Quantcast

Medical vs Dental pros an cons

stool

New Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
It has always been my dream to get into medical field until someone suggested dentistry instead. Now I'm reconsidering it and honestly I think I'm falling more towards on dental right now but I'm not so sure if that's truly my passion. I know both fields are very different and require a lot of work and to be honest, I don't know if I could even handle the amount of work, stress, and pressure. The lifestyle of a dentist seems little more relaxed but again, I don't know if that's my passion or I'm just thinking about it for the lifestyle.. I constantly have doubts on myself. Also, I would hate to regret my decision in the future. (That's my biggest fear) I'm still young so I still have time but not a lot. There are programs related to those fields at my school and I need help on deciding.

First question, What are the pros and cons of each of those fields? (life style, satisfaction, process, etc)

Second, What is the process of becoming a dentist? (How long, difficulty, dental school, which major to take etc.) I've researched a bit on medical so I know the general steps of becoming a doctor but I'm not so sure about dental.

Lastly, Is DAT similar to MCAT? How are the both tests?


Thanks in advance.
 

8_man

Achievement Unlocked: DDS
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
982
Reaction score
1,733
Dental route = 4 years of undergrad + 4 years of grad

Medical route = 4 years of undergrad + 4 years of grad + 4 years of residency

In my opinion, DAT < MCAT in terms of difficulty (I took both)
DAT is mostly memorization, while the MCAT is analytical​
 

FrugalMuscle

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
32
Reaction score
9
Dental is more chill and no mandatory residency. Dental does have residencies that are very lucrative (most of them paying $200-300k annually).
Medicine requires residency training of 2-4 years (longer if you want the surgical specialties and subspecialties).
Both are difficult to obtain, both earn a ton of money, both will provide you with a sense of happiness from helping/healing others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

ParallelLines

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Messages
178
Reaction score
264
In terms of deciding what you're passionate about, I would suggest spending a significant amount of time shadowing in both fields.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

WedgeDawg

not actually a dog
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
7,690
Reaction score
12,992
I wouldn't do dentistry if you paid me, but I'm sure there are dentists/dental students that feel that way about medicine.

Shadow both and then decide
 

DrYoda

Space Cowboy
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
13,815
Reaction score
129
Just so you guys are clear: residency and fellowship after medical school can be anywhere from 3-8 years depending on program and specialization, I suppose you could even make it longer if you did a general surgery residency with research years required and a lengthy fellowship. All depends on what you end up specializing in.
 

FlameBroiledDoc

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
Messages
80
Reaction score
96
It depends on what you like, where your interests are, and how you are with people. Medicine is harder to get into and much more demanding during training. Dentistry offers the better lifestyle, and possibly better money once you factor in the length of training (your income during residency is essentially subsistence level only). MDs get more respect, but that and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

Medicine is much more varied in terms of your possible career paths, from pediatrics to geriatrics in terms of patient age, and psychiatry (talking only) to pathology (dead person) in terms of patient interactions. Dentistry has its sub-fields too, but they're still basically teeth, gums, and jaws, and the work is largely technical.

Medicine for the most part is about people. Unless your interests lie in research or pathology (and you will have a clearer path if they do), you have to like interacting with people to enjoy medicine. That's not for everyone...I walked away after bad bouts of burnout, because I didn't belong in medicine.
 

schmoob

Full Member
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2015
Messages
3,455
Reaction score
5,681
I was in a similar situation and I ultimately chose dentistry because I wanted a career that is more flexible than medicine while not sacrificing the intellectual healthcare component. Most dentists work 4 days a week and that's pretty cool because it allows you a great work-life balance. You can probably maximize your earning potential better in medicine if you are able to match into lucrative specialities like derm, plastics, and ortho, but otherwise you are probably better off with dentistry. Some dental specialties are very lucrative as well, sometimes hitting in 600K-1M/yr income (depending on many factors of course). Be careful with dentistry though, dental school is more expensive and financially burdensome because you will want to purchase a practice out of school (300K-500K) in order to maximize your earning potential ASAP.
The road to becoming a dentist is very similiar to medicine. 4 years undergrad + 4 years dental school. Many students specialize after dental school via GPR/AEGD residencies which can be another year (or two?) after dental school. Additionally, if you are competitive enough and interested, you may be able to specialize into a variety of fields like pediatric dentistry, endodontics, oral surgery, etc. that can be an additional couple of years after dental school.
Dental school is tough and many argue it is tougher than medical school because you must take all the necessary science classes on top of lab classes that train you to have the hand skills that a dentist needs. If I were you and considering dentistry, I would major in Biology, Biochemistry, or Chemistry in order to prepare for the rigorous science course load in dental school.
Lastly, the DAT is easier than the MCAT in my opinion because the DAT asks questions one by one like a normal exam that you would expect in high school biology; however, the MCAT has passages which are coupled with sets of questions that relate to the passage. To answer the questions, you have to have the background knowledge, but you must also think very analytically and apply your knowledge to the question and the passage FAST.
Sorry for the long post, but if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

