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medical school vs. dental school

Discussion in 'Dental' started by burlingame.2, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. burlingame.2

    burlingame.2 Junior Member
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    I was wondering if anyone has any insight as to the pros and cons of attending either medical school and dental school. I am a non traditional student and applied to medical school this past year and was not accepted. I am planning on applying next year, and have recently started researching dentistry. It seems that dentist may have a better life (in the hours worked and such), which I find very attractive since I want to have a family. Also, with the state of medicine these days, may physicians have told me that I was crazy. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Serge718

    Serge718 Member
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    These are two different fields. If you like teeth, and you like working with your hands then dentistry is something to consider. But if you don't see yourself staring into someones mouth all day well then....

    It is true that dentistry allows you to have a more flexible schedule. But you have to realized that in the beginning of your career you will probably be working no less then an MD trying to expand your practice and make as much money as possible. It's somewhat of a myth that MD's work 80 hr wks... I have a few Dr relatives, it was rough for them in residency, it would still be pushing it to say that they worked more then 60 hr a wk. And then it was tough for few years after. But once you join a group your schedule become more flexible.

    In dentistry how much you work is sort of based on what your ambitions are. Do you want to keep your practice open 6 days a wk 10 hrs a day so that you could see as many patients as possible, or do you want to work 35 hr wks and play golf.

    All depends on what you see yourself doing in life.
     
  4. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    Money and lifestyle won't mean much if you end up with a job you feel miserable about. Shadow a few dentists and see if you will at least like the job before investing the time, effort and money. You don't have to love dentistry with a passion, but you should at least like what the work involves.

    You should choose a career that will give you a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day, not a sense of entrapment (i.e. hate the job but can't do anything else because you need the money).

    HTH.
     
  5. busupshot83

    busupshot83 S.D.N. Vet
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    Here's what I know:

    Medicine

    Pros:
    - More prestigious in the public's eye
    - Lots of choices, in the sense that there are much more fields to choose to specialize in.

    Cons:
    - Being on call... long hours.
    - Residency, making total schooling generally longer
    - Managed health care.

    Dentistry

    Pros:
    - Rarely on call... shorter hours.
    - Residency is optional, making total schooling less.
    - Dentistry is not over-run by managed care.
    - Be your own boss, work when and how much you want.

    Cons:
    - After 4 intense years of dental school, still having patients that believe dental school is 2 years long. Not as prestigious as medicine, but that may be changing.
    - Isolation, unless you are in a group practice.
    - Very specific, you must be interested in the oral cavity :luck:.

    Anyone feel free to add.

    pce,

    bus. :cool:
     
  6. busupshot83

    busupshot83 S.D.N. Vet
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    burlingame.2,

    this is great advice, listen to Tom.
     
  7. ToothMonkey

    ToothMonkey Senior Member
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    Another advantage dentists have over many physicians (depending on the specialty) is that they rarely have to deal with the possibility of a patient's permanent injury or death. As a result I would say two more pros for dentistry would be:

    - Low malpractice insurance and a low rate of litigation.
    - Less stress than many medical specialties
     
  8. drPheta

    drPheta Some random guy
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    Don't forget dentistry's organization (the ADA) along with all the community organizations each state and town has for dentists is very united.

    You do not have this advantage in medicine.

    Personally, I feel the prestige comparison between med and dent is purely ego driven. Who cares if MDs are ranked as more highly regarded over dentistry? I don't, and if you do then maybe you need to pick med. However, prestige aside, dentistry is by far the better of the two careers. The educational track is shorter, liabilities are less, autonomy is greater, and the prestige is still there if it matters.

    Like Tom said, shadow a dentist. You'll see very quickly whether or not you want to go into this profession, and do not let his outside lifestyle (money and toys) influence your decision. Granted, money is important, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't look forward to being well off, you need to make sure you will even enjoy doing the work. Otherwise, you'll end up with serious problems outside of your practice.
     
  9. Bsingle04

    Bsingle04 New Member

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    Dental - a very good choice these days. Dentists make very good $$$$$$$, no calls, excellent hours, lack of lawsuits to worry about, low mal-practice premiums, none/short residency. Big house, beautiful Mercedes and Porsches! Party on the weekends.

