Aug 17, 2015
2
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Hi everyone! So, I've been set on the pre-dentistry path for awhile now. Unfortunately, one year ago, I developed a serious thoracic back issue (It's not degenerative but I'm being treated by a pain management specialist since it involves nerve pain in the thoracic and neck area). I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to practice. Am I honestly going to have to reevaluate my career over this? I really want to be a dentist and I'm really upset thinking that my back issues could have the possibility to put me out of it. I really have to figure this out pretty soon too because I'm going to have to apply soon.
 

studentdent00

2+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2014
598
465
Hi everyone! So, I've been set on the pre-dentistry path for awhile now. Unfortunately, one year ago, I developed a serious thoracic back issue (It's not degenerative but I'm being treated by a pain management specialist since it involves nerve pain in the thoracic and neck area). I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to practice. Am I honestly going to have to reevaluate my career over this? I really want to be a dentist and I'm really upset thinking that my back issues could have the possibility to put me out of it. I really have to figure this out pretty soon too because I'm going to have to apply soon.
If I had to pick three spots where I had felt some pain in my pre-clinical lab, it'd be 1) neck 2) back and 3) wrists, in the order of decreasing annoyance.
 

oralcare123

7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
1,677
721
Status
That is pretty serious, because dentists usually develop those problems over time.
The main concern is your ability to go through the dental school curriculum. You would have to spend hours practicing your preps, which would be very painful.
Another issue is your ability to work after school to pay off student loans. There are options of specializing in something less straining on your back - ortho? or just hire people to work in your own clinic. There may be issues with long term disability insuranse
You probably already spoke to your doctors about the prognosis. If they say it would only get worse - I would be careful going into dentistry, if they say it would stay the same with supportive therapy, it might be worth the risk. I do not want to be too pessimistic nor too optimistic - a lot depends on how much you want it
 
Jan 19, 2015
206
95
Unfortunately, one year ago, I developed a serious thoracic back issue
If the problem is serious, I would seriously reconsider doing dental. You don't want to be miserable every day when you come to work. Also, if it gets to the point where the pain is so bad, then you might not be able to practice anyway. At this point, you may need a career change, which will mean lots of wasted time on your end.
 
OP
P
Aug 17, 2015
2
0
Status
Pre-Dental
It's just really stressful because this is something I really want to do however, I don't want to end up not being able to practice (Again, it's not degenerative but it's just really painful with the nerve pain and all). That really is a worry of mine. Of course, I'm going to talk more about it with some other dentists but I wanted to get everyone's input here as well. I've read that Orthodontistry is not as stressful on the back... however, I know that aiming to get into that residency is not guaranteed because it's extremely competitive.
 

andreadds

DDS
May 16, 2015
270
84
Michigan
Hi everyone! So, I've been set on the pre-dentistry path for awhile now. Unfortunately, one year ago, I developed a serious thoracic back issue (It's not degenerative but I'm being treated by a pain management specialist since it involves nerve pain in the thoracic and neck area). I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to practice. Am I honestly going to have to reevaluate my career over this? I really want to be a dentist and I'm really upset thinking that my back issues could have the possibility to put me out of it. I really have to figure this out pretty soon too because I'm going to have to apply soon.
I'm a dentist and if I had to say my mid back hurts the most followed by my shoulders. Last being sciatic pain. The pain is horrible. I cant imagine having pain before even starting dentistry.
 
Dec 24, 2013
290
148
Status
Pre-Dental
I'm a dentist and if I had to say my mid back hurts the most followed by my shoulders. Last being sciatic pain. The pain is horrible. I cant imagine having pain before even starting dentistry.
Do you get PT or see a masseur/masseuse? I hear some do. How do you alleviate your pain?

I have chronic back pain, but exercise/stretching seems to help.
 
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Reactions: Predentdreamer
Feb 21, 2014
161
126
Status
Dental Student
I too have wondered about the pain of being a dentist. I have pretty severe scoliosis but it isn't associated with any pain thankfully. I just hope being a dentist won't exacerbate the curvature or lead to other problems
 
Nov 22, 2014
1,574
805
Status
Non-Student
It's just really stressful because this is something I really want to do however, I don't want to end up not being able to practice (Again, it's not degenerative but it's just really painful with the nerve pain and all). That really is a worry of mine. Of course, I'm going to talk more about it with some other dentists but I wanted to get everyone's input here as well. I've read that Orthodontistry is not as stressful on the back... however, I know that aiming to get into that residency is not guaranteed because it's extremely competitive.
Ask yourself if this pain will be there if you practice dentistry or not. If this is going to be a life-long thing, does it matter what you do for a job really? Working with a GOOD occupational therapist can help you with your posture and such so you can minimize any further pain/damage. Keeping fit and taking care of yourself will go a long way too.
 
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Reactions: Predentdreamer

andreadds

DDS
May 16, 2015
270
84
Michigan
Do you get PT or see a masseur/masseuse? I hear some do. How do you alleviate your pain?

I have chronic back pain, but exercise/stretching seems to help.
I have seen a masseuse when it's been bad. Sometimes 2x/week. Working out helps. The best for me is the inversion table.
 
Jan 21, 2014
199
174
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
lift weights, do pull ups. get MONSTER lats
 

Cello

7+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2011
1,179
1,432
Arizona
Status
Dental Student
One word, chiropractor.
Orthopedic surgeons love them!

Chiropractors, CrossFit, and podiatrists give orthopedic surgeons LOTS of business. :)


OP: I never had chronic back pain and I'm no expert, but the infrequent pain I used to get in my back from my laborious job pretty much disappeared once I became more serious about weight training.
 

oralcare123

7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2010
1,677
721
Status
I would prefer osteopath. Very strange experience, but pain was gone. They are trained two years more and do not do those "crackings" of bones
 

shendo

15+ Year Member
Mar 3, 2002
76
38
Another thing you need to consider is with your preexisting back issues, it will be alot harder to get a good disability insurance policy once you start working since they will ask you if you have any preexisting medical conditions.
 

romoxx23

CanDoIt12
5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2012
83
10
Hi everyone! So, I've been set on the pre-dentistry path for awhile now. Unfortunately, one year ago, I developed a serious thoracic back issue (It's not degenerative but I'm being treated by a pain management specialist since it involves nerve pain in the thoracic and neck area). I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to practice. Am I honestly going to have to reevaluate my career over this? I really want to be a dentist and I'm really upset thinking that my back issues could have the possibility to put me out of it. I really have to figure this out pretty soon too because I'm going to have to apply soon.
There is someone that comes to mind. Scott Leune (he suffers from a slipped disc I think and practiced for a bit and then did amazing things as a company), and Tuan Pham (dentalmaverick.com) he was able to create a practice that had low volume but high return in a saturated market. You can def still do it, but it will be tailoring a practice/creating a business model that will eventually do well enough for you to not have to work as many days/hours a week.