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Should i specialize?

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Biofilm preventer

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Hello, i am entering dental school this upcoming fall. I just want opinions on what you guys think. i am not sure if i do want to specialize, as it will cost alot more and even prolong the income that i will receive as a general dentist.

i am perfectly fine with being a general dentist, but i do have some interest in orthodontics or even OMFS, but again, im not to sure how badly i wanna pursue it as of now being that it will be around 6/7 years at least to enter a career in that instead of just 4 for a general dentist.

The main reason is becuase i am married with a child and i will have to earn money sooner rather than later, and by the time i finish dental school i do expect to have another kid. so that would mean 2 children before beginning any specialty training. But if i was single and wasnt supporting a family, i think i would be more set on specializing in either of those 2 careers.

What are your thoughts on my situation?
 

AppalachianDentalBoy

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I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Go to school, do well, see what you like, then make the choice.
 
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doc toothache

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Until graduation, there might enough water flowing under the bridge to carve out a Mini Grand Canyon.
 

Biofilm preventer

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I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Go to school, do well, see what you like, then make the choice.
So my dilemma is if i should be trying my absolute best in dental school and going through the stress of being top in my class. If i am just going for general dentistry, then i can just aim to pass and graduate
 

sobertiger

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OMFS is 8-10 years, not 6/7. I've asked residents and it's rough on the family, especially if you have kids. Not sure about ortho but I'm sure it's more forgiving.
 
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bracketbuster68

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So my dilemma is if i should be trying my absolute best in dental school and going through the stress of being top in my class. If i am just going for general dentistry, then i can just aim to pass and graduate
Ortho is awesome because it's a great lifestyle and the procedures are way easier than a lot of things in dentistry. To me, the stress in school was worth it. I find crown preps on 2nd molars more stressful than grades.
 
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anonymousdent

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do the best you can. you never know what you will want to do later. leave the door open for a specializing. most people coming in think they want to be an orthodontist or OMFS so you're not alone. I did too, (I wanted to do OMFS) but now I love endo. you never know what's going to happen to you. In my 4th year of Dschool I was convinced of becoming a "super GP" and owning 3 offices with associates. Now all I want is as few staff members as possible and minimal patient flow... endo checks those boxes for me plus I love the procedure. get good grades in school and open doors, don't close them. you wont regret it.
 
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Do the best that you can so that if you do decide on specializing .... you'll have the stats to gain admittance to a cheaper program or a stipend program. OMFS is on solid footing financially. Ortho is fine also IF ........ you graduate with low overall debt. What that level of debt is .... depends. Are you going rural or urban? You owe it to your family not to have life altering, debilitating debt service after graduation.
 
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Biofilm preventer

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Do the best that you can so that if you do decide on specializing .... you'll have the stats to gain admittance to a cheaper program or a stipend program. OMFS is on solid footing financially. Ortho is fine also IF ........ you graduate with low overall debt. What that level of debt is .... depends. Are you going rural or urban? You owe it to your family not to have life altering, debilitating debt service after graduation.
so ill be living completely 100% on student loans, so should be leaving with 400K with out interest included. plus undergrad so around 430K
 

2thDoc11

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so ill be living completely 100% on student loans, so should be leaving with 400K with out interest included. plus undergrad so around 430K
I feel like you should always aim to do the best you can regardless. What sort of dentist would you want working on you? The dentist who did bare minimum to pass or the one who was top of their class, paid attention to detail and wanted to do the best work that they could? Regardless of specialty.. Being in a field that deals with patients(often picky patients btw), I'd be afraid to practice knowing I could have performed better in school and absorbed more knowledge to better my practice and patient care.
 
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bracketbuster68

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I feel like you should always aim to do the best you can regardless. What sort of dentist would you want working on you? The dentist who did bare minimum to pass or the one who was top of their class, paid attention to detail and wanted to do the best work that they could? Regardless of specialty.. Being in a field that deals with patients(often picky patients btw), I'd be afraid to practice knowing I could have performed better in school and absorbed more knowledge to better my practice and patient care.
Patients want dentists with good personalities. For the majority of procedures, they don't know the difference between great work and clinically acceptable.
 
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Haha apparently which is a little disappointing.. But anyway I didn't mean to offend or argue with anyone, just my two cents..
The sad truth of the matter is that a lot of dentist out there will cut corners. It just comes down to what are you going to cut on? Doing the kind of work that you do in dental school (rubber dams all the time, multiple checks, ditching dies for crowns, waxing dentures) and the kind of work you do after graduation can differ greatly and you have to pay bills somehow. You have the burden of debt, mortgages, management and employees, plus the bs of insurance companies giving you 33 cents on the dollar makes production all the more important. Oh yeah, and being a people person for a type A personality dingus that says they brush their teeth when you know they haven't touched a toothbrush in months and wanting premium care for next to nothing. Also, there are plenty of people in school that are book smart, but terrible clinically. You will find that out when you go. Being a dentist is tough now.

For OP, just see what you like in school and keep your grades up. A lot of people specialize that didn't know they wanted to and vice versa. Best of luck!
 
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pubhealthdent

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Do the best you can - why would you want to waste all that money just to skate by?? Then in D2/D3 if you still think you'd like to specialize, you'll be in the position to do so
 

LaughingGas

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Not everyone will have the capability, but imo everyone should do their own best academically. Whatever you learn in dental school will be your foundation that you will almost never look back once you start practicing. As 2TH said, having good academic standing will help you get in into programs that have stipends instead of having to pay another 100k per year. Even if you decide not to, imo , one should ethically learn the best they can to provide the best care to the patients.
 

shendo

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do the best you can. you never know what you will want to do later. leave the door open for a specializing. most people coming in think they want to be an orthodontist or OMFS so you're not alone. I did too, (I wanted to do OMFS) but now I love endo. you never know what's going to happen to you. In my 4th year of Dschool I was convinced of becoming a "super GP" and owning 3 offices with associates. Now all I want is as few staff members as possible and minimal patient flow... endo checks those boxes for me plus I love the procedure. get good grades in school and open doors, don't close them. you wont regret it.
like others have mentioned, do your best and try to keep your grades up. i always thought i would be a super gp, but after 10 years of working as a gp, i ended up applying and getting accepted for endo residency. thankfully, i had kept my grades up during dental school which helped for my acceptance.
 
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