Ellatha

7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2013
140
107
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
I was accepted into an out-of-state dental school on the West Coast a few years ago when I was about 25. It was one of the happiest days of my life when I got my acceptance call. I maintained a 3.55 GPA in undergrad and scored 23 A.A and 24 T.S. on the DAT. I worked extremely hard and made many sacrifices to get into dental school. Unfortunately, I had a lingering mental illness that only got worse when I started dental school; the overwhelming stress of moving 2,000 miles away from home and taking 13 classes simultaneously pushed me over the edge, and made me experience full-blown psychosis. I moved back to my home state after withdrawing in my first semester, and I spent a year blowing money and doing nothing productive before my family had had enough and petitioned me into a psychiatric hospital. I had to stay at the hospital for over a month and go through many different drugs before one finally knocked me back into my senses.

The experience of living with schizophrenia for nearly 10 years and being completely isolated during that time was a complete shock; i decided to take another year off school and rekindle with my family members who I had not spoken to in years. The trauma of my situation led me to contemplate suicide on multitudinous occasions. I'm sure my mental illness played a major role as to why I could not succeed in dental school, but I also feel that I didn't study enough and used the wrong study methods. I also realized early on that I didn't enjoy dentistry or very much like working with my hands. I struggle with depression nearly every day of my life.

I am currently 29 and have about $100,000 in student loans and am in a program to earn an M.S. degree. I was given the option of returning to dental school, but a part of me fears that I'll fail out of the program again. Or even if I do graduate from dental school, whether I'd be able to be licensed as a dentist.

I am considering going into a PhD program to become a researcher, but am unsure of what to do at this point. Any advice is appreciated, and thank you for reading this.
 
Jul 3, 2019
275
122
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thank you for sharing your story. I just stumbled upon your post, im a predent so i dont have much advice. You are very strong and im glad your mental health is under control, do what makes you happy! if dentistry didnt make you happy then you dont want to put yourself in the position again that will worsen your mental health! but if dentistry is truly your passion, then go back, seems like you were smart enough to get in you just werent in a position to thrive but now you are! you wont fail! i wish you the best, everything will work out! your mental health comes first, at the end of the day dentistry is just a job its not worth ruining your health for it.
 

Ivy.ch

2+ Year Member
May 6, 2018
548
991
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
Each year of dental school was more stressful than the last. If D1 was too much for you mentally (and I don’t fault you, D1 sucks) I’d caution you away from going back. Seriously. Dental school is 4 years that age you at least 8.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
About the Ads
Jun 19, 2020
39
33
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
I can tell you that no matter what dental or PhD programs you compare, a PhD is vastly more difficult and stressful. The five years it took me to complete my PhD was the most difficult time of my life. Although it helped prepare me for dental school and the long hours of working, research will push you to your limit - I do not recommend anyone do it unless they LOVE it. Also the quality of life being a dentist is way way way better. I think you should take another jab at dental school if you can especially because of your situation.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Oct 8, 2020
98
56
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
I personally think that you should do whatever will make you happy! If you don't enjoy dentistry then I do not think that is the best path for you. You are very strong and it is never too late to switch career paths!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

S_Diamond_DDS

5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2015
630
481
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
People can mature drastically in a decade. I’m guessing you have built some coping mechanisms, taking medications that work, and have overcome some hardships of the real world. So you may be mentally ready now imo, but I also don’t know you. So only you can be the judge of that. That being said, many people struggle/ feel overwhelmed in dental school, but the trick is that they seek educational (or psych) help instead of dropping out. So if you go back to school, get help when needed from classmates, faculty, counselors, etc, don’t drop out.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Voltron2010

10+ Year Member
May 31, 2010
119
7
Status (Visible)
  1. Dentist
I was accepted into an out-of-state dental school on the West Coast a few years ago when I was about 25. It was one of the happiest days of my life when I got my acceptance call. I maintained a 3.55 GPA in undergrad and scored 23 A.A and 24 T.S. on the DAT. I worked extremely hard and made many sacrifices to get into dental school. Unfortunately, I had a lingering mental illness that only got worse when I started dental school; the overwhelming stress of moving 2,000 miles away from home and taking 13 classes simultaneously pushed me over the edge, and made me experience full-blown psychosis. I moved back to my home state after withdrawing in my first semester, and I spent a year blowing money and doing nothing productive before my family had had enough and petitioned me into a psychiatric hospital. I had to stay at the hospital for over a month and go through many different drugs before one finally knocked me back into my senses.

