Little dilemma, I like the idea of being a dentist but do I know what I am getting myself into?

gstead245

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May 26, 2014
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Currently in a dilemma on my life. Basically applied to PA school because everyone says it is a good career choice after shadowing, talking to family members, and reading. Got a couple of interviews then realized do I even want to do this? So I am waiting for acceptance at the moment. But I always wanted to be a dentist. After shadowing, talking to relatives who work in the field, and reading as well about the career there seemed to be a negative outlook.
Even a dental hygienist who I was getting my teeth cleaned said don't be a dentist and starts spewing a bunch of negative stuff about it. My relative who is a dentist struggles, but she bought a new dental office in expensive area fresh out of school and had to ask her mom multiple times for money. So then I decided to go with the "safe" option.

My thought is this. I have worked various jobs from retail, assistant, and healthcare related jobs, so I have a more understanding of the real world than some person who did not work before. What I learned is that everything pretty much sucks. Doctors complain, dentists complain, pharm complains, PA complains, everyone.

Things I have been told about not to do dentistry is the High debt 400k plus, physically demanding on the body, patients who don't appreciate you, dealing with healthcare in general, business side of dentistry, dealing with staff etc, large dependency on my hands... Reason why I like dentistry is that I like to learn something tangible, it fits my personality where I can perform my work maybe throw on some earphones listen to some good music and create something I am proud of. Dentistry is like an art. I also like the independence, being business owner (have a entrepreneur and business mindset), the efficiency of my time, the money, hiring staff that I want to work with, something that I would be proud of doing.

My biggest gripe about dentistry was obviously the loans. 400k plus to be a dentist and since I live in a big city which I absolutely love living here with family etc... I would most likely have to move somewhere rural to make it as a dentist. My thought would be either to get the HPSP scholarship or work wherever that pays me the most to pay down my loans. I just picture a lot more sacrifice and struggle being a dentist to get where I want in life. Then after I gained experience move back to big city and work as an associate or open my own clinic.

The reason for being a PA was that obviously the materialistic stuff like low loans, great future in healthcare, high salary, great flexibility in terms of what you want to learn where you want to work, I would be able to live and work in my home area. I live in California. I obviously want to be in good financial position and not be drowning in debt. I have seen some people including dentists who are 20 years in and still have 200k of debt they need to pay off. To me it is what is the point going through all of that. Being financially chained down. I want to hear your thoughts from people that have experience and work in the profession for awhile.
 
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frozenicecreamDMD

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not all schools cost 400k plus. some public out of state that give in state after one year is about 300k.

plus the dental hygienist is hating because she/he couldnt do dental school.

for the dentist that didnt pay off his student loan after 20 years and still have 200k ( back then he probably have low student loan, max prob is 300k). this means he probably blows his money up spending a lavish way.

yea half a million dollar debt to be a dentist isnt worth it but 300k is. it takes 5 years to pay it off living in less desirable area and in a super frugal living style
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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Currently in a dilemma on my life. Basically applied to PA school because everyone says it is a good career choice after shadowing, talking to family members, and reading. Got a couple of interviews then realized do I even want to do this? So I am waiting for acceptance at the moment. But I always wanted to be a dentist. After shadowing, talking to relatives who work in the field, and reading as well about the career there seemed to be a negative outlook.
Even a dental hygienist who I was getting my teeth cleaned said don't be a dentist and starts spewing a bunch of negative stuff about it. My relative who is a dentist struggles, but she bought a new dental office in expensive area fresh out of school and had to ask her mom multiple times for money. So then I decided to go with the "safe" option.

My thought is this. I have worked various jobs from retail, assistant, and healthcare related jobs, so I have a more understanding of the real world than some person who did not work before. What I learned is that everything pretty much sucks. Doctors complain, dentists complain, pharm complains, PA complains, everyone.

Things I have been told about not to do dentistry is the High debt 400k plus, physically demanding on the body, patients who don't appreciate you, dealing with healthcare in general, business side of dentistry, dealing with staff etc, large dependency on my hands... Reason why I like dentistry is that I like to learn something tangible, it fits my personality where I can perform my work maybe throw on some earphones listen to some good music and create something I am proud of. Dentistry is like an art. I also like the independence, being business owner (have a entrepreneur and business mindset), the efficiency of my time, the money, hiring staff that I want to work with, something that I would be proud of doing.

My biggest gripe about dentistry was obviously the loans. 400k plus to be a dentist and since I live in a big city which I absolutely love living here with family etc... I would most likely have to move somewhere rural to make it as a dentist. My thought would be either to get the HPSP scholarship or work wherever that pays me the most to pay down my loans. I just picture a lot more sacrifice and struggle being a dentist to get where I want in life. Then after I gained experience move back to big city and work as an associate or open my own clinic.

