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Why you want to go to dental school...

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by kgal16, Oct 9, 2002.

  1. ok so i want to apply to dental next year
    cause i'm not sure that i will get into med school

    however
    how does one make the connection btwn med and dental??
    when they ask you why you want to be a dentist
    what do you say???

    i myself don't really know why i would choose dentistry over other things...
    partly just cause i want to do something that will give me a good salary...
    i dont want to start at the bottom of the ladder and work my way up... i at least want to start in the middle...

    so pretty much my question to everyone is...
    when u tell people u cant get into med school
    they tell u to go to dental...

    but isnt it obvious to dental schools
    that the majority of their applicants have med school as their first choice...
    i doubt that many people grow up and say "OH I WANT TO BE A DENTIST..."
     
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  3. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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    Wow..... I'm not even going to touch on this one.

    *Centrum steps back and waits for the flaming to begin* :oops:

    I can personally say that I am one of those people that grew up and said "Oh I want to be a dentist."
     
  4. wow...
    i did not mean anything much by my comment...
    i guess i have been surrounded by crazy premeds all my life...
    no one i know considered dental as a first choice...
    but if you do then, all the power to ya...
    cuz at least that means that people out there who are not just in it for the money... and have COMPLETE FOCUS for their future...
    my questions are due to ignorance mostly...
    hope no one takes real offense...
     
  5. ohgee

    ohgee Senior Member
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    You should at least shadow a dentist for a while and decide if you will try for dental.,,hopefully by then you will know why you are going to be a dentist.

    You don't want to get into it with purely for $$$.... you won't live very happy :)

    Why are you going for med anyway? just curious? for $$$ too?
     
  6. roster88

    roster88 Member
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    DONOT GO INTO DENTISTRY FOR THE MONEY. With all the loans that you have to pay off and the competition, especially in big cities you will not be any richer than the next door accountant or architect. The only thing that you will have more is the stress and being unhappy about your choice.

    I know two dentists personaly that became dentist since they could not get into med school or they did think this is their second best option, one of them just went bankrupt and the other is hating his day everyday. They both were pre-med and shooting for med school and both are below 40 and whenever I talk with them they sound as if the life is over for them. That is why the suicide rate for dentists is so high, and I do belive it.

    Dentistry has nothing to do with medicine, it is more like being a mechanic, so go into this field only and only if you can see yourself working like a mechanic and enjoy working with your hands.
    It is really sad that even at this age and time still people choose their profession b'cose of their parents and friends or the title or the money.
     
  7. dentalapp

    dentalapp Member
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    I have a good advice. Why not try entering dental school and acing all dental courses with around a 3.7 gpa?
    Then retake the MCATs ( don't bomb this one), do some more shadowing of physicians, and obtain recs that testify your abilities to handle science.

    Upon completion of your DDS, apply to the first year of medical school again. Or try for the joint 6-year MD/oral surgery program. Either way, the MD will granted upon completion of all medical courses and no outstanding MD tuition.

    That way, even if you don't get accepted, you will at least be called a 'doctor.'
     
  8. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    roster 88 is exactly right!! You might think we are just bull****ting you but it is so true. a job without passion is hell. There are much better things you can do than spend a quarter of a million dollars on education, then another half a million setting up your practice to make 100,000 and pay all that to loans. People who do not like what they do will never be able to pay off the loans. It costs more to educate a dentist than a physician. So if you can't get into medical school you should look at pharmacy, nursing, optometry, or podiatry..BUT NOT, I repeat NOT Dentistry. All those other professions are very good and one receives a good compensation.

    Dentistry requires extremely well rounded individuals...you have to be able to work with your hands, love people, love business, be disciplined, and be passionate about the mouth. Not everyone can do that.

    DesiDentist
     
  9. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    [/B][/QUOTE]




    Last I heard, the joke had changed.

    What do you call someone who can't get into med school? a PA.

    Hahaha.



    I'm with Centrum on this one. I never considered pre-med. I loved going to the dentist and absolutely loathed the pediatrician and I still avoid the physician if I can help it.

