unlike law/bus school) try and keep everyone they can and do everything they can to make sure one succeeds. So is it THAT hard to pass dental school, or if I just try my best and work hard will I be able to succeed?


I don't think that most dental schools weed out their students. There will always be some amount of attrition for one reason or another. However, if you study hard and develop good hand skills, you should be able to make it through dental school. Your personality, skill and business savvy will make you a *happy* dentist. Good luck
 

diane07

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kenniemd . . . that article you provided was right on. As a real life example, the university where I went for undergrad had an excellant Biology Department that had an extremely high rate of having their Bio majors accepted into medical school. Pre-meds are often Bio majors, and there would be all these freshman wanting to major in Biology and saying "I'm pre-med!" Then they wouldn't even be able to handle Biology class (easiest level too) The professors and anyone else who had a brain knew that there was definitely a "weeding" out process to distinguish between the serious/capable students and the ones who had no clue as to what being a pre-med or Bio major actually required. Same goes for pre-dent . . . their pre-requisites are almost the same as the pre-meds.

And you misread the article . . . the "weeding out" the author is talking about is in undergrad. Dental schools do their best to pick applicants who are well rounded and can SUCCEED in dental school. Once they accept someone, they assume that person has what it takes to do well or they would not have chosen them.

That's why many dental schools will give preferance to applicants who've had upper division science courses. It's not just another "hoop" to jump through. They want to ensure that those they accept will be able to handle the rigorous academics of dental school.

That article was also right on in depicting dental school as very challenging academically. As a disclaimer, I am not in dental school. But I have friends in both medical and dental school, and they say it certainly isn't easy!

From your original post, it sounds like you don't know a whole lot about the field of dentistry (ie - your statement "is there really that much to learn about teeth") I think you're doing the right thing by researching and I applaud you for that! I think too many people think "oh easy to get in, it will be easy in school, and ultimately easy money" When in reality, all aspects from getting accepted to succeeding academically to establishing a business - take hard work, ability and perspective.
 

muz

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kenniemd . . . that article you provided was right on. As a real life example, the university where I went for undergrad had an excellant Biology Department that had an extremely high rate of having their Bio majors accepted into medical school. Pre-meds are often Bio majors, and there would be all these freshman wanting to major in Biology and saying "I'm pre-med!" Then they wouldn't even be able to handle Biology class (easiest level too) The professors and anyone else who had a brain knew that there was definitely a "weeding" out process to distinguish between the serious/capable students and the ones who had no clue as to what being a pre-med or Bio major actually required. Same goes for pre-dent . . . their pre-requisites are almost the same as the pre-meds.

And you misread the article . . . the "weeding out" the author is talking about is in undergrad. Dental schools do their best to pick applicants who are well rounded and can SUCCEED in dental school. Once they accept someone, they assume that person has what it takes to do well or they would not have chosen them.

That's why many dental schools will give preferance to applicants who've had upper division science courses. It's not just another "hoop" to jump through. They want to ensure that those they accept will be able to handle the rigorous academics of dental school.

That article was also right on in depicting dental school as very challenging academically. As a disclaimer, I am not in dental school. But I have friends in both medical and dental school, and they say it certainly isn't easy!

From your original post, it sounds like you don't know a whole lot about the field of dentistry (ie - your statement "is there really that much to learn about teeth") I think you're doing the right thing by researching and I applaud you for that! I think too many people think "oh easy to get in, it will be easy in school, and ultimately easy money" When in reality, all aspects from getting accepted to succeeding academically to establishing a business - take hard work, ability and perspective.

theres usually not weeding out in dental school unless u goto NYU of course
 

OceanDMD

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Well I guess it all depends on how you want to practice. So I take my comment back.

If you just limit yourself to really general procedures it pretty much is cake walk and you can make an ok living.

But take some risk, do some manly procedures, and bring the bucks home :D

Im guessing you did not pick up on the sarcasm:)
 

shabu2

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I too was a little naive. I knew there was a lot of stuff to know, but I had trouble actually grasping the concept of what exactly we had to know about teeth.

So not stupid naive, just curious naive.

Here is an example:

There are about 30 different things to know for each tooth in the mouth. Some teeth have more (max 1st molar), some less (mand central incisor). Noting that there are 32 teeth in the mouth and each of these characteristics varies from each kind of tooth...with just these teeth there are about 1000 unique terms.
Now i realize that many of these terms are redundant and apply to more than one tooth...so even if you split this number in half you get 500. This doesn't include the histology, surrounding structures, etc.