The reason for being a PA was that obviously the materialistic stuff like low loans, great future in healthcare, high salary, great flexibility in terms of what you want to learn where you want to work, I would be able to live and work in my home area. I live in California. I obviously want to be in good financial position and not be drowning in debt. I have seen some people including dentists who are 20 years in and still have 200k of debt they need to pay off. To me it is what is the point going through all of that. Being financially chained down. I want to hear your thoughts from people that have experience and work in the profession for awhile.
The difference for me was the fact that a PA reaches a ceiling eventually. Everyone in their 30's loved being a PA cause it was fresh and new and exciting in their lives and they hadn't reached a peak in salary and knowledge. Most 40 and 50 year olds that were PAs wished they had done med school. They reached their peak and were bored with their work. I remember a PA that was like 50 or so who had worked in the same place for 20 years. He was real respected and had a ton of medical knowledge. He said its the most frustrating thing to have a young newly graduated medical student become his boss and make double his salary immediately on hire, even though the PA knew more stuff by experience. PAs do great work, and you can have a great lifestyle and help so many people. But that right there was the biggest difference maker for me. And after committing to dentistry, I have found more and more reasons as to why I made the right choice.
 

schmoob

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Mar 26, 2015
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Currently in a dilemma on my life. Basically applied to PA school because everyone says it is a good career choice after shadowing, talking to family members, and reading. Got a couple of interviews then realized do I even want to do this? So I am waiting for acceptance at the moment. But I always wanted to be a dentist. After shadowing, talking to relatives who work in the field, and reading as well about the career there seemed to be a negative outlook.
Even a dental hygienist who I was getting my teeth cleaned said don't be a dentist and starts spewing a bunch of negative stuff about it. My relative who is a dentist struggles, but she bought a new dental office in expensive area fresh out of school and had to ask her mom multiple times for money. So then I decided to go with the "safe" option.

My thought is this. I have worked various jobs from retail, assistant, and healthcare related jobs, so I have a more understanding of the real world than some person who did not work before. What I learned is that everything pretty much sucks. Doctors complain, dentists complain, pharm complains, PA complains, everyone.

Things I have been told about not to do dentistry is the High debt 400k plus, physically demanding on the body, patients who don't appreciate you, dealing with healthcare in general, business side of dentistry, dealing with staff etc, large dependency on my hands... Reason why I like dentistry is that I like to learn something tangible, it fits my personality where I can perform my work maybe throw on some earphones listen to some good music and create something I am proud of. Dentistry is like an art. I also like the independence, being business owner (have a entrepreneur and business mindset), the efficiency of my time, the money, hiring staff that I want to work with, something that I would be proud of doing.

My biggest gripe about dentistry was obviously the loans. 400k plus to be a dentist and since I live in a big city which I absolutely love living here with family etc... I would most likely have to move somewhere rural to make it as a dentist. My thought would be either to get the HPSP scholarship or work wherever that pays me the most to pay down my loans. I just picture a lot more sacrifice and struggle being a dentist to get where I want in life. Then after I gained experience move back to big city and work as an associate or open my own clinic.

The reason for being a PA was that obviously the materialistic stuff like low loans, great future in healthcare, high salary, great flexibility in terms of what you want to learn where you want to work, I would be able to live and work in my home area. I live in California. I obviously want to be in good financial position and not be drowning in debt. I have seen some people including dentists who are 20 years in and still have 200k of debt they need to pay off. To me it is what is the point going through all of that. Being financially chained down. I want to hear your thoughts from people that have experience and work in the profession for awhile.
Go big or go home, brother. No regrets.
 
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dealing with healthcare in general, business side of dentistry, dealing with staff etc, large dependency on my hands... Reason why I like dentistry is that I like to learn
These are the things that make dentistry great. You are a healthcare professional and a business person. Sounds like you are not interested in being a small business owner, and that's fine. Lot's of dentists work for corporate or as associates forever because they do not like the business aspect. That is where the ceiling comes in, as with other jobs. When you own your business, there will be other opportunities that will generate more revenue, a much higher ceiling.

And most jobs come with a large dependency on your hands, unless of course you are a professional soccer player.
 
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gstead245

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These are the things that make dentistry great. You are a healthcare professional and a business person. Sounds like you are not interested in being a small business owner, and that's fine. Lot's of dentists work for corporate or as associates forever because they do not like the business aspect. That is where the ceiling comes in, as with other jobs. When you own your business, there will be other opportunities that will generate more revenue, a much higher ceiling.

And most jobs come with a large dependency on your hands, unless of course you are a professional soccer player.
One thing is the loans. Worst case scenario I would most likely go to an expensive school 400k plus im assuming. If I hustle hard how long can I reasonably expect to pay off the loans? To me being 45 years old with 200k of dental loans is not worth it in my opinion. I would like to pay it off as soon as possible. Obviously HPSP scholarship would be ideal. But lets go with worst case scenario. I am single and willing to live anywhere and sacrifice for a couple of years
 

distressstudent

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These are the things that make dentistry great. You are a healthcare professional and a business person. Sounds like you are not interested in being a small business owner, and that's fine. Lot's of dentists work for corporate or as associates forever because they do not like the business aspect. That is where the ceiling comes in, as with other jobs. When you own your business, there will be other opportunities that will generate more revenue, a much higher ceiling.