The experience of living with schizophrenia for nearly 10 years and being completely isolated during that time was a complete shock; i decided to take another year off school and rekindle with my family members who I had not spoken to in years. The trauma of my situation led me to contemplate suicide on multitudinous occasions. I'm sure my mental illness played a major role as to why I could not succeed in dental school, but I also feel that I didn't study enough and used the wrong study methods. I also realized early on that I didn't enjoy dentistry or very much like working with my hands. I struggle with depression nearly every day of my life.

I am currently 29 and have about $100,000 in student loans and am in a program to earn an M.S. degree. I was given the option of returning to dental school, but a part of me fears that I'll fail out of the program again. Or even if I do graduate from dental school, whether I'd be able to be licensed as a dentist.

I am considering going into a PhD program to become a researcher, but am unsure of what to do at this point. Any advice is appreciated, and thank you for reading this.
You already have a lot of debt, and dental school is very expensive, So your debt will only get worse. I have been practicing dentistry for 20 years and I have seen the renewal process change over the years. Now, they do ask about mental issues. Which means your application for a license will be flagged for further review. It does not mean your license will be rejected, but they may want you to be evaluated periodically. This you would need to decide if it is worth it.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

PerioDont

5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2015
622
676
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
I personally think that you should do whatever will make you happy! If you don't enjoy dentistry then I do not think that is the best path for you. You are very strong and it is never too late to switch career paths!
@soccerdude53149 I really mean this with all due respect but how can one truly know if they 'enjoy' dentistry or not...till they are actually a dentist? I don't really think it possible to really understand the field till you are in it, at which point it is way too late. Even a DS1/2 does not have a good understanding of dentistry imo.

I completely agree with @Ivy.ch. Dental school is a very stressful time in your life. Challenges can absolutely be overcome as you have demonstrated, but would it be worth another 3-400k in tuition on top of your existing 100k? Perhaps it may be for you, but it would likely not for me.

OP what is your Masters degree in? And what do you mean by given the option to go back to dental school? Have you applied and received an acceptance somewhere?
 

Ellatha

7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2013
140
107
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
@soccerdude53149 I really mean this with all due respect but how can one truly know if they 'enjoy' dentistry or not...till they are actually a dentist? I don't really think it possible to really understand the field till you are in it, at which point it is way too late. Even a DS1/2 does not have a good understanding of dentistry imo.

I completely agree with @Ivy.ch. Dental school is a very stressful time in your life. Challenges can absolutely be overcome as you have demonstrated, but would it be worth another 3-400k in tuition on top of your existing 100k? Perhaps it may be for you, but it would likely not for me.

OP what is your Masters degree in? And what do you mean by given the option to go back to dental school? Have you applied and received an acceptance somewhere?
My Master’s is in microbiology. I was told by the assistant dean that I could come back if I wanted, but I’d have to re-apply.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

2thDoc11

2+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2018
601
479
@soccerdude53149 I really mean this with all due respect but how can one truly know if they 'enjoy' dentistry or not...till they are actually a dentist? I don't really think it possible to really understand the field till you are in it, at which point it is way too late. Even a DS1/2 does not have a good understanding of dentistry imo.

I completely agree with @Ivy.ch. Dental school is a very stressful time in your life. Challenges can absolutely be overcome as you have demonstrated, but would it be worth another 3-400k in tuition on top of your existing 100k? Perhaps it may be for you, but it would likely not for me.

OP what is your Masters degree in? And what do you mean by given the option to go back to dental school? Have you applied and received an acceptance somewhere?
What were your thoughts on dentistry prior to matriculating? Was it a gamble or did you just hope that you’d enjoy it? Just curious
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Oct 8, 2020
98
56
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
@soccerdude53149 I really mean this with all due respect but how can one truly know if they 'enjoy' dentistry or not...till they are actually a dentist? I don't really think it possible to really understand the field till you are in it, at which point it is way too late. Even a DS1/2 does not have a good understanding of dentistry imo.

