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Why dentistry ?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by DudeMD, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. DudeMD

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    I have always wondered why people go into dentistry. I am starting medical school this fall myself. I did consider dentistry for a while, but I knew I wasn't passionate about the field, so I decided medicie. I have many friends who are going into dentistry, and they all seem to have the same reason: good job security and salary. But besides that, what motivated you all to study dentistry? What part of the field were you guys passionate about. For instance, what was your answer to the question why dentistry during the interview process.
     
  2. Archie376

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    for me and many others what u just mentioned above is important. Afterall the purpose of work is to make the money that will satisfy your personal needs/wants. but thats DEF. NOT all of it. I am personaly in love with health sciences. which is why I originally decided to be pre-med. I never really gave much attention to dentistry until it was brought up one day and I'm like damn!! thats excatly for me. It's a health science but its very artistic. Basically it is something that I can do differentely than other dentists. or so I assume. I can bring my own style into my work which others can hopefully appreciate. AND A HUGE FACTOR for me is that I need to work with my hands and be able to do physical work that involves 'fixing'.
    and it seems more exciting than medicine to me, which is the vibe I got when shadowing.
    Med. is awsome. Its just that there are so many specialties that I would never be certain I would be able to find or get into a residency that would fullfill my personaly expectations. So if I wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon there are no gaurantees I'd get accepted to that specific residency. lol makes sense to me I guess. :)
     
  3. Archie376

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    and I really dont want to deal with patients dying. its sad and its something I would not want to take home with me even though not all physicians end up dealing with it.
     
  4. fightingspirit

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    the proportion of those who are truly in it for the love of the game vs salary/security/prestige is not different from that of applicants to med school. one difference is that a lot of d-students need the DDS to run their father or mother's practice. overall, the crowd that the dental profession attracts is a bit different from that of medical school.
     
  5. PooyaH

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    Well every person has his or her own reasons. Not all pick dentistry for job seurity! But salary is absolutely ONE reason why people choose dentistry. I gaurantee you if they told you, you would make only 40K a year by finishing medical school, you would never even consider it after all the effort you have to put into it, no matter how passionate you are about it!!! I'm sure whoever wants to get into dentistry has some sort of a passion about it since they've had dental experience and know how their everyday life at work would be! Afterall, one can't lie to himself!!!

    I have chosen dentistry for various reasons which I will keep them to myself. I don't know about your friends, but not everyone has those reason!!!
     
  6. Flipps

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    I want to become a dentist because:

    1. You get to work with your hands and improve peoples health.

    2. In general, Dentists have shorter work weeks and presumably less stress. (Feel free to disagree with me on that one, it just seems like it would be less stressful since you don't have to deal with death and you aren't on call)

    3. Stable job, high prestige, high income

    4. The capitalism aspect is still strong in dentistry. It has not yet been dominated by corporations or HMOs.
     
  7. doc3232

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    Money is also an important factor for any career. It is 100% not the only reason, but as a previous poster pointed out, it does affect choice.
     
  8. Hybridtavo

    Hybridtavo Dr Ortegon
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    Dentistry why dentistry jajaja good question, well in my case both of my parents are dentist (Not in the US) I was never driven into dentistry, I was actually going for computer engineering but after some summer courses that I took at a U. before HS Grad told me it wasnt for me, I just couldnt do it. So just followed my fathers advise to go for dentistry and even though I wasnt passionate about it I did go thru college and now Im finishing my BS. My break point was volunteering at the U. dental clinics, talking to dental students and finally going on a mission trip to central america. Where I was reminded where I come from (hispanic) and there is a whole lot of ppl that need help. Just made me realize how simple dental care can make a huge difference in ppl , the way they look at themselves, how does affect someone's diet (nutrition) and so on. Money wise I didnt know the payroll for a dentist until no so long ago, even if I was here or back in south america I would do dentistry either way.
    Hoped u like the story jajajajaja
     
  9. DudeMD

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    Thanks guys, it seems like job security/salary was a major component for your decisions. Would you guys say you wanted to be a dentist ever since you were a child ? Its always been your passion ?

