jjash

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Jul 18, 2007
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1) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military and into the private sector because you have experience with insurance?

2) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military because you do not learn and refine your techniques when talking/schmoozing patients?

3) Did you start a family while in the military and how did the military affect your family?

4) Did you get to gain that confidence and speed that everyone says you should learn the first 5 years out of dental school?

5) Do you have any regrets about joining?

Thank you to anyone that takes the time to answer my questions.

Regards
 

Lifetime2Drill

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
49
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Dental Student
1) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military and into the private sector because you have experience with insurance?

It is not difficult to learn the ins and outs of insurance. This is a secondary concern.

2) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military because you do not learn and refine your techniques when talking/schmoozing patients?

Army docs do, in fact, TALK to their patients when treating them. I don't know where you got this misconception that they do not.

3) Did you start a family while in the military and how did the military affect your family?

See "Ask an Army Dentist"

4) Did you get to gain that confidence and speed that everyone says you should learn the first 5 years out of dental school?

Why wouldn't you? You do not work twice as slow just because you can. True you aren't under the gun to perform as fast as possible, but speed comes with practice.

5) Do you have any regrets about joining?

Thank you to anyone that takes the time to answer my questions.

Regards
Not be rude, and I'm entitled to my opinion, but I do not like the tone of your questions. It seems that your reasons for joining (or considering joining) are much different from mine. I go to OSU too btw, and I think I know which 'group' you belong to.
 

jjash

10+ Year Member
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Jul 18, 2007
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Thanks for answering my questions. Sorry I came off that way. After reading my questions, I can see what you're saying. No disrespect but joining the military will affect my life for years to come. I just want to ask straight forward questions to make sure it's whats best for me, my family and my skill.
 
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NAVY DDS 2010

Not be rude, and I'm entitled to my opinion, but I do not like the tone of your questions. It seems that your reasons for joining (or considering joining) are much different from mine. I go to OSU too btw, and I think I know which 'group' you belong to.
Lifetime, I know you are entitled to your own opinions, but personally I think you are the one here who has an issue. If you don't like the questions being asked, you have no reason to respond. You have had only 8 other posts prior to this one, but your responses come across as if you have been at this forever and have answered these questions over and over again. For the sake of things here in the Military Dental forum, please chill out. The questions by the OP did not have a bad tone to them at all. They were legit questions from a person who those questions seemed to be legit concerns to them. Now, the OP could have had most of the questions answered for them if they just spent the time searching the mildent forum, but in no way did the questions have a negative tone. The only negative tone was yours!

On that note .... for the OP:

1. No, a dentist coming from the military will not be at a disadvantage compared to a person going right into a private practice right out of dental school. if anything, they will be at an advantage because when coming out of d-school you are thrown in with the wolves and have to figure a lot of things out right away in addition to having to perfect your dental skills. When you come out of the military, you will have had 3 to 4 years minimum to get your skills up to par, will have learned how to run a dental office, how to handle dental staff, etc. There will be a lot of things that you will not have to worry about learning once converting to a private practice. So, learning how to deal with insurance will be minor compared to what you would have had to learn real quickly had you not joined the military at all. Now, coming from the military to the civilian side may be frustrating for a while since you will now have to deal with insurance since you will have never had to deal with it in the military. It may be frustrating to know that you may not be able to just do what you need to do for the patient since the insurance may not cover it or the patients just don't have the money to pay for it. Not may cause a little disservice coming out of the military into a civilian practice, but it won't be a problem learning how to deal with insurance as you ask.

2. Where do you get your idea from about talking to patients and how it will differ from the military and civilian perspectives? How a dentist talks to their patients has nothing to do with whether they are military or civilian. It has to do with the dentist's personality. So, there should be no disadvantage between going from d-school to a private practice as compared to going from military into a private practice.

3. There is no reason to put your family goals aside just because you are in the military. Anyone who wants a family starts a family - whether that be in d-school, in the military or once they get out of the military. I know of an AF dentist that had 4 kids by the time he finished dental school. Then he had two more by the time he finished his endodontic residency. So, he had 6 kids. He is extremely close to his family and doesn't let military life change how he looks at his desire to have a loving family.