I completely agree with @Ivy.ch. Dental school is a very stressful time in your life. Challenges can absolutely be overcome as you have demonstrated, but would it be worth another 3-400k in tuition on top of your existing 100k? Perhaps it may be for you, but it would likely not for me.

OP what is your Masters degree in? And what do you mean by given the option to go back to dental school? Have you applied and received an acceptance somewhere?
Hi I do not think you read his forum correctly and I also disagree with you lol. In this case, he clearly stated that from his time in dental school he did not like dentistry. This is why I encouraged him not to go back to dental school. He was enrolled in dental school and dropped out.

I think the reason that you need shadowing hours and volunteer hours to apply to dental school is to make sure that you enjoy what you have seen in the field. If that did not give you the proper glimpse into dentistry, then many people are dental assistances to make sure that dentistry is right for them.

Dental school is obviously a huge investment so I do not know why anyone would go into dental school without thinking they enjoy dentistry.
 

PerioDont

5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2015
622
676
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
What were your thoughts on dentistry prior to matriculating? Was it a gamble or did you just hope that you’d enjoy it? Just curious
Sure. From my shadowing and talking to other docs I didn't think I would hate it. That may sound silly but to me a career is a means to an end and not my entire identity and life. I definitely enjoy parts of it, and dislike other parts, like you would in every single other career path which has its own pros and cons. I think the main thing is to analyze any career path and see if you can live with the pros and cons. The most obvious con here being the expensive tuition in dentistry.

More importantly, I thought it would fit my life goals of wanting a career in service, being my own boss, making a minimum of 200k/yr on a 4day work week, and building relationships with others which it definitely checks all those boxes.

My Master’s is in microbiology. I was told by the assistant dean that I could come back if I wanted, but I’d have to re-apply.
Are you prepared to re-take the DAT, and do all the other stuff needed? That is a challenge in of itself. I am not personally sure how licensing works. What was your plan after the Masters degree? Was that the associate dean of a dental school?

Hi I do not think you read his forum correctly and I also disagree with you lol. In this case, he clearly stated that from his time in dental school he did not like dentistry. This is why I encouraged him not to go back to dental school. He was enrolled in dental school and dropped out.

I think the reason that you need shadowing hours and volunteer hours to apply to dental school is to make sure that you enjoy what you have seen in the field. If that did not give you the proper glimpse into dentistry, then many people are dental assistances to make sure that dentistry is right for them.

Dental school is obviously a huge investment so I do not know why anyone would go into dental school without thinking they enjoy dentistry.
my apologies, you are right I misread things.

I guess I am looking from both sides of the coin here. I can't speak for the OP, but what I have seen from many DS is that they dislike D1 year, when you are learning a bunch of new skills and it is extremely stressful. Does that mean they hate dentistry? Not necessarily. They may just hate the challenge/stress/effort involved in that new skillset. Or like the OP mentioned, moving across the country and re-starting your life.

I don't really buy that much into this idea of being extremely 'passionate' about things. I have found that most people are not very passionate about anything. As you learn more and become better at things, chances are your passion will increase as well. E.g. if the OP fast forwarded and became a 40 year old baller GP making 500k a year would they still hate dentistry? Maybe. Maybe they would love it at that point. Life is constantly changing, and you may assume you love/hate something at some point and then change your mind afterwards and that is totally fine as well.

I definitely agree with you, becoming a dental assistant gives you an excellent insight into the field. The best you can really do as a pre-dent is give an educated guess on whether you could see yourself as a specific dentist and doing what he/she does on a daily basis. Then you live with your decision and make the best of things as you go along. Just my two cents.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Ellatha

7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2013
140
107
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
Are you prepared to re-take the DAT, and do all the other stuff needed? That is a challenge in of itself. I am not personally sure how licensing works. What was your plan after the Masters degree? Was that the associate dean of a dental school?

I really don't feel like I have the motivation to re-take the DAT and do all of the stuff necessary to re-apply to dental school. Yes that was the associate dean of the dental school who told me that.

What kind of drew me into a PhD was that I wouldn't have to take any major tests (my programs don't require the GRE). I also think the field requires less fine motor skills than dentistry.

