Apr 18, 2010
Hello all,

So I currently teach high school science and have for the last 6 years. It is the toughest job you'll ever love. Last year drove me to pursue Dentistry after thinking about it for years. I hope to get accepted this cycle but I am stressing out with leaving teaching. I hope a few practicing dentists can help me with their experiences.

1. Does Dentistry feel more like a great way to help people or a great way to make a good income?

2. In general, are the days all the same? People say this about teaching, that 5 times a day you are doing the same thing. I disagree with teaching because you really are teaching students not a subject. Is it similar with patients?

3. What percentage of your dentist friends are really happy with their lives as dentists. I am concerned about the stress of running a business, physical stress on my hands and back (I get tendinitis in my hands just from typing and writing), and stress of monotony.

Thanks for your time.


10+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2006
If you love helping people and love your current job, why not just stay put?

Teacher's pay/benefit aren't bad for 9 months of work and you get to retire with lavish pension and incredible benefit with just 14 more years of service. With dentistry, you're starting over with 4 years of school then spending the next 10 years paying off a few hundred thousands $$$ school debt, building up your practice, paying off a few more hundred $$$ practice debt, contributing to your own retirement, responsible for your own health insurance, while paying through the nose in taxes if you're somewhat successful. After that 14 years, would you rather have the option to retire forever on a lavish public union pension with healthcare for life, or would you rather be a dentist for life? I once worked for GM and had I knew about all the benefits and continued to work for GM instead of getting this advanced degree, I'd be retired now at under 40 years old!

1. In general you're here to make good income, because any field can claim to help people.
2. You pick what you like to do, and so you do as much or as little as you like if you are the boss of your practice. There are no boring days yet for me after 10 years.
3. Yes there's the real stress of business, employees, overheads, taxes, regulations, debts, lawsuits, insurance and IRS audit, PITA denture patients, extraction complication, calcified root canal, backache, headache, shoulder ache, embezzement, etc. You mentioned you have tendinitis so I honestly can't recommend you enter this field.
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10+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2008
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
The way things are going; at best you cannot count on a public pension of any substance by the time you retire... at worst; the public teaching profession will be no more.

It seems like dentistry will have more stability in the future, while maybe the current brick and mortar model is going away.


Flood Damage
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 2, 2008
Dental Student
Being out of school for six years is a long time to go before dental school. Why not take a couple classes and see if you really want to be a student at college level, and even a professional level. Dental school is probably a lot more academically demanding than teaching high school science, with less time to take off for yourself. It's a four year hazing to become a dentist. The only thing that makes it worthwhile is wanting to be a dentist. Your motivation is your own.


Nothing to do here
5+ Year Member
Jul 21, 2010
Why not plan on teaching dentistry if you are worried about leaving teaching?
Jan 8, 2010
Dental Student
Tendinitis in the hand = no no.

You will be spending hours and hours and hours every single day working with tiny objects and manipulating tools with extreme precision. When you wax a tooth, YOU FAIL if any dimension is more than 1mm off. Oh yeah, and the tooth must be fully replicated in wax within 1 hr or... YOU FAIL. Hand hurts? Too bad.

This is just dental school too... once you get into the working environment, guess what? You'll be working with delicate objects again, except contorted so that you can see into that tiny orifice you are working in. Can you say "chronic back pain?"

So yeah... Those other questions are really irrelevant, although Daurang does sum it up quite well.


10+ Year Member
Oct 28, 2007
Just a quick note of interest...
My dental school class of 40 was had 4 students (10% of the class) that were high school science teachers prior to entering dental school.