Then you get into the restoration of these teeth. You now have to know how the anatomy works, take it away in exact dimensions and rebuild it in exact dimensions.

This is all one class too.

Add biochem, histo, anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy, etc. and you have quite the load. Med students feel the same pressure. You probably only use 10% of all this stuff in the real world, but it is a loop to jump through set up by society to become a dentist.

Hope that helps your perspective a bit.

The tooth anatomy also is critical when determining the path of infection when treating patients with acute abcesses. Reading radiographs, recalling head and neck anatomy for muscle attachments and fascial spaces (ie canine space - cavernous sinus), etc are pretty important. MD's have very little knowledge or experience with the oral cavity and most ED have a pleathora of patients who visit because of "tooth pain". Who are they going to turn to.....the "dentist".

Side note: I had a first year general surgery intern ask me after second year of dental school what the lingual nerve did.:eek:

Peace
 

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After 3rd grade I thought I knew everything there was to know about math. I could add, divide, and multiply. What more could I learn?

Then I got to geometry and trigonometry, and I thought that I finally had learned everything there was to know. Now I could calculate angles and shapes. What more could I learn?

Then I got to calculus. And then differential equations. And then linear algebra. And then I finally understood that I should have just stopped after the 3rd grade.
 

gryffindor

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There's only 32 teeth compared to like a zillion body parts. So yeah, there really isn't that much to learn. Since there are 4 years in dental school, we learned about 8 teeth each year. Teeth class was in the mornings, Monday - Thursday. On Fridays we sat around wishing we were med students b/c they get to learn about cool things like blood and intestines. In the afternoons we learned procedures on the teeth. First year was how to drill, second year was how to fill, third year was how to extract and replace, and fourth year was how to bill. Clearly this curriculum leaves no time for how to move teeth so that's why everyone graduates knowing nothing about orthodontics. Second semester senior year was really easy since that's when we learned about the 4 wisdom teeth and everyone knows you just extract those anyways.
 
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Consider for a second how large a small grain of sand feels when you bite down on it. Then think about how complex restoration of the teeth and oral structures can be. Dentistry is a precision field -- the patient will DEFINITELY notice if something isn't just right. There are a lot of components to learning how to be that precise. It's not really difficult, but it takes time and experience.
 

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How hard is an appendectomy? You just slice them open and cut it out right?

Can't be that hard to fix my own car right? Just get the new part and bolt it in there right?

Shouldn't be too hard to build my own house, nail some walls together and it's a house!

Can't be too hard to play a violin, right? There's only 5 strings!

Ignorance is bliss :)
Well said, Armorshell - but I just had to correct you on one fact - the violin does not have 5 strings - it has 4 - the E string (highest) followed by the A string, D string and G string (lowest). Learning how to hit the right note without any frets in all the 7 positions on each string, playing the bow straight , having a steady vibrato etc. - yeah no sweat ;-)
 

dentalman

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There's only 32 teeth compared to like a zillion body parts. So yeah, there really isn't that much to learn. Since there are 4 years in dental school, we learned about 8 teeth each year. Teeth class was in the mornings, Monday - Thursday. On Fridays we sat around wishing we were med students b/c they get to learn about cool things like blood and intestines. In the afternoons we learned procedures on the teeth. First year was how to drill, second year was how to fill, third year was how to extract and replace, and fourth year was how to bill. Clearly this curriculum leaves no time for how to move teeth so that's why everyone graduates knowing nothing about orthodontics. Second semester senior year was really easy since that's when we learned about the 4 wisdom teeth and everyone knows you just extract those anyways.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Hilarious!
 

muz

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i love how most of us will make great dentists...

we are replying to a 16-17 year old on his level....

its amazing...cuz we've got to do this all of our lives

good work fellow dental students:thumbup:
 

darksky

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Dental916- I know that there are a lot of procedures, and stuff that take practice, but I'm talking strictly about dental anatomy/anatomy you learn in dental school.