Most dentists do not work 4 days a week.
Also, college major does not matter. Major in what makes one happy, as long as they take the perquisites and do well on the DAT.

I wouldn't do dentistry if you paid me, but I'm sure there are dentists/dental students that feel that way about medicine.

Shadow both and then decide
I don't think anyone would do dentistry or medicine if you didn't pay them ;)
 

Instatewaiter

But... there's a troponin
Account on Hold
15+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
6,133
Reaction score
2,363
It has always been my dream to get into medical field until someone suggested dentistry instead. Now I'm reconsidering it and honestly I think I'm falling more towards on dental right now but I'm not so sure if that's truly my passion. I know both fields are very different and require a lot of work and to be honest, I don't know if I could even handle the amount of work, stress, and pressure. The lifestyle of a dentist seems little more relaxed but again, I don't know if that's my passion or I'm just thinking about it for the lifestyle.. I constantly have doubts on myself. Also, I would hate to regret my decision in the future. (That's my biggest fear) I'm still young so I still have time but not a lot. There are programs related to those fields at my school and I need help on deciding.

First question, What are the pros and cons of each of those fields? (life style, satisfaction, process, etc)

Second, What is the process of becoming a dentist? (How long, difficulty, dental school, which major to take etc.) I've researched a bit on medical so I know the general steps of becoming a doctor but I'm not so sure about dental.

Lastly, Is DAT similar to MCAT? How are the both tests?


Thanks in advance.


Medicine Pros
Can deal with more than just teeth
More respect
Better pay (unless you choose peds or primary care as an MD or OMF/orthodontics as a DMD, then it is likely a wash)
Don't feel like a fraud if you call yourself doctor (have you seen the hangover?)
More variety and more options in what you can do with the degree including the various specialties and the non-medicine related industry jobs

Medicine cons

Likely longer hours working
Longer to start work
Higher likelihood of malpractice (although dentists still are sued)

Dentistry Pros
Make pretty good money
Can do some surgical procedures with the right fellowship
Shorter hours- 35-38 hours per week (doctors average 45-50 hours)

Dentistry Cons
Only really dealing with the teeth +/- face- which could be cool if that is your thing
Not as much prestige or pay
The nagging feeling that you could have done more with your life
Dealing with nasty broken teeth and poor dentition - bad teeth are just gross
People Dread going to dentists
 

Dr-Mo

New Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2014
Messages
3
Reaction score
13
You know the passion thing is probably something you'll develop and not so much find. If you really immerse yourself in something then you'll be passionate about it. It sounds like you probably could carve your niche in either of those fields.

I stumbled into family medicine after not getting into emergency medicine, and I practice mostly urgent care and love it. Med school was tough but not any tougher than the dental school at UCLA from what my dental school friends would tell me.

My partner ended up doing dentistry and an anesthesia residency so she does in-office anesthesia of pediatric patients for oral surgeries. So what I'm saying that both fields can have great little niches.

As for prestige, I think you'll get over that after you've made one big mistake, gotten a lawsuit or killed a few patients due to error. Don't aim for the prestige, you'll regret it.

Income, I earned $430k working 55 hours a week in 2014 at Kaiser Permanente, a large HMO, and I loved, loved, loved the work I did. My buddy has 1 very large dental office in LA and he is probably taking home that much and works most mornings and has many associates. But, his stress level is perhaps higher because he is running his own business.

MCTA and DAT are standardized tests, they are both gonna take a lot of practice exams to do well on. I couldn't help you there, I suck at standardized tests and though medical school was emotionally really hard, it wasn't technically difficult and residency in medicine was cake. I went to UCLA for both.

Sometimes when a decision between 2 choices is really hard to make it's probably because they both can be great options. You're a smart person, you're here asking the right questions, I think you gonna be fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
Top