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Thinking of doing dental over med school

CaffineDoc24

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May 14, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi guys, I hope you’re all doing well. So the past year, I have been rethinking medicine. It seems that medicine takes over peoples lives even outside of work, even after training. The idea of dentistry sounds appealing because (like medicine) you’re involved with people, science, and can have your own stable business.

However, the dentist lifestyle is very appealing to me. The 8-5 no emergency life seems much less stressful overall. So I shadowed a dentist this week. His work seemed very satisfying, as you were creating something. This is a new idea to me, since I never wanted to go into surgery in medicine, because it is way to hard on family life and I really don’t have an affinity for cutting organs for some reason. I really want a good work/life balance, although of course any profession is difficult and I understand that.

My concern with dentistry is that it seems really intense, at least from my perspective. When shadowing my dentist, his job seemed to require such precision and focus on a scale I haven’t seen to many doctors need (that weren’t surgeons). Is this something you get used to? Does it just seem so crazy to me because I’m an outsider? Do you get used to working In such a confined space? The whole time, it seemed like he was wrestling a bear sort to speak.
 

Frychicken

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Oct 29, 2014
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Yes, fine motor skills are learned, developed, and trained in dental school. You do get used to working in a confined space. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where the oral cavity, though seem small to the average person, can look like a giant abyss where 1.0 mm is the equivalent of a mile.

Also, having loupes with 3.5x magnification or greater helps.
 
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ToothJockey

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Apr 21, 2019
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I just wanna say there are many physicians that can have a nice lifestyle as well.
Psychiatrists, Dermatologists, Emergency Medicine (they only work like 15 shifts a month), Opthalmologists etc. Some physicians have 7 on 7 off schedules which can be pretty nice too.
And I'm sure even surgeons could work part time if they wish too, and they will likely still make over 200k a year.

Also as a dentist, to make a bunch of money you will likely have to be a business owner. Is that something you're interested in? As a physician you can get paid well even as an employee.

Have you also considered debt? Dental school is typically more expensive than medical.
 
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CaffineDoc24

Full Member
May 14, 2020
57
24
11
  1. Pre-Medical
I just wanna say there are many physicians that can have a nice lifestyle as well.
Psychiatrists, Dermatologists, Emergency Medicine (they only work like 15 shifts a month), Opthalmologists etc. Some physicians have 7 on 7 off schedules which can be pretty nice too.
And I'm sure even surgeons could work part time if they wish too, and they will likely still make over 200k a year.

Also as a dentist, to make a bunch of money you will likely have to be a business owner. Is that something you're interested in? As a physician you can get paid well even as an employee.

Have you also considered debt? Dental school is typically more expensive than medical.
Thank you for your response. Yes I’ve considered the debt of course. As to owning a business, that is actually a “must have” in my future career. I want to work for myself, and be able to run the show/have no limits on what I can do. I come from a business oriented family, so I have a lot of support and advice in that area.

Many of the lifestyle specialties (but not all, like EM, but trauma is something I wouldn’t wanna deal with) are really competitive to get residencies in, like derm. I have considered psych though, so that is an option. I know it has a good lifestyle and isn’t too competitive. Still keeping all doors open, just wanted to learn more about dentistry.
 

Quinque

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7+ Year Member
Sep 9, 2014
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I wouldn't pick dentistry solely because you think the life style is easier, make sure you like it as a field. If your passion is medicine, then pursue it. There are plenty of medical fields that have cush 8-5 lifestyles post-residency (private practice family medicine + pediatrics, radiology, dermatology) to name the few I know of (source: my MS4 brother and my radiologist uncle).
 

LaughingGas

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May 17, 2010
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  1. Dentist
However, the dentist lifestyle is very appealing to me. The 8-5 no emergency life seems much less stressful overall. So I shadowed a dentist this week. His work seemed very satisfying, as you were creating something. This is a new idea to me, since I never wanted to go into surgery in medicine, because it is way to hard on family life and I really don’t have an affinity for cutting organs for some reason. I really want a good work/life balance, although of course any profession is difficult and I understand that.

It is 8-5 but if you are business owner or live close by and they call your emergency number, you may have to see them or at least take phone call and talk to them.
My concern with dentistry is that it seems really intense, at least from my perspective. When shadowing my dentist, his job seemed to require such precision and focus on a scale I haven’t seen to many doctors need (that weren’t surgeons). Is this something you get used to? Does it just seem so crazy to me because I’m an outsider? Do you get used to working In such a confined space? The whole time, it seemed like he was wrestling a bear sort to speak.
Precision and focus is required for some of the dental specialties but not all. And as you keep working/practicing, it just becomes a second nature. I honestly don't think everyone gets used to work in a confined space, but after going through school and spending years and $$, they just stick to it.
 

MLC45

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Sep 15, 2017
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I like how you say "no emergencies". I can't count the times I've been called in as a dental assistant to help with an emergency after hours or on weekends. Now it is true you don't have to come in, and you can tell the patient to wait till Monday, but if the patient is getting married on Sunday and they break their central incisor on Saturday they will either be your biggest referral or your worst critic. And believe me they will tell everybody!
 
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