And most jobs come with a large dependency on your hands, unless of course you are a professional soccer player.
No professional soccer players but most many can be considered professional golf players
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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One thing is the loans. Worst case scenario I would most likely go to an expensive school 400k plus im assuming. If I hustle hard how long can I reasonably expect to pay off the loans? To me being 45 years old with 200k of dental loans is not worth it in my opinion. I would like to pay it off as soon as possible. Obviously HPSP scholarship would be ideal. But lets go with worst case scenario. I am single and willing to live anywhere and sacrifice for a couple of years
Itd probably take between 5-10 years depending on how much you give yourself to live per year


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sarriball

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One thing is the loans. Worst case scenario I would most likely go to an expensive school 400k plus im assuming. If I hustle hard how long can I reasonably expect to pay off the loans? To me being 45 years old with 200k of dental loans is not worth it in my opinion. I would like to pay it off as soon as possible. Obviously HPSP scholarship would be ideal. But lets go with worst case scenario. I am single and willing to live anywhere and sacrifice for a couple of years
It would certainly help if you're married and your spouse has a stable job.
 

Jalcalde

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One thing is the loans. Worst case scenario I would most likely go to an expensive school 400k plus im assuming. If I hustle hard how long can I reasonably expect to pay off the loans? To me being 45 years old with 200k of dental loans is not worth it in my opinion. I would like to pay it off as soon as possible. Obviously HPSP scholarship would be ideal. But lets go with worst case scenario. I am single and willing to live anywhere and sacrifice for a couple of years
Do the HPSP, get all your schooling paid for plus a 20k bonus plus a living stipend of 2k a month. Then do dentistry for the military for 4 years then get out debt free.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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Do the HPSP, get all your schooling paid for plus a 20k bonus plus a living stipend of 2k a month. Then do dentistry for the military for 4 years then get out debt free.
Thats a lot easier said than done. HPSP is verrry competitive now


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Thats a lot easier said than done. HPSP is verrry competitive now


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If you play your cards right, you still have a pretty good shot at a three year scholarship as long as you have your foot in all three branches.

Just study extra hard and ace the DAT. That's much easier than trying to pay off 500k with no help
 

Jalcalde

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If you play your cards right, you still have a pretty good shot at a three year scholarship as long as you have your foot in all three branches.

Just study extra hard and ace the DAT. That's much easier than trying to pay off 500k with no help
This. What's worse, working hard to get into army scholarship and not pay 400k+ or saying its too hard not gonna do it? You have to have good stats to get into dental school anyway. Put in the effort to make yourself desirable and don't pay huge sums of money.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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This. What's worse, working hard to get into army scholarship and not pay 400k+ or saying its too hard not gonna do it? You have to have good stats to get into dental school anyway. Put in the effort to make yourself desirable and don't pay huge sums of money.
No one said they're saying "Its too hard not gonna do it." What I was saying is to not pick dentistry, betting that you'll get an HPSP scholarship.. Pick it, betting that you'll have high loans. Last year there were so many guys on the thread that had extremely high GPA's and DAT scores that didn't get it... Because there are only like 150 in the country awarded per year... So its definitely much harder than getting into dental school.
 

schmoob

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No one said they're saying "Its too hard not gonna do it." What I was saying is to not pick dentistry, betting that you'll get an HPSP scholarship.. Pick it, betting that you'll have high loans. Last year there were so many guys on the thread that had extremely high GPA's and DAT scores that didn't get it... Because there are only like 150 in the country awarded per year... So its definitely much harder than getting into dental school.
It's definitely tough to get in now. Deployment rates are low, retention rates are high. The demand is low and supply is high.
It comes in waves. If things pick up overseas, you will see a change in those trends.
 

Cranjis McBasketball

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It's definitely tough to get in now. Deployment rates are low, retention rates are high. The demand is low and supply is high.
It comes in waves. If things pick up overseas, you will see a change in those trends.
And probably the biggest factor, tuition is going up, up, and up. haha
 
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No one said they're saying "Its too hard not gonna do it." What I was saying is to not pick dentistry, betting that you'll get an HPSP scholarship.. Pick it, betting that you'll have high loans. Last year there were so many guys on the thread that had extremely high GPA's and DAT scores that didn't get it... Because there are only like 150 in the country awarded per year... So its definitely much harder than getting into dental school.
If you look a little closer though, you will see that plenty of sub 3.5 and sub-20 eventually were offered a scholarship

Same for my classmates. The only ones that didn't eventually ended up with a three year were no longer interested in it enough ( didn't keep close tabs with recruiter to renew their app. Renewing your app is like an express line to the scholarship)
 

bigstix808

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It would certainly help if you're married and your spouse has a stable job.
this. all of this.

but don't let the age thing bother you. plenty of new dmd's graduate every year that are 40+. if you're willing to move / work OUTSIDE of the bigger cities there are more than enough opportunities to make money to pay back debt. i personally made 145, 165, 195k respectively my first 3 yrs out of school working in a smallish town. that was non corp, FFS, and i definitely wasn't breaking my back slaving away. i now make way more than that and will be partnering soon with my current senior dmd.

even if you plan to work till 60. thats 10 good yrs to work (i would definitely want to own in your situation). if you play your cards right you'll make 250-300+ as an owner so that debt will be gone in no time.
 
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