    So, if you are truly ignorant, let some of my colleagues and I enlighten you. In my dental school class, I'm sure most people are here because they want to be. MANY of my classmates have parents who are dentists, so they grew up with the notion that they might want to be a dentist. Also, many of them worked or shadowed in dental offices prior to dental school to be sure that dentistry was something they could do for the rest of their lives. The adcoms look specifically for dental experience/exposure - how else could you know if this is what you want to do? Sure, the dental profession may be enticing, but dental school itself is a whole lot of work and anguish for someone whose heart isn't really in it.

    Hmmmm, every time you look in someone's mouth, there are teeth which are unique to the mouth, but also blood vessels, nerves, muscles, epithelium, glands (must I go on?) which are things you find throughout the body. And remember, the mouth is connected to a BODY.

    As a dentist you get to do a little bit of everything in medicine. Here are some examples. You do an exam of the teeth AND the soft structures (gums, tongue, neck, face, eyes, lips, ear, hair, etc) to come up with a diagnosis. You read your own x-rays - the radiologist doesn't read them from home and transmit the diagnosis over the modem back to your office. You administer your own anesthesia - no need to coordinate with the anesthesiologist on this one. You do your own surgery - don't need a general surgeon or a special one, every dentist can train and practice any kind of oral surgery if they want to (as long as they have the experience).

    Don't tell them b/c you want to drive a Benz, that isn't going to impress the med or dental school adcoms (although that might be what you are thinking).

    Go shadow in a dental office or a dental clinic. Then you might know why you could choose dental over medicine. Ask the dentists and residents you meet why they chose dentistry or what part of their job they like best. My reason - b/c I like that dentistry is focused mostly on the head and neck.
    Patients won't come to me complaining of back pain and migranes and a runny nose all at once. They'll go to you (if you get into med school). They'll come to me if their front tooth breaks off or their gums bleed constantly or they have an abscess in their mouth - and I would love to help them b/c not only does it involve science, but there is also an artistic side necessary to restore the broken front tooth so no one knows you broke it.

    So you've never met anyone who had dental as their first choice? Well, I've met people who are now in med school or are already physicians and med was not their first choice. So why'd they do it? $$$; their parents brainwashed them; they just followed the crazy pre-med crowd; they couldn't really decide what to do with themselves, so figured med school would be a good way to waste some time from growing up... Don't do it b/c you think it'll be cool to be a doctor or dentist and you'll make loads of money - remember, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LIFE IN EITHER PROFESSION!!!! There are easier ways to make money than to take responsibility for someone's health.

    Wow.
     
  10. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    roster88 - A dentist is NOT a mechanic. I'm going to hope you haven't started dental school yet, b/c you will be in for a shock and quickly learn that first year is all science/biology classes, not shop classes. Sure you need to be good with your hands, but you also have to be able to diagnose oral cancer so your patient might have a chance to live.
     
  11. roster88

    roster88 Member
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    Griffin:

    Dentists are Mechanics in their own way , they are close in type of the work that they do, very close. Sure in dental school you study bio, histo and etc, but that is in school only, and that is just for knowing the basics of what is happening but once it comes to practicing you are fixing things, you are working with tools on solid objects and either reshaping them or repairing them. If you think it is a rosy profession you are wrong. It physically very demanding and drainig. Ask your dentists how do they feel at the end of the day. But still I want to do it for the love of it, not the money, title or the position. I am sure to get those things there are much shorter ways and less expensive and less demanding.
     
  12. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    to Roster:

    I'm sorry, but your notion that dentistry is nothing but mechanics is incorrect.

    Dentistry is more than repairing teeth. The dentist also takes care of the tissues surrounding teeth and are expected to diagnose and treat mucosal, salivary, periodontal and TMJ disorders, and know how your treatment would impact the rest of the body that is attached to that mouth. In addition to knowing how certain dental treatments would affect systemic conditions, you are also expected to provide first line of detection for many life-threatening conditions like certain cancers, AIDS, diabetes, etc.