    Medicine - the grass always appear greener on the other side of the lawn. lots of calls, long hours, long residency, very competitive residency market, high mal-practice premiums (ie. $225,000/yr in neurosurgery), crazy out of control / hostile practicing environment, demanding patients. Big house, beautiful Mercedes and Porsches, but can all be taken away one day by some greedy lawyers. Work during the weekends.

    I feel very happy in medicine despite all the negativities. It all depends on what you like to do, your priorities in life, and how much sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve your goals.
     
  10. burlingame.2

    burlingame.2 Junior Member
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    thanks for all your imput. I am currently in the healthcare field and would like to stay in it if at all possible because of how statisfying it is. The quality of life issuses are what is of next importance. I am currently a perfusionist and work crazy hours and am on call a lot. If I did choose medicine I would be going into the rehab disiplines to eliminate most of the call. This is a reason dentistry has started to appeal to me. Does the same this carry over into orthodontics? I plan on shadowing a dentist for a couple of weeks to get a good taste of the practice. When it comes down to it though, I would just like to make a living helping others and be able to have a family life. Any additional imput is greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  11. the big wand

    the big wand Senior Member
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    Dentists are more important than medical doctors -- believe it or not. Think about it...any animal that loses all its teeth will die. Dentists are dealing with LIFE-THREATENING disease here! :D We rectify the problems by introducing dentures, fillings, crowns, implants...
     
  12. busupshot83

    busupshot83 S.D.N. Vet
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    equally as important :cool:
     
  13. drPheta

    drPheta Some random guy
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    I don't know...many people seem to be ok with gumming their food and eating through a straw. Then again, we've seen many examples of idiotic public America.
     
  14. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I don't think the logic washes, but the enthusiasm is commendable. :D
     
  15. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    Dentistry and Medicine are hard to compare, they're so different! The lifestyle, the training, just about everything.

    I think dentistry is great for people who have less time left (only 4 years) or have family (you can work part time, no calls). I think thats why a lot of girls go into dentistry b/c you can actually have a job AND a family. Thats why my sister went dental instead of med.

    In the end though i think the most important thing is to choose which one you like more! Youll be miserable doing either if you dont enjoy it.
     
  16. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Hmm....actually I thought there was more males than females in dental school? Don't know where I heard that one....

    But yes, go into medicine if
    1. You are not sure what area of health care you want to specialize in. Dentistry is concerned only with oral health care.

    2. You can stomach residency. This is not required in dentistry. Do you want to be a doc so bad you are willing to go through 80 hr/workweeks for a number of years?

    3. If you feel you can allow someone to put their life in your hands. There is a bigger chance in medicine of having to perform life saving procedures than dentistry.

    Go into dentistry:
    1. If you are intersted in oral health care.

    2. If you like running/being part of a small business. You will probably be working in your own practice or a small group practice.

    3. If you enjoy working with your hands and don't mind bending over patients. I have been told that dentistry requires more physical bending over types of positions (that sounded dirty :laugh: ) than other health care jobs.

    Really, I am not an expert on dentistry by any means. So take my advice regarding dentistry with a grain of salt, but my reasons for going into medicine I think are fairly valid. These are the issues that I had considered before diving into medicine (again). Good luck. :)
     
  17. dental44

    dental44 Junior Member
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    Alot of good medical vs dental posts here. A common theme in favor of dentistry is the ability to live a balanced life and still do very well financially. The two fields a really very different. Medicine has a much greater demand (prepping a patient for crowns is simply not as demanding as monitoring a patient over a series of days who has some bacterial infection and is unexplainably crapping water). But this a positive aspect of dentistry right? I suppose that depends on who you are asking. Personally, I feel medicine requires a considerably greater personal commitment (not that a dentist running their own practice doesn't have a huge personal commitment-its just different) and will afford you only a slightly higher income. I feel income and lifestyle are two major reasons anyone chooses either medical or dental in the first place. I don't care what any med student or dental student says. Besides, the real genuises (not your tpyical med or dental student) are going for their PHDs in some awesomely (spell check) complex field. So much of what is on SDN is a professional attack forum with the med/premeds thinking their on the top and the dental students feeling they've actually chosen the better profession. What the meds need to realize is that medical school is not the coolest/hardest thing in the world. There are professions such as engineering, molecular biology, genetics, math, ect. that have some pretty smart people too. Just because you have chosen medical or dental school doesn't mean you are better/smarter than any of these other people (just keep things in perspective). And I'm going to dental school!?
     