    I just read my friend's personal statement for dental school (he asked me to give him my opinion on it). In his personal statement he says that he wanted to be a dentist ever since his childhood. He supports his argument by saying that one of his family members had dental problems and the dentist completely changed his life around. His family member was basically able smile without being embarrassed. After this experience his dream has been to be a dentist. I find this argument to be completely insincere and somewhat childish. I told him he should have a better argument/reason. What do you guys think ?

    I do agree that having beautiful teeth is very important in having a presentable appearance and can lead to a person's heightened self confidence. And that a dentist's work is greatly appreciated by those who need it.
     
  10. Bruinlove

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    Am I the only one who feels that OP is using this thread to write his own Personal statement?

    Personally, I think it has been pretty obvious from the beginning, but the above post makes me laugh now. :laugh:
     
  11. Jaba

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    that its a good fact.... but.... this reminds me of a similar personal statement that i read in Barrons DAT... :laugh::laugh:
     
  12. inkare

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    can't you guys give a person a benefit of a doubt ?
     
  13. DudeMD

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    Im starting at Stony Brook School of Medicine class of 2012. I was just wondering what you people thought of his story, cause I told him it was horrible! I told him to give real reasons, and don't make what you think they want them to hear. I told him to try to be real and honest. I don't want to give him bad advice. My own reason for entering medicine has been completely different. I didn't even know I wanted to study medicine until I started my PhD. My reasons for entering medicine were all very honest and worked at the end. I got accepted to 5 medical school schools and I'm currently on the UCSF waitlist (my top choice).

    I was also curious why people would chose dentistry, because most of my friends seem to go into it for the money.
     
  14. PooyaH

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    Dear DudeMD,
    Can I ask you why you are getting into the medical field?
     
  15. DudeMD

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    Sure I'll give you a short summary, with medicine I can feel I am making a difference at the end of the day. Its the most direct way of helping your community. With medicine, what I do really matters to the patient and their loved ones. When I started to do my PhD, I realized what I do doesn't have a direct impact to others. I couldn't care any less if ipods got smaller or operated faster (relevant to my research). It didn't provide me with that sense of fulfillment that I got when doing volunteer work. In addition to the pleasure I got from that altruistic experiences of my volunteer work which attracted me to medicine, I also loved the science of medicine and physiology.

    I explained these in more detail during my interview and more elaborately in my personal statement and during my interviews.

    I'm not saying that dentistry doesn't provide the same sense of fulfillment. I'm not trying to degrade the field of dentistry. As I said in my previous post, I agree that dentist provide a much needed service that can make a difference in lives of other. I just don't get the feeling that people are going into dentistry for the feeling of service to others (this is the impression I've got from my friends).

    I posted here to better understand the motivation for people that go into dentistry.
     
  16. PooyaH

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    I totally understand your point and respect what you are up to! Now my next question is would you still continue medical school if they say you would make no more than 60K a year!? Yes or NO? lol
     
  17. DudeMD

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    I understand what you are getting into, with 250K in loans for medical school, I would not be able to live comfortably and have a family. Your argument is not a good argument.

    A better question is, would you rather do anything else your mind could think of (including traveling the world and being on vacation the rest of your life) and still make a salary of a physician or work as a physician. I would pick being a physicians without a doubt.

    oh and if you are wondering I'm trying to write my dental school personal statement, here is something SUNY SB sent me:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. TerpFan

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    #18 TerpFan, Jun 2, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  19. DudeMD

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    You guys seem to have missed my point (partly due to Bruinlove's comment) and seem to be on the defensive track.

    I'm not saying that medicine is better than dentistry and there are better reasons to do medicine than dentistry. I just haven't met any dental students who seem to be in love with the field. My friends all seem to be going into dentistry because of the money/job security (a true aspect to consider of any field, including medicine). I'm trying to see if there are other motivations for going into this field ?

    I'm sorry if my question was offensive to anyone.
     
  20. PooyaH

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    DudeMD,

    First of all I never said you were degradeing the field of dentistry nor I doubted you getting accepted into medical school. My point is that no matter what profession you choose, money is always an issue. After analyzing all the aspects of a career you can say whether it is for you or not!