I am considering going to medical school, but all of that studying seems bothersome to me. I don't know if I could study for 16 hours a day for another four years. But I think it would be enjoyable to make breakthroughs in fields and publish scientific papers.

The only downside is the money; five to seven years for a PhD where I'd make $25,000 a year, then post-docs for another six to eight years where I'd make $45,000 a year before I either went into industry or academia where I could make $80,000 - $120,000 a year, on average.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

PerioDont

5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2015
622
676
Status (Visible)
  1. Dental Student
I really don't feel like I have the motivation to re-take the DAT and do all of the stuff necessary to re-apply to dental school. Yes that was the associate dean of the dental school who told me that.

What kind of drew me into a PhD was that I wouldn't have to take any major tests (my programs don't require the GRE). I also think the field requires less fine motor skills than dentistry.

I am considering going to medical school, but all of that studying seems bothersome to me. I don't know if I could study for 16 hours a day for another four years. But I think it would be enjoyable to make breakthroughs in fields and publish scientific papers.

The only downside is the money; five to seven years for a PhD where I'd make $25,000 a year, then post-docs for another six to eight years where I'd make $45,000 a year before I either went into industry or academia where I could make $80,000 - $120,000 a year, on average.
Wow post-doc is 6-8 more years? That is quite a long time. I don't know much about PhD fields, I think there is a sub-forum on here though that you might be able to get advice from.

The question is whether that is better than spending 4 years going negative 400k for four years of dental school while your existing 100k is accruing. it may be difficult for you to even apply this upcoming cycle without having taken the DAT, so it would take at least three years for you to even get in.

If you are not feeling studying even for the DAT, then medical school will be very challenging assuming you could get in. It is literally just a series of tests. Today I took my NBDE part 2, and that will be my last test ever to become a general dentist in 4 years (already took WREB). There were several medical colleagues there, some residents, some med students, they have Step 1,2, and 3 on top of shelf exams every month of rotation 3rd and 4th year, and then dozens if not hundreds of exams M1 and M2 year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Ellatha

7+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2013
140
107
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
Wow post-doc is 6-8 more years? That is quite a long time. I don't know much about PhD fields, I think there is a sub-forum on here though that you might be able to get advice from.

The question is whether that is better than spending 4 years going negative 400k for four years of dental school while your existing 100k is accruing. it may be difficult for you to even apply this upcoming cycle without having taken the DAT, so it would take at least three years for you to even get in.

If you are not feeling studying even for the DAT, then medical school will be very challenging assuming you could get in. It is literally just a series of tests. Today I took my NBDE part 2, and that will be my last test ever to become a general dentist in 4 years (already took WREB). There were several medical colleagues there, some residents, some med students, they have Step 1,2, and 3 on top of shelf exams every month of rotation 3rd and 4th year, and then dozens if not hundreds of exams M1 and M2 year.

Only 15% of PhDs are reported to land tenure-track academic positions. There are simply too many PhDs and too few jobs, except in some fields (e.g., computer science). Many PhDs skip post-docs altogether and land jobs in industry, which are much more ample and pay better.

I'm also considering becoming a high school or community college teacher after I finish my Master's. It's a far cry from doctor, but I'm only getting older and have been through a lot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Aug 1, 2019
325
278
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
Only 15% of PhDs are reported to land tenure-track academic positions. There are simply too many PhDs and too few jobs, except in some fields (e.g., computer science). Many PhDs skip post-docs altogether and land jobs in industry, which are much more ample and pay better.

I'm also considering becoming a high school or community college teacher after I finish my Master's. It's a far cry from doctor, but I'm only getting older and have been through a lot.
Have you done research before? During undergrad or just as a job maybe?
 
Aug 1, 2019
325
278
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Dental
No. I'm currently doing research in my Master's program, however.
well then I’m sure you already know this but, if you don’t truly love research, like that’s what you live for, a PhD isn’t the greatest option. My first PI used to tell us that a PhD is essentially giving up 5-8 years for the purpose of research, eat sleep and breath protocols, manuscripts, and conferences. So it’s something you have to truly love doing, especially if you want to go into academia, and if you feel that way, then maybe a PhD is just what you need.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.