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Medicine Vs. Dentistry: Give It Your Best Shot

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by sunmoon6689, Sep 28, 2006.

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  1. sunmoon6689

    sunmoon6689 5+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    I have been struggling to decide between the fields of Dentistry and Medicine. I was wondering if people could give me their honest opinions regarding the positives and negatives of each profession. I do not intend for this to be a bashing session of one profession or another, but instead a respectable debate regarding two great career options. I would appreciate all constructive feedback. Thank you very much.
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Medicine allows you to choose amongst a lot more orifices in which to specialize -- dentistry is limited to but one. Need I say more?:D
    iforget2 and GolfUSA like this.
  4. somemaybedoc

    somemaybedoc ms0 7+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    I don't know how many here have considered dentistry. I hate the idea of looking in mouths all day.
  5. novawildcat

    novawildcat Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    I never understood why dentists are not grouped in with medical doctors. Your mouth and teeth are just another part of the body. Oral surgeons spend just as much time going to school and doing training as other surgeons.

    positive for dentist- you probably work a fairly consistent schedule, don't have to work weekends or holidays.

    negative for dentist- you will rarely, if ever, get to save someone's life

    positive for doctor- higher salaries are obtainable. get to use much more advanced technology. relocating is probably easier.

    negative for doctor- i'm guessing higher insurance premiums, being sued a lot more, and irregular schedules.
  6. kenmc3

    kenmc3 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    I am a second year med student and I chose medicine because I have absolutely no interest in being a dentist. I would actually be interested in being an oral surgeon but you must go through 4 years of dental school first and I don’t think it would interest me enough. My father in law is a dentist and he really doesn’t have much interest in medicine. So everyone has their own personal preferences. I think that if you are interested in medicine and dentistry, maybe oral surgery would be a good choice for you.

    I think it really comes down to what you want to do on a daily basis – if you want to deal with the mouth – go with dentistry – but if you want to deal with other parts of the body – go with medicine.

    The positives of dentistry are the negatives of medicine and vice-versa.

    + More earning potential in some specialties
    + Dealing with more than just the mouth

    + Done in 4 years (no residency) and start making $150k
    + Average dentist makes more than most primary care docs
    + Better lifestyle (easier hours) and little call
    + Less litigation
  7. FutrNEUROsurgn

    FutrNEUROsurgn Banned Banned

    Sep 28, 2006
    Yes you need.
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    More is better. It's good to have options.
  9. FutrNEUROsurgn

    FutrNEUROsurgn Banned Banned

    Sep 28, 2006
    Are you sure? Is it better to have more CANCER?
  10. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    If you don't know the answer to that, you are more of a troll than I suspect...
  11. FutrNEUROsurgn

    FutrNEUROsurgn Banned Banned

    Sep 28, 2006
    You said and i quote "MORE IS BETTER" end quote. I merely stated a case where you are wrong. The question was rhetorical and if you didnt know that then i would consider taking an ESL class.
  12. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    The good trolls don't get outed within their first couple of posts...:rolleyes:
    ortnakas likes this.
  13. Mister Pie

    Mister Pie Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    The biggest benefit of being a dentist is that the hours are MUCH better and that the pay is still very good. And honestly, the work of a dentist can still be pretty meaningful... anyone who says otherwise obviously hasn't had dental problems before.

    *Plans on going to med school
  14. Chuckwalla

    Chuckwalla Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Very few dentists are salaried employees so you have to handle the business end as well. Personally I have zero interest in the business part so dentistry isn't for me.

    Also people hate seeing a dentist for the most part since they mostly do checkups and fillings, things that aren't urgent. Though sometimes you get that killer toothache and there is no one you would rather see. Usually when someone sees a doctor they feel like crap and are quite happy to see you.

    Also if you really can't decide (and you absolutely hate yourself), Case Western offers the MD/DMD program a medical and dental degree at the same time.
  15. jstuds_66

    jstuds_66 Free cat to a good home 5+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Although dentistry would probably offer a schedule more condusive to what I want, I hate dentists (in general not as individuals). I guess I've had one to many cavities filled (or 12)!!! I always leave their offices owing a lot of money and in pain.

    Medicine on the other has usually made me feel better because I could actually understand what my problem was and how it was going to be fixed. All I had to pay was the $10 office copay and $8 Rx copay.

    Pain + $$$$$$$$$$$(cost) = Dentistry = BAD
    :) + Little$ + Understanding = Medicine = GOOD
  16. LodiDodi

    LodiDodi Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2006
    I shadowed a dentist before deciding to go into medicine, so heres my experience with both fields

    1st of all, the doctor who I shadow told me to go into dentistry if I wanted to go for the money, because even though it seems like you dont make as much as a dentist, you do when hours and trouble with patients are considered

    2nd I like dentists, mine is nice and makes my teeth feel nice. I have friends in dentistry school and they are really cool people. However, BEING a dentist is so ungodly meticulous and routine I think I would kill myself if I had to do it for the rest of my life. Which I guess makes sense b/c as a career dentistry has the highest suicide rate.