    I think if dentistry and medical fields paid less than we expect, none of us would get into them!!! However, I'm not saying money is the only objective but it is definitely a big part of choosing a career. I think you're wrong with saying people get into dentistry only for money and security! It's not just dentistry but any career!
     
  21. DudeMD

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    Its good to hear of someone who has been passionate about the field. I gave the same advice to my friend, because I didn't believe his story. I would give you the same advice.

    But regardless if it was your passion to study medicine since childhood, it should not be your sole reason to pursue dentistry. From my experience in applying to medicine, I think the adcom is looking for good reasons for wanting to be a dentist. Wanting to be one since childhood doesn't qualify as one in my opinion. You should definitely dig deep in your heart on why you are passionate about this field and come up with better reasons for pursuing dentistry.

    PS. Are any of your parents dentists?
     
  22. PooyaH

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    Not parents, but two uncles and 7 cousins!!! lol
     
  23. DudeMD

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    Completely agreed !

    Sorry if I sounded that way, I said my friends seem to get into the field because of the money/security, and I sense a lack of passion in them for the field in general. They are a small subsample of the population of dental students, and they are not representative of all dental students. That is why I posted here to get a general feeling of why dental students chose their field.
     
  24. rook56

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    Most of my friends are pre-med. I have noticed that we think differently about the concept of "helping people." Most of my friends are willing to sacrifice a lot of things in order to feel like they make a difference in the world.
    To me, "helping people" is not just about providing an important service to your patients, and it should occur outside of the office as well as inside. To me, it includes the people that are closest to me. It includes my future family. It includes having the time and the money to make a difference in their lives as well. In a sense, it is related to lifestyle/salary/job security. I want to help people, but I would also like to pick a profession that has a lifestyle that is complementary to a good family life. I am not saying that all physicians have a terrible lifestyle, but a good lifestyle seems to come easily with dentistry.
    The cool procedures that dentists get to do is just icing on the cake. Getting to do procedures all day is a selling point to many of us. This is a hard question for many of us, because there is not one single thing that draws us to dentistry, but the many nice features of this profession add up.
     
  25. TerpFan

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    #25 TerpFan, Jun 2, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  26. rook56

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    Wow. My last post was incredibly cheesy, borderline sentimental. I just finished my PS so I guess im still in that mode.
     
  27. DudeMD

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    Saying you have always been interested in the field is a proper claim, and you should definitely mentions it, but making your entire personal statement about how you used to play as a child pretending to be a dentist (as my friend's PS was about) is not the way to go (in my opinion).

    Its amazing to see that you always wanted to be a dentist where your parents weren't dentists themselves. Most of my friends have dentists in their family.
     
  28. DudeMD

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    I thought it was very honest and real ! You should have a great personal statement.
     
  29. Predent0607

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    Hi,
    I can assure you that not every applicant or dental student is going in to the field for the reasons you've mentioned YOUR friends who are applying are. And I've read the responses you've posted regarding the interestes you have for going in to the medical field and each and every one of them is applicable to dental medicine. Literally all of them. In addition, I would like for you to consider and address this: what if the field of dental medicine were under the umbrella of MD? What if it was not a separate school or differentiated in any way from mainstream medicine and all dentists were simply an oral specialty of medical doctor? Please, indulge us with your take on this. The fact is, people don't only go in to this field for the money and many, as has been shared by others on this thread, find dental medicine engaging and envision taking away the same kinds of benefits that ANY doctor takes with him or her at the end of the day.
     
  30. AndyK

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    Dentistry is a great career because the mouth and the surrounding structures are complex and independent, yet connected in many ways to allopathic health and diseases of other organ systems. As a dentist, you get to deal with both the medical and the surgical aspect of the mouth. Add to that the fact that the work you put into the career is directly reflected in the oral health (dare I say "the smiles") of your patients. The work you put in is also reflected in your financial success, unlike many other professions where you either hit or miss.

    Yeah, I can't say "I'm happy with the choice I made" yet... but I can't wait to.
     