  18. Christofurrr

    Christofurrr Junior Member
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    Hi, you're from Burlingame, CA too? I'm from Burlingame but currently up at Davis. The dental lifestyle is definately a plus, my aunt is a current practicing doctor and she is extremely stressed out but is making a good living for herself. While lifestyle is a plus for dentistry it shouldn't be your only deciding factor.
     
  19. johntran

    johntran jtdds

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    Well said. In my school the theoretical medicine and dental curriculum is essentially the same (except for reproduction block which isn't exactly the hardest). With that in mind, the theoretical portion of medicine is really not that difficult to grasp. Its easier than undergrad since you really only have to know surface things. Yes, you have to learn a lot but it is all just surface things (how to treat this, the basic pathophysiology of that...). Also the dental students have to take dental classes in addition to the medicine classes. So we are taking more at the same time!

    Now the practical part of medicine really depends on some smarts, and a whole lotta other skill (staying awake, being alert, being a nice doctor, etc)

    However much you slice it, meds are smart. But not the smartest. Nobody is the smartest when you reach a certain level. Did you know that in England PhD's are just as or more prestigious than MD's? The culture we live in creates a fallacy of thought because of shows like "ER".

    Everyone is smart. On a more personal opinion I think some of the smartest people are engineers. Its amazing what they can build! Dentists and doctors.... all we do is recall information and apply it. We don't really "create" and when we do its not exactly rocket science. It's time to have some humility people!
    :idea:
    dds2006
     
  20. gmcsierra

    gmcsierra Member
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    Don't give us engineers too much credit. We don't write these equations. They are all provided. While there are a few bright students amongst us, most of us run around from teacher to teacher for help and basically apply what the bright of the past have acheived.
     
  21. scandalouslj

    scandalouslj Upenn Class of 2007
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    Well said everyone, I totally agree too often we feel we are the smartest of the group which might not always be the case. And Yes I talked to a med student and she actually thought our program was 2 years! I wanted to slap her!

    But on to the original topic of the tread, a lot of people harp on the medical lifestyle, but it isnt as bad as everyone says it is. People like to just group all the bad things together, but if you look at it individually it isnt that bad Things like malpractice can be high, but it really dpends what specialty you go into. Doctors in Indiana have very low malpractice insurance premiums, while thos in Ill are dying with their premiums. A lot of specalties or even a general practitioner doesnt have to be on call.

    Of course things like a residency does suck. And I decided to pick dentistry even though a lot of memebers of my family are Physicians and have great lifestyles. But I was more interested in the medicine of the mouth. Dentists are basically specialists of medicine right from the start. So like the rest of the people said can you stand to look at teeth all the time? If not you will drop out of school real fast after you realize it will take you 7 hours to wax up one central incisor when you first start. Or how hard placing a restoration really is. So go shadow and dentist for a week or two and see if you will like it, go work in a dental lab for a week or more and see if you will like that.
     
  22. dentite001

    dentite001 Senior Member
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    I have to be only in partial agreement with what is said about the Phds vs MDs. It's interesting to note that MDs are encouraged to do their Phds but the opposite is rarely true. I agree though that some of the smartest people do their Phds. Afterall, Einstein did his Phd before receiving his honorary MD.
    On the other hand, it seems like a lot of stupid people are getting their Phd's these days. With all the faculty retiring its not that hard to get into certain disciplines. The thing to remember is that not all PHds are created equal. Academic freedom ensures a lot of crap is out there too.
    I thought this was an interesting website on the introduction of a new field. For those of you who know about the University of Waterloo, I see this being the wave of the future. http://www.iqc.ca/ Those people are TOTAL idiots. :)
     

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