    So basically, I would suggest shadowing both careers and then deciding -you might like being a dentist.
    and if you hate both, become an actuary
  17. zbruinz

    zbruinz Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    so what if one wasn't good at the business aspect, would dentistry be less of a match?
  18. Chuckwalla

    Chuckwalla Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Aye, most dentists are in solo practices. Those that aren't are in a patnership with other dentist. So needless to say there isn't some big employer you can work for.

    That said if being a dentist is something you really want to be, go for it. You will find a way to make it work. This should be more of an issue for people on the fence.
  19. DrHuang

    DrHuang SDN Donor 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  20. zbruinz

    zbruinz Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2006
  21. phospho

    phospho SDN Lifetime Donor Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    Columbus, OH
    you're over two years late in your reply;)
  22. Chemdude

    Chemdude 7+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Has anyone else noticed that the OP is a pharmacy student now? lol:laugh:
  23. moto_za

    moto_za Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    lol lol
  24. funkymunkytoes

    funkymunkytoes 2+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2008
  25. funkymunkytoes

    funkymunkytoes 2+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2008
    "You're a rabid anti-dentite!!!"

    Gets me every time.
  26. 202781


    May 6, 2008
    Both are serve a purpose in our society...


    Dentistry = Boring, the world could do without it
    Medicine = interesting, the world absolutely needs it.

  27. beachblonde

    beachblonde 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2007
    Hmmm. It wasn't too long ago the Post had an article about a child who had an infected tooth, and because he was on Medicaid he didn't have any dental insurance. Hence, he ignored the toothache. Turns out it was a bad idea, as the bacteria got not only into his bloodstream, but also into his CSF. He died shortly thereafter from severe meningitis.

    There have been a variety of studies showing that dental health is often very much reflective of a person's overall health. Saying "the world could do without it" is not true. If you don't have teeth, how would you recommend chewing your food?

    I never had an interest in becoming a dentist, but I would never harass somebody who chose to go into the field, other than to joke about golfing on Fridays!
  28. 202781


    May 6, 2008
    I think doctors could take over for dentists...but I dont think that the reverse is true.
  29. airplanes

    airplanes Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full. 7+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    The Danger Zone
    I don't.
  30. 229141


    Oct 21, 2008
    Honestly dentistry just doesn't interest. Now..making their salary and working their hours certainly interests me...but I have no desire to do that type of work everyday for my career. Being a doc will give you less of a social life than most people and be harder in a lot of ways, but at the end of the days its important you have a job you're passionate about
  31. fish89

    fish89 2+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2008
    No offense to the dentists out there, but dentistry just seems something you would do if you want a stable 9-5 job with a good income. It doesn't seem stimulating, it's not something really intellectually exciting, etc. On the other hand, I wouldn't know! And what would we do without our dentists...

    Medicine is a totally different field. There is a lot more time/education commitment, and a large variety of things to do with an MD. For me, medicine is appealing because it is a profession about people - caring for people - the beauty of the human body - biology - and also has an intellectually stimulating side - research, basic science, etc. Both professions have different challenges, require different types of thinking, and even different types of skills (eg. medicine - long hours, ability to deal with death, certain specialized critical thinking skills eg. evaluating multiple symptoms. dentistry - I heard that dentists need to be able to "read their patients' personalities" in order to know how to suggest certain treatments... etc.)

    So basically, in my opinion, if you want a 9-5 job that will get you through life, do dentistry. If you really like medicine for its intellectual/service-oriented aspects, then do medicine. Otherwise, why waste the best years of your life studying to do something you're not passionate about? I don't think that I was ever able to really say why I wanted to do medicine until I actually tried it out - did international missions trips translating Spanish for doctors, shadowing doctors, and volunteering. That's what doing all the extracurricular stuff is about - probing what profession is really right for you, and finding what you're passionate about. If you can't decide, then try shadowing dentists, doctors, and volunteering. Why commit your life to something if you don't "really" know? Life shouldn't just be lived, also enjoyed.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  32. Isoprop

    Isoprop Fascinating, tell me more 5+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2007
    i disagree. medicine and dentistry are very similar in terms of education, training, and practice (obviously not scope of practice, but the way they practice). and to say that dentistry isn't a "profession about people" is quite biased. dentists, the good ones anyway, aren't just concerned with your oral health but your health in general. their just specialized much like how optho is specialized with eyes and cards is specialized with the heart.
  33. nydds25

    nydds25 2+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    You are so ill informed about dentistry it is disturbing.
  34. VneZonyDostupa

    VneZonyDostupa PGY-4 (ID Fellow) 7+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2007

    Psssst...unless you explain your accusation, it makes you look as ignorant and biased as the person you are attacking. Just a tip.
  35. JeetKuneDo

    JeetKuneDo 7+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 2008
    I don't blame the poster; I don't really know much about dentistry either. But, I would say dentists are quite necessary in society.
  36. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    Dentistry is for failed pre-meds.