  31. ChrisM07

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    The way I was able to see if I was really interested in dentistry, among other things, was to ask myself whether or not I would still want to do it if the salary was drastically lower (say 35-40K/year). I answered yes. Had I had doubts and answered no to that I would be kinda hesitant to pursue it because it would 'only be about the money not the interest'.

    Now all I gotta do is raise my GPA in 2 years high enough to get me 'competitive' :rolleyes:.
     
  32. vvvv

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    dude why you bother to know. Dentistry and Medicine are not the same but very similar. If you talk about passion, and people who love to help people, look at the MD around your area. They all have private office.....that's so passionate to bill patient instead.
     
  33. ucla2134

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    :laugh::laugh:
     
  34. Hybridtavo

    Hybridtavo Dr Ortegon
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    I have met so many applicants at my University that unfortunately are just going for the $$$$ that is F...up
     
  35. Ninster

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    sounds like my PS :/
     
  36. small

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    I think there as many reasons to become a dentist as there are people who want to become one. Ultimately, it's about personal satisfaction. Dentistry can satisfy your desire for
    1. Money
    2. Time
    3. Creative projects
    4. Interaction with other humans
    5. Control
    6. Challenges
    7. Altruistic activities
    (8. Sense of meaning)

    I think any reason you can think of pretty much falls into these 8 categories (purposely left vague), though you can put 1-7 into #8 if you really think about it. You could probably combine a few of these, too, depending on how you analyze them. Few people are going to be 100% in any category, though I'm sure these amazing people do exist. Here's my breakdown:

    1. Money 20%
    2. Time 30%
    3. Creative activity 8%
    4. Interaction with other humans 15%
    5. Control 15%
    6. Challenges 10%
    7. Altruistic activities 2%
    (8. Sense of meaning) 100% (the sum of 1-7)

    Try this for yourself and then try to think of other professions that might fit your results. It's actually kind of fun!
     
  37. SugarNaCl

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    I have a lot of reasons for wanting to go into dentistry. I considered medicine for a long time and it is still probably the most respected profession. On further examination however, MDs I spoke with said they wouldn't recommend the field. A mentor of mine when I worked as a research assistant for 3 yrs at a cancer hospital said that becoming an MD was the biggest mistake he ever made (many don't feel that way of course) and he ended up in research, not a practicing physician. Just like dentistry, it isn't for everyone. Even GPs in internal medicine were always on call, spending hours a night reading to keep up with the array of changes and hours of hospital time in addition to office time. Bottom line is I may have gone into medicine if I was on my own with no family, husband etc. at one time, but that isn't true anymore.

    The cool thing about dentistry that is different (but no more important) than medicine is that in medicine and dentistry, you have to get the diagnosis right... however, unless you are a surgeon etc, the treatment for the disease is often fairly standard in medicine. If you are good at dentistry, your work will shine. You can contribute something major to the field and to your patients. There is a huge difference in the quality of work in an artistic manner from dentist to dentist. If I can't go to one MD for a problem like hypertension or some other common disorder, I can go to another MD and get the same diagnosis, similar treatment. That just isn't true in dentistry because it may be very difficult to find a dentist that gives as good esthetic results and in my opinion why it attracts so many... in addition to having more free time as a rule.
     
    #37 SugarNaCl, Jun 3, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  38. Artful Dodger

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    I have 10 good reasons, but I'd like to keep them a secret! :)

    and none of them mention money or time convenience if that's what the OP wants to know...I can tell you the most fascinating part of dentistry is its artistic aspect & its consistent success on every patient. I guess you can assume less room for error with localized medicine?
     
  39. SugarNaCl

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    HAHAHAHAHHHA!!!! Remember ABOVE ALL, researchers are the important ones. PhD (RESEARCHERS) are 100 times more important than any MD or DDS (no offense guys). They are the ones that figure out what to do to cure YOUR patient... and ours.

    It is the PhD, not the clinician, that ACTUALLY saves the lives or makes them easier. Our job is merely to catch it before it's too late. I thought most knew that. Guess I was naive.
     
  40. PooyaH

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    Absolutely agree!!!
     
