reasons for being a dentist

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May 23, 2002
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Hello all,

I would like to know why some of you decided to persue the DDS instead of another medical degree. I am a DO (radiologist) and never really considered another avenue of medicine. I have a young friend that I have been counseling (apparently unsucessfully) to go to medical school. I enjoy what I do and am naturally biased toward my profession and not against the DDS. I just don't know if the reasons he gives are valid or not; maybe you guys can help. I really wish him the best, but I just want him to make an informed decision and not regret it later. I personally think it could be a great job. Seems like low stress low call, own your own business, and the added bonus of being able to talk to your patients without them talking back! ( boy how I wish for that sometimes!) These are his reasons he gives for going the DDS way:

1) easier than medical school (this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me)

2) fewer years of training until you make "real money" he wants to start a family and thinks he will be able to start being a dentist right out of dental school and make money to support a family

3) he figures his family dentist grosses 2million a year: he states he has a mansion and another house as well. I personally have no idea how much a dentist makes.

4) a lot fewer hours than DO/MD. He thinks he will have more time to spend with family.

5) easier post graduate training (fewer hours)

6) he states he thinks it would be fun to be a general dentist. ( do most people going for the DDS want to be generalists? Or do many want to specialize? what are the pros and cons of each. I told him that maybe it would be better and more challenging to be an oral surgeon.

Any information that you guys can supply would be great! I have always been kind of ignorant of the medical education of the future DDS, this should help me as well!

Heres to more cross degree exchange of information.



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Jul 24, 2002
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If there is one thing I noticed, a lot of my classmates at my dental school have a close relative who is a dentist. I myself came from a family of dentists. Perhaps it's familial influence-- After being exposed to the profession all your life it might seem natural to consider it a top choice to go into.

Personally I don't think dental school is any less work than med school. If anything, I felt the first 2 years are harder. In addition to all the basic science courses you share with the meds like Gross, Histo, Biochem etc., you have to take dental lab and technique courses which are very time consuming.

Your young friend is right that the financial rewards and the ability to practice right after graduation and licensure are good incentives. The average new dentist fresh out of school can expect to pull in about $100K a year. He is dead wrong on the easier hours though-- My sister, a second-year dentist who was licensed in 2000, works 60-hour weeks. New dentists trying to break into the market (usually by doing associateships) are the ones who bear the heaviest burden and the pressure to produce. PG training also is no cakewalk.

Oromaxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) is a great specialty to go into, but that is only if you are willing to stay in school for another 6 years. Many dentists fresh out of dental school shy away from going into OMFS because they want to start making money right away. This is especially true of those who got into dental school relatively late in their lives (late 20s).

Personally I'm going to go into general practice because you do as many different kinds of procedures as you are comfortable with. The thing is when one specializes one is limited to performing procedures particular to that specialty and I think that might get kind of boring. General dentists can do any procedures they are comfortable with, but the caveat is that when doing procedures that a specialist does like endo for example, the GP is held to the same standards.

I'm looking forward to joining the profession in 2 years (hopefully). :D