    And you will be sorely tested to apply that kind of medical knowledge in clinical practice because you will be seeing medically-complex patients, who require you to take into account their medical conditions to formulate the correct treatment approach and planning. With your "mechanics only" approach, you would very likely have quite a few patients die in your dental chair. No joke.

    Let's say for instance you went ahead with a procedure to fill a tooth but did not bother taking the medical history of a patient. Without that medical information, you would have no way of knowing if he is allergic to the lidocaine you are injecting, and perhaps consequently precipitate a systemic anaphylaxis reaction. If you don't know how to medically treat your patient in that situation, he might die in your chair even before the paramedics arrive. Presto, you just left yourself wide open to a multimillion-dollar wrongful death malpractice lawsuit.

    If you are considering dentistry as a career, you would do well to heed what Griffin is saying-- Dentistry is more than mere mechanics.

    How do we know? Both Griffin and I are treating such patients in clinic right now.
     
  13. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I think I got an ulcer from reading this. If dentistry has nothing to do with medicine, then neither does radiology, obstetrics, psychiatry, opthomology, trauma surgery, etc., etc.

    Dentistry has EVERYTHING to do with medicine! The only reason you are "working with tools on solid objects" is because something in the oral cavity has experienced a biochemical breakdown or is inefficient in some medical manner!

    Surgeons work with tools on objects, and therefore they must also have nothing to do with medicine. Ridiculous!

    I won't rehash everything that Griffin and Tom have posted, but they are 110% correct in their postings. Dentistry is now a more integral part of a patient's health than ever before. Listen to Griffin and Tom, as they said, they are in the clinics and experience dentistry on a daily basis.
     
  14. dentalapp

    dentalapp Member
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    Why can't they just treat all parts of the human body the same?

    Don't you think it's more appropriate to have dentistry, podiatry, and optometry to be a specialty under medicine?
     
  15. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I know. I see just two patients a day and I am beat. You have to be on your feet, run around for supplies and instructors, concetrate on doing the right treatment and procedure. I used to be the champion of staying up all night. These days, after patients all day, I fall asleep without even realizing it - and it is only 9 pm.

    Here's why I know a dentist is not a mechanic. Every day I am in clinic, I have the same three thoughts running through my head.
    1) I can't believe the school thinks I am qualified to be in this clinic.
    2) (As I am about to inject the patient) This patient trusts me to inject them? Oh God, this must be what responsibility feels like...
    3) Holy Smokes - There's a person under the rubber dam! A real live person! It's not a typodont anymore. I mean, this filling actually has to work and look good. These people still trust me?

    The actual "mechanical" part of the visit where I cut my prep and restore it with some amalgam or resin is the easy part. The hardest part of clinic is the patient, not the actual dental work.

    And for the record, dentists do not use tools - they are "instruments." It is not a "drill" - try "handpiece." We had a professor in our operative class lecture us on the fact that "we are not mechanics" (his words) and those were some of the terms he made us learn to correct any student who might have thought hardware shop terms and dental terms were interchangeable.
     
  16. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    Here are my moments when it becomes painfully apparent that dentistry ain't merely mechanics:

    1) Two weeks ago when one of my patients who was on Dilantin (for treating mental illness) was on the verge of having a seizure while in my chair. I was very close to making a run for that emergency kit.

    2) Three weeks ago when I had to run downstairs to the soda machine and get a coke for a diabetic patient on the verge of a hypoglycemic crisis because he apparently did not have enough of a breakfast for his morning dose of insulin.

    3) Last month when I saw one of my recall patients for the first time and saw how much she was bleeding while I was doing the scaling and root planing, despite the fact that she has an INR of 2.5. If the dose of coumadin she was taking had been titrated juuuuust a bit higher... The imagination wanders. :p

    4) Last month Dr. Thines (ODS instructor) grilling me on a) whether or not there is a need for premedication and b) which antibiotic should be prescribed and how much, when another of my patients who had mitral valve prolapse was in my chair for a cleaning.

    That's four "Oh ****!" moments in the span of a couple months. Imagine how many there will be over the span of a career. :D

    INTENSE. That's all I can say..
     