ElDentist- Of course it seems trollish. What else do you expect from an uptight high school student worried about his future, and doesn't know exactly where his interests lie?

most dental procedures are not complex. they are tedious
because you are working with small tooth in a small confine space(the oral cavity).
dental anatomy is simpler than anatomy/physiology of the whole body.
if you like complex procedures than become the real surgeon.
 

armorshell

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Well said, Armorshell - but I just had to correct you on one fact - the violin does not have 5 strings - it has 4 - the E string (highest) followed by the A string, D string and G string (lowest). Learning how to hit the right note without any frets in all the 7 positions on each string, playing the bow straight , having a steady vibrato etc. - yeah no sweat ;-)

Hmm, I guess violin is 1/5th easier then I thought
 

docj1

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Hi,

I'm still in high school, as some of you may know, and I was wondering how much there honestly is to learning about teeth. In medicine, there seems to be a whole lot of things to learn about, but how much can one honestly learn about dentistry because the whole subject seems a bit straightforward to me. I'm not trying to be a jerk or saying medicine is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> dentistry, its just an honest question, so please no flames.

thanks

Restoring teeth is not difficult (unless you have 10 thumbs as some dentists do) however, restoration of the teeth is only the final step after you have diagnosed the problem. If every patient that came in had a perfect occlusion(class I Skeletal and class I dental, no TMJ problems, was perfectly healthy, had no periodontal disease, no parafunctional habits, perfect oral hygeine, didn't smoke, chew, or drink alcohol) than dentistry would only be a matter of patient management. In reality dentistry encompasses a wide range of talents. You must be technically proficient, but you also have to be able to diagnose the problem, explain it to the patient in terms that they can understand, and deal with any possible outcome that results from the treatment you provide. In private practice as a dentist you are responsible for the overall care that your patients receive. This includes knowing which cases to treat and which to refer to a specialist. Also choice of which specialist you refer to.
 

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That's hilarious for sure....i can't help but laugh over & over after reading this.
Gosh...now I know what to say to people who say "DENTISTRY IS SO EASY..WHAT TAKES YOU FOUR YEARS???":laugh: :laugh: :laugh:



There's only 32 teeth compared to like a zillion body parts. So yeah, there really isn't that much to learn. Since there are 4 years in dental school, we learned about 8 teeth each year. Teeth class was in the mornings, Monday - Thursday. On Fridays we sat around wishing we were med students b/c they get to learn about cool things like blood and intestines. In the afternoons we learned procedures on the teeth. First year was how to drill, second year was how to fill, third year was how to extract and replace, and fourth year was how to bill. Clearly this curriculum leaves no time for how to move teeth so that's why everyone graduates knowing nothing about orthodontics. Second semester senior year was really easy since that's when we learned about the 4 wisdom teeth and everyone knows you just extract those anyways.
 

drock

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You could say that for any specialty. Ortho about bones, derm about skin, ophto about eyes, OB about #@$%^, etc. I think dentistry is exploding and you will see some schools with an emphisis on a good medical foundation and then require you to do a GPR or AEGD residency to get your clinical skills refined.

Sounds like if you want to be a surgeon, then you better know that your fine-motor skills are good and that you can stomach the long road ahead.
 

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Hi,

I'm still in high school, as some of you may know, and I was wondering how much there honestly is to learning about teeth. In medicine, there seems to be a whole lot of things to learn about, but how much can one honestly learn about dentistry because the whole subject seems a bit straightforward to me. I'm not trying to be a jerk or saying medicine is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> dentistry, its just an honest question, so please no flames.

thanks


not much just learn that there is 32 teeth and get a degree.
 

Sweeti8286

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don't forget primary teeth :p That would add 20 more...granted most are just mini versions of permanent teeth....but I'm sure you'll run into them at some point in your dental career.

"First year was how to drill, second year was how to fill, third year was how to extract and replace, and fourth year was how to bill." :laugh:

But seriously though- to surgeon_hopeful- I really didn't know what dentistry involved until I started shadowing dentists and dental students when I was in high school and undergrad. And as I am now going through dental school, I didn't even know I had to dissect cadavers. The patient's systemic condition affects their oral conditions as well as having an impact on how you'd handle the patient that you'd never imagine that it's such a big deal. So, this is why all dental students have to learn pretty much everything but the legs, including pathologies like in the reproductive system or GI system.

If you have questions or need some guidance in what steps to take to get you started in your dental career path, feel free to PM me :)
 

TempleDMD

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No. Its a big scam to take your money. Dental school should only be an online course.
 
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