Now, being in the military does have its negative sides when dealing with a family. There are deployments that do SUCK! Plain and simple. If you love your family, then any time you are away from them you hate it. But, everyone deals with it and adjusts. It gets easier to deal with being away from them. You don't like it any more than you did, but you learn that this is just what you have to do and accept it as it is. Plus, you have to move around every couple years. Some families truly enjoy getting to live somewhere new every few years and others hate it. What will it be like for you? Only you can say how it will affect your family life since we all react differently.

4. There is a big difference in having the confidence and speed at performing dental procedures and being forced to perform at the speeds I think you implying to. In the military, you aren't always forced to perform at speeds you might in a civilian practice. Therefore, it is a preconceived notion that people in the military let their skills go down because they aren't forced to perform at the levels that you are in a civilian practice. Confidence comes with practice and how you feel you perform the skills needed to be a competent dentist in all aspects of dentistry. As you become more confident, your ability to perform at higher speeds will come. Now, once you gain the confidence and speed, it is up to you on how you use that confidence and speed to your advantage. Personally, I know that once I get back into the fleet after d-school, I will do the best I can at the fastest speeds I feel I can do excellent dentistry. Personally, I feel that you will gain more confidence in the military in those first 5 years after d-school because you aren't forced to gain the confidence in order to meet financial goals - either set by you or your boss. When you are forced to meet financial goals, you are more prone to make shortcuts or lean towards unnecessary treatments which you don't have to deal with in the military.

5. regrets - everyone has their own reason for joining. I am a 4th generation sailor. I enjoy the Navy life. I had initially planned on doing my 4 years and getting out just so I could say "I served my country". I personally feel every US citizen should be required to serve, but since it is not a requirement I feel proud to say I am serving my country and giving away some of my freedoms to help maintain everyone's freedom. After being in, I began to really enjoy certain aspects of military life and have decided to retire from the military in 2028 at my goal age of retiring of 55. Now, if you are in this only for the money, then I highly suggest NOT joining since I know a lot of people who have become disgruntled because they really didn't know what they were getting themselves into when all they saw was the initial $$$$$ and lack of school debt in the end. There are plenty of sacrifices that you will have to make in the military. At times it sucks to deal with it. But, if you join the military because you truly want to serve your country, most likely you have thought military life out ahead of time and will not regret joining.
 
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jjash

10+ Year Member
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Jul 18, 2007
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Thanks a lot Navy DDS. I appreciate the response.
 

AFDDS

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Jul 23, 2008
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Lackland AFB, TX
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Dentist
1) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military and into the private sector because you have experience with insurance?

No. I've been in private practice and now the AF. Insurance is and easy process to learn. Any company's insurance you accept will provide some training for you if you request it.

2) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military because you do not learn and refine your techniques when talking/schmoozing patients?

Again, no. I love practicing dentistry in the AF. It was OK in private practice, because you have to worry about bills and "did I produce enough today?". I get to spend plenty of time getting to know my patients and many times get to interact with them outside the dental setting.

3) Did you start a family while in the military and how did the military affect your family?

Yes. Only in a good way. I've visited bases all over the world and I have had the opportunity to do things because I was in the military, that I would never have had the opportunity to do in private practice. I was able to complete a 2-year residency while still getting paid.

4) Did you get to gain that confidence and speed that everyone says you should learn the first 5 years out of dental school?

Yes

5) Do you have any regrets about joining?

I wish HPSP would have available when I was in school, but the AF wasn't offering then. I also wish I would've just joined right out of school instead of spending 2 years in private practice. No regrets since I joined.

Thank you to anyone that takes the time to answer my questions.

Regards
You are always going to find some that love their experience and some that don't. Military life isn't compatible with everyone. As far as dentistry goes, you won't find a better way to get your start and/or a better career if you so choose.
 

Lifetime2Drill

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
49
1
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Dental Student
I sometimes shoot my mouth off and I apologize. I'll defer any answers to more level-headed members.
 