  37. From the rehab sci guy!

    Bumping this thread from a week and a half ago because hell, it's already been bumped from a two-year slumber. Thought's crossed my mind more than once, especially given my not-so-encouraging app cycle for MDland here in Texas this year.
  38. WannaBePreMed

    WannaBePreMed 7+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2008
    Lol you're a pharm student deciding between dentistry and medicine :laugh:

    Anyway I think that you're looking in the wrong place. If you're posting on the pre-med forum of SDN then you're going to get bias information and vice-versa.

    -Better hours.
    -Less pressure on the job.
    -Great pay.

    -More hours.
    -Depending on your specialty more pressure.
    -Better Pay
    -More Competitive.

    There's a trade off between pay and work load.

    Go shadow some doctors and dentists :thumbup:
  39. Bartelby

    Bartelby 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    Dentistry has a shorter training time, better hours than a lot of specialties, and good pay. If you are just interested in lifestyle dentistry is probably the better choice.

    The various MD specialties often require significantly more training and can have more intense hours (which is a hit to the "lifestyle" factor). For me though the thought of hanging out in an ER for twelve hours taking on whatever comes through the door or starting a psychiatric practice where I help people work through their deepest issues on a daily basis sounds way more interesting than helping people keep their teeth healthy. If you would really rather be doing MD work, you might not be happy as a dentist. I don't think I would be.
  40. CountinCavities

    CountinCavities 2+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2009

    Dentist: Death From Tooth Infection Preventable

    by Gigi Barnett
    PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) ― [​IMG] Click to enlarge 12-year-old Deamonte Driver died from an infection that started as a toothache. (WJZ) WJZ
    1 of 2

    [​IMG] Click to enlarge Deamonte Driver dies from toothache. CBS
    2 of 2

    Close [​IMG]

    numSlides of totalImages

    Dentists say the recent death of a Prince George's County boy who died from a tooth infection could have been prevented, but many parents don't know where or how to get help.

    Many Maryland children don't get to go to the dentist, and for 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, missing visits became deadly last week when a tooth infection spread to his brain.

    "The brain is not that far away from the teeth. You have teeth right here and brain right here. It's not that far for bacteria to spread to other tissues," said Dr. Norman Tinanoff, Univ. of Maryland Dental School.

    A rare death that Dr. Tinanoff says could have been prevented, even though the family's Medicaid had lapsed.

    "Most dentists who would see a child in pain would treat a child no matter whether they're reimbursed or not reimbursed," he said.

    To find that dentist, most families go to the dental school or public clinics, but Tinanoff says in Maryland, there are too many patients and not enough denists, especially now that parents are hearing about Deamonte's death.

    "My thoughts were to make sure she was always on time for appointments and that she would have her routine checkups so that nothing like that could happen to my child," said Martina Jones.

    Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease nationwide and kids who don't have dental insurance are twice as likely to develop cavities, but they're far less likely to get the treatment they need. Doctors say that's in part because many parents don't know how to cut through the Medicaid red tape.

    "There are huge barriers for poor parents. That's one thing we have to look at. We have to make it easier for them to access care," Dr. Tinanoff said.

    Click here for more information about access to adequate dental care.
  41. mtnman12

    mtnman12 5+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    I have talked to a few doctors who have volunteered abroad and said the one thing they wish they could do is pull teeth. It changes someone's life instantly, so both professions are very important and I think significantly improve someone's life.
  42. binko

    binko At home I want you to call me Dr. Marvin. 7+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    I heard somewhere completely unverifiable that dentists have the highest suicide rate of any advanced profession. I don't know whether this is attributed to it attracting those prone to suicide, or making otherwise sane people suicidal after they begin training.

    But here's something to help you ponder:
  43. binko

    binko At home I want you to call me Dr. Marvin. 7+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2009
    It's true!
  44. tdittyx2x3

    tdittyx2x3 7+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    The last figure I saw showed that medicine actually has more suicides than dentistry, which if you think about it actually makes more sense.
  45. dw2158

    dw2158 2+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2008

    i'm pretty sure there are also more doctors than dentists. per capita information is more telling.
  46. birkenbeiner

    birkenbeiner Banned

    Mar 30, 2009
    hey could someone tell me more about case western's md/dmd program? Is it more competitive than their md program alone or less competitive? What is their match list like? what % of their students are going to become general dentists after graduation(perhaps thats the program's intention but I am sure most students who do this program are still interested in medicine)?
  47. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    I have no first hand knowledge but I would guess that the program would tend to funnel grads into ENT (ear, nose & throat) and then head & neck cancer fellowships to prepare physician/dentists who can treat the mouth and other anatomy of the head/neck in a holistic way.
  48. shnuffles

    shnuffles 2+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Interesting about the MD/DMD. Haven't read all the posts so hoping this hasn't already been discussed to ridiculous lengths, but what kind of a career would that set someone up for? I don't know much of anything about dentistry or oral surgery...would it somehow combine these two?
  49. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet 10+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    oral/maxillofacial surgery.
  50. tdittyx2x3

    tdittyx2x3 7+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    The statistic I saw was per capita. Something around 3 per 1000 doctors and 2 per 1000 dentists.

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