  17. s.mutans

    s.mutans Senior Member
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    kgal16,

    MOst of the pre-dents have wanted to become dentists probably since their undergraduate years. I myself also was a pre-med. I realized that dental is equivelant to medical since . I actually think dental or "oral" health supersedes anything else. Also, i loved my dentist and i hated my physician.

    I guess i am trying to just keep it simple here. You want to go to dental school if you can't get into medical school and you want a very good reason to do so to tell future interviewers why you want to go into the dental field.

    Though i never applied to medical school, If i were in your shoes, here is what i would say.

    There has been a great separation between dental and medical profession since forever. I don't know exactly why. What I do know is that the dental profession now will take on a whole new paradigm shift in treating caries or cavities. Since 1960's Keyes discovered that bacteria causes cavities. Now instead of the drill, fill , and bill method that has been going on since forever, There are additional new ways and approaches in treating, diagnosing dental caries. Lowering bacteria levels in the mouth with xylitol gum and chlorhexidine rinses, more accurate methods of diagnosing cavities via lazer caries detectors, and prevention outreach such as letting pregnant mothers know that they pass on this bacteria to their babies. Even replacement gene therapy for the bacteria!!!!!!

    Bottom Line, The dental field will soon take a medical approach to dental caries. A new breed of dentists will soon take over and there will be no more cavities forever and ever. All dentists will then be orthodontists.

    That's my goal anyway. good luck in your medical school applications. BUt ORAL HEALTH ROCKS.
     
  18. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    I can't speak for podiatry or optometry, but I think one of the reasons why dentistry has always been separate from medicine was because dentistry was not considered a medical science until the 20th century.

    For six or seven thousand years ever since the days when our ancestors walked with their knuckles dragging on the ground, the solution to an aching tooth was to just yank it and that's that. And as recently as the first half of the 20th century dentistry mainly involved craftsmanship (fillings, crowns and bridges, dentures, extractions). This is basically dentistry as Roster saw it. :laugh:

    It was not until the latter half of the 20th century that people began to discover the underlying biomedical aspects of dentistry and dental training began to change to include more biomedical education. Sheeoot, my school didn't make the transition to a 4-year curriculum until the late 1960's. And by then dentistry has already evolved on its own into a very complex and diverse self-governing profession with its own wide range of specialties.

    Guess that 6000-year gap between dentistry and medicine is a bit hard to bridge. :p
     
  19. tinker bell

    tinker bell 1K Member
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    Aren't we glad that we are living in a better place, with better health care? compare to our ancestors? I just have to count my blessing for not having to yank my teeth out like Tom described.
    yah, another better thing is laser in dentistry. I'm working in a laser lab at ucsf dental school. We have patients testing out those laser treatment methods and they like it so much. We basically just beam the laser pointer to the tooth and count to 20. Then the patient just got up and walk away. No drilling, no pain and their caries are taken care of. Isn't it great?
     
  20. s.mutans

    s.mutans Senior Member
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    Yeah, i heard that dental operations were done in the barbershop.

    "Hey yeah i want a number 2 buzz all around the sides, a square on the back and a trim off the top, and keep my sideburns. While I am here, pull out my number 28 and my bicuspid!!!"
     
  21. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    You betcha!

    Here at the UB Dental School, we got a dental museum. On display is a replica of one of George Washington's dentures. I would not have wished that thing on my worst enemy! :D

    The average male during the American Revolution era would have lost most of his teeth by the time he turned 30, to either caries or periodontal disease. If he's poor, the teeth fall out and that's that. If he's rich or prominent like George, maybe he can afford one of those medieval torture devices they laughingly call dentures back then. It's amazing how he could run the country while in constant pain from bombed-out abscessed teeth and that monstrosity of a prosthodontic.

    I'm glad I live in the 21st Century! And even then I already lost two of my 6-year molars because 1) I grew up in a place without fluoridated water and 2) sealants weren't popular back when I was a kid.