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umkcdds

Army OMS
10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2005
357
4
Fort Campbell, KY
Status
i think his question #2 is referring to the fact that private practice dentists spend time "selling" their treatment to patients - especially in the cosmetic areas and the areas of crown/bridge/elective treatments.

yes, you would be at a disadvantage in this area, since military patients don't pay for treatment, and there is very little cosmetic work done and it is almost exclusively done by specialists.
 

jmcalli

10+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2008
13
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www.facebook.com
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Dentist
1) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military and into the private sector because you have experience with insurance?
Not sure because I never joined the private sector.

2) Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage coming out of the military because you do not learn and refine your techniques when talking/schmoozing patients?
No. I always talked to my patients and answered their questions.

3) Did you start a family while in the military and how did the military affect your family?
Yes. Military physicians saved the life of my oldest son when he nearly hemorrhaged to death from Crohns. Now he is in his senior year of medical school. Middle son is an electrical engineer. Youngest is a musician. All traveled with me to overseas duty stations and have experience in foreign cultures.

4) Did you get to gain that confidence and speed that everyone says you should learn the first 5 years out of dental school?
I'm as fast as I want to be. Factors limiting speed are patient tolerance and dental assistant skill. When the patient experiences "rough" treatment that's a potential problem.

5) Do you have any regrets about joining?
Yes.

Thank you to anyone that takes the time to answer my questions.

Regards
 
N

NAVY DDS 2010

Jmcalli, You regret joining the military? Why, if you don't mind explaining for the sake of individuals here who are trying to make a decision on whether the military is right for them. Based on your responses from questions 1-4, I would have thought you would have said you didn't regret it. then comes question 5, and you regret your decision. Cold you please expand so we know the circumstances that led to you regretting joining the military. Thanks.
 

jmcalli

10+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2008
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Dentist
I have mixed feelings. I began my military career as a line officer, so that's where my values developed. I later embarked on a dental corps career after putting myself through dental school. I initially enjoyed it, but at the end of my career I barely recognized it and I no longer fit in.

Promotions were problematic. I saw cowardly, unethical officers promoted while excellent, dedicated officers were passed over and forced to retire. The senior grades became a repository of selfish, back-stabbing officers who rose in grade because they would do anything to be promoted. Integrity, moral courage, and dedication to quality became rare virtues. More officers became self-centered, rather than service-centered.

I retired a couple of years ago and no dental officers came to my retirement, so I guess I called it right.

If I had it to do over again I think I would have avoided the career altogether. But hope springs eternal, and you never know what the future will bring. I do believe that military personnel and their families deserve the finest health care the country can provide. That's the main reason I'm still working at it, although I am no longer on active duty.
 

desert rat

general dentist
10+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2008
93
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Dentist
I served 8 years as an enlisted man before going to dental school and serving as a dental officer. I was dissabled out of the military at the 10 year mark. There is not a day in my life that I don't miss the military.

Far many of us the military is in our blood and we can never lose it. My father was a career officer as well (not a dentist). Retirement from the military is so hard because all you know is a way of life that you never get back. Civilian life is just not as exciting.

I look at dentistry in the military as doing an apprentice. When you first start you are a junior ranking officer and stuff flows downhill to you. As you have been in you grow in rank and life gets easier and better. With rank also comes responsibility and competition. For higher ranks 0-6 and above it becomes somewhat political and you need to have your punchard full. You can't be the best friend of a subordinate. I knew some people that retired as a major in the Army because they did not do all the things to make them competative for promotion. They need to do the residency, the advanced military training, combat medic badge, air assult training, airborn training, and overseas deployment.
 

penguinteeth

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I have mixed feelings. I began my military career as a line officer, so that's where my values developed. I later embarked on a dental corps career after putting myself through dental school. I initially enjoyed it, but at the end of my career I barely recognized it and I no longer fit in.

Promotions were problematic. I saw cowardly, unethical officers promoted while excellent, dedicated officers were passed over and forced to retire. The senior grades became a repository of selfish, back-stabbing officers who rose in grade because they would do anything to be promoted. Integrity, moral courage, and dedication to quality became rare virtues. More officers became self-centered, rather than service-centered.