  41. DudeMD

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    Thats been my impression from most people I've met. All they talk about is the money they will make, the BMW M's they will buy and not to mention the the "chicks" they will get. lol

    Its good to see there are people who are genuinely interested in the field and do their job with a passion. Thats the kind of dentist I'd like to go to.
     
  42. SugarNaCl

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    I think we should all give DudeMD a hand for keeping this respectful and away from the MD vs DDS war.
     
  43. DudeMD

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    Yes, dentistry and medicine are similar in many ways, thats why medical and dental professional have commonly considered the other field as a possible career path.

    I'm not saying that all dentists go into dentistry because of the money. I've posted here because I wanted to know what were some of the reason you people chose to enter this field (besides money and job security). There are many specialties in medicine that attracts people coming after money as well, ie. cosmetic plastic surgery and botox derms.

    If both were under the same school I think dentistry would attract a lot of medical students due to good hours and salary. The same way plastics, derm and rads have become very competitive. I don't know what your specific question is though.
     
  44. LWDavis

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    DudeMD, how about u read my personal statement, compare it to ur friend's and tell me what u think? U seem like a pretty honest guy, regardless of the hard time most of these guys are giving u! Maybe my letter will give u some insight about my feelings towards dentistry or maybe ur opinion might make me change my letter lol!
     
  45. DudeMD

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    Yes true research is the most important aspect of medicine. In my PhD, i noticed many aspects of research that I did not like. Research was really money driven. The application I was working on wasn't going to do much for medicine, but rather help the super money hungry corporations get richer. There are lots of games played in research to get grants, patents and publications, non of which attracted me. At the end of the day, I didn't feel satisfied with my research and field. All research will impact healthcare in my opinion, look at the the invention of the computer. OR MRI, the most important diagnostic tool available to the physician, it as invented by an electrical engineer.

    Medicine (and dentistry) is the most 'direct' way doing something meaningful and you are blessed by seeing the immediate impact of your work.
     
  46. DudeMD

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    Very nice !!! You would not be able to say the same about oncology or intensive care in medicine.
     
  47. DudeMD

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    lol, my friend actually got back to me after I sent him my comments. He said his PI read his PS and hate it !!! Apparently we both gave the same comments: immature and not realistic. Might want to modify it. In general I don't think an interest from your childhood should be sole reason for why you would chose to go to a field. Rather, your decision should be influenced by learning more about the field (as well as other fields, in my case PhD and engineering) and come to the conclusion that the field you chose is the right one for you. You should give explicit reasons why, many of them coming from your personal experience of the field (ie. volunteer work). This is the same feedback I gave my friend.
     
  48. DudeMD

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    This is one thing that attracted me to medicine. How broad it is , and how flexible it is. You can chose to do research, teach or practice or a combination of any, from a wide variety of fields.

    You'd be amazed how many different treatments you might get from different doctors for the same condition. I mean if its a common condition, then yes it will be straight forward (ie, strep throat) same as dentistry (ie. cavity). But some conditions are not so straightforward and the doctors might mistake it for something else. This happened to my sister, every doctor tells her a different story. They actually presented her case at a conference. (not a serious illness or anything at all, thank god )
     
  49. DudeMD

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    Thanks SugarNaCl, my intention was to get more insight into why dentists pursue this field, since I wasn't able to do so from my own dental student friends. I respect all healthcare professionals and at the end we are all a team pursuing a common goal. And as Jerry Seinfeld used to say in his show, "I am not an anti-dentite" lol
     
  50. DudeMD

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    Thanks LWDavis. I'm actually pretty busy these days, and made an exception for my friend to read over. I have to present my work to my PI on Thursday, (I'm finishing up my research in my Lab before my departure to med school). So I won't be able to give you really good constructive criticism now right now. If you want I can maybe take a look at it during the weekend.

    Another thing, since I'm not perusing a career in the dental field, I might not be the best person to give you criticisms. I posted here because of my lack of knowledge about this field and to learn more about dentistry and what your reasons were for choosing this career path. More so, I wanted to convince myself that not all dentists are like my friends, lol, which I'm happy I did.
     

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