    Fear of those torture devices is what will motivate me to try my darndest to keep all my remaining teeth into my 90s. :laugh:
     
  22. portlander

    portlander Member
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    Kgal16:

    I just read this whole string of posts, and some of the stuff originally said just makes me sick. First of all, its hard to take someone seriously who abbreviates everything and writes "u" rather than "you." I think if people are ready to go to graduate school, they need to start writing properly.

    Second, the whole discussion about money makes me cringe. I know that people going into dental or medical school expect to live comfortably and have the security of a stable income to lean back on and pay off their student loans. However, if money is the primary motivator for attending dental/medical school, I really hope we are not in the same class. Doctors that see their patients as walking piggy banks make me sick. There are SO MANY poor people out there getting zero health care. With the cushy hours I see most dentists working, I would hope they could contrubute a couple days a year to working at a free health clinic or something. Money hungry doctors and dentists are eventually going to give our whole profession a bad name.

    Don't get me wrong, I want to live comfortably and be able to pay for my children's ivy leauge education someday, but I don't want to sacrifice my moral obligations to do so. I hope that everyone on this forum understands how important it is to use your specialized education to serve the public. Serve the public, not your own pocket. Not many people get the chance to learn all the special skills we will in dental/medical school, and we have a duty to share it with our communities.
     
  23. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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    Great post Portlander. Public service should be important to all future Doctors/Dentists.
     
  24. dentalapp

    dentalapp Member
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    Now, don't be so hard on him. Don't tell me that you never thought more about yourself than other people. I agree that people should function accordingly to be a productive member of society, but people are meant to be selfish beings and you have no right to judge others for what you yourself had committed frequently in the past.

    You have to understand that no human had ever asked to be born. Life is difficult
    and there is no one to take care of your future besides yourself. While we're living, we're here to enjoy what's there and to make the best of it for ourselves. I'm sure you even agree that this is what you want for your children, if you have any.

    More than from the original poster, I was dismayed even more in regards to the responses. I know how you feel. We're all anxious to know if we'll be one of the lucky ones to qualify for the few seats that dental schools have each year. But, if anything, the emotional discouragement in your responses ( maybe for your 'selfish' benefit of having one less applicant , or maybe even to raise the prestige of dentistry for the sake of your social class? ) seem more unethical than the first post itself.

    As for the original poster, I advise getting everything in EARLY and keeping copies of all paperwork sent to ADEA, for the next admissions cycle. Try to get into any US dental school you can, ace the courses, retake the MCATs, and then reapply to the first year of medical school upon graduation . It's really harder than it sounds but it shouldn't be a problem if your gpa is above a 3.5 in dental courses, with >32 on MCATs.

    If you still don't get accepted, you'll still be a 'doctor' but you will be disappointed because MDs make more $$$ and carry more power.

    Then again, you might not even get to dental schools to begin with. You might also want to apply to Carribean med schools like Ross Univ. They actually have a lot of grads doing surgery and anesthesiology at university medical centers. Either way, everything will be more difficult than it sounds.

    Good luck to you.
     
  25. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    mzalendo - Oh yeah, the ignorance will not go away. My friends are already planning what to do with the money they don't yet have, and most of those plans don't include any cars priced less than $40,000. Then again, they see their dental parents living this way and don't think there is anything wrong with it. However, most of them have an ounce of morality in them somewhere and have also commented on how they may serve the community (supporting organizations, volunteering in the dental school clinics, treating certain patients pro bono, going on dental missions to underserved areas, etc). But the focus is on $$$ and what to do with it. B/c after you go through this misery for a dental education, you too will hope you can have something to show for it. Even the teachers at school make comments on $$$ - such as "X-rays cost pennies to process but are your biggest money maker in a dental office."

    You're right, money shouldn't be your first concern b/c then you will hate doing dentistry, but I don't think we should not accept students just because they hope that someday they will have a prosperous future as well. As long as they have a passion to do dentistry, they'll make it through dental school.
     
  26. s.mutans

    s.mutans Senior Member
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    what happened to kgal?
     
  27. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    I think the first few posts scared her off. :p
     

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