I retired a couple of years ago and no dental officers came to my retirement, so I guess I called it right.

If I had it to do over again I think I would have avoided the career altogether. But hope springs eternal, and you never know what the future will bring. I do believe that military personnel and their families deserve the finest health care the country can provide. That's the main reason I'm still working at it, although I am no longer on active duty.
UGLY POLITICS :thumbdown:
 

2GOODHANDS

10+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2008
4
1
Status
Dentist
No matter what branch you join, just keep in mind one thing. You are a Dentist, nothing more. Regardless who you serve with, don't get any silly ideas that somehow once you put on the uniform, you transform into a grunt/ground combat gunfighter, toting an M16 all over Iraq... you won't become a pilot or physician, or be a ship driver. We are just dentists.

Try keeping this in mind when deciding what branch to join. If you like being on the speartip of action, join the Navy. If you prefer "sitting in the rear with the gear", join the Air Force. If you prefer being exposed to ground combat and camping out, join the Army. All of them have pluses and minuses. Personally, I'd go Air Force. They have one uniform, and won't treat you like a ground combatant. The Navy might have warm water ports, but they have ships you will have to ride on for two year tours. The Air Force and Army don't own any ships that you have to man.

Either way, you won't be doing any shooting, security or walking patrols with the ground combatants. Toughest thing might be figuring out where to sit in the Chow Hall or the Officers' Mess on the ship. Forget all that romantic crap. You will only be dentists, aka "riders", not players, and that just about sums it up - nothing else. A military dentists' life? If you end up finding yourself in harms' way, you did it to yourself. Be careful what you wish for, sometimes you really will get it.

Anyone else tells you anything else is just blowing smoke. I know, because I've done the enlisted and officer sides spanning decades. We are just dentists - rinse, lather, repeat. There are controlling people who think they are Marines or soldiers, but again these are the yahoos who have enormous egos playing "wannabe". They piss off everyone around them constantly, and they are a drag on morale.

"Relax, this is a nice safe foxhole".

Sgt Stryer
aka John Wayne
"The Sands of Iowa Jima"
 

DrEagleMike

10+ Year Member
May 15, 2008
149
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Dental Student
Is it true that after 3-4 years of active duty, you match 3-4 years of inactive duty? if so, you could just start to get your practice in order along with a steady flow of patients and finally getting your home/family all comfortable but then all of a sudden get a letter in the mail to deploy for a couple of years. How do military dentist deal with that? I'm really interested in the military and would love to serve my country during 4 years of contracted time but i'm not to sure about what may happen afterwards. Can someone fill me in? thanks.
 

AFDDS

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Jul 23, 2008
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Lackland AFB, TX
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Dentist
Is it true that after 3-4 years of active duty, you match 3-4 years of inactive duty? if so, you could just start to get your practice in order along with a steady flow of patients and finally getting your home/family all comfortable but then all of a sudden get a letter in the mail to deploy for a couple of years. How do military dentist deal with that? I'm really interested in the military and would love to serve my country during 4 years of contracted time but i'm not to sure about what may happen afterwards. Can someone fill me in? thanks.
Your initial commitment to the military is 8 years. If you sign up for 4 years on active duty, you will spend 4 years in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve). 3 years on AD + 5 years IRR = 8.

This shouldn't be a big concern. The AF hasn't ever called anyone up from IRR and I wouldn't expect it to happen anytime soon.
 

krmower

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Jul 23, 2008
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Your initial commitment to the military is 8 years. If you sign up for 4 years on active duty, you will spend 4 years in the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserve). 3 years on AD + 5 years IRR = 8.

This shouldn't be a big concern. The AF hasn't ever called anyone up from IRR and I wouldn't expect it to happen anytime soon.
Army has never had anyone from the IRR called up either.
 

DrReo

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Flipper405

"Excessive" flosser
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I guess if the war ends up in our backyard, that could easily change, per my recruiter. . .
going to have to agree with this... who knows what will happen in the next 8-12 years
 
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