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Chuck NOracle DMD
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Jul 29, 2008
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So you’re a D4 now, time to start preparing for life after dental school! Here’s my advice:

1) Specialty, GPR, or general dentistry
Most of you will have this decided already. Specializing? Great! Go for it. If not, time to get to work. If you feel fairly competent, do not sign up for a GPR. Those are designed to get you some experience but you’re leaving money/ autonomy/ career building time, on the table. You’re a working student. You’re not a master dentist yet and that’s not a reason to worry. You’ll be leaning more about dentistry for the rest of your career, so don’t panic. I learned to place implants as an associate dentist, and I did it while making a lot more than a resident, and working way way less. Also I figured out endo and CEREC all while being an associate.

2) Decide WHERE you want to practice and start making moves.
If you plan on living/practicing in a major metropolitan area, Southern California, NYC, you’re gonna have to pay the price to be there. It’s competitive! And starting salary will reflect that. Don’t worry, after 5 years you’ll be doing as well as anywhere else but you’ll be where you want to be. Start scouting for possible jobs 6months prior to graduating. You don’t want to wait till you’ve already graduated to start looking. If you’re looking to come to California, it takes about 4-6weeks to get your licenses to practice, so save some of that student loan money!

3) Getting Paid (California)
I can only really speak to Southern California rates.
So, there’s safety in salary and daily minimums but that safety will cost more than it’s worth. New dentists can expect $450-$550 a day which is very low. The more rural areas can get to $700 a day. From what I’ve seen it’s always better to get paid for what you do. Why should the owner dentist pay you if a patient cancels? They’re making money having you there, that’s why you’re there. Don’t forget it.
The better compensations are a % of what you do. Usually it’s 25-35% of either production or collection. Do whatever you can do get paid as a % of production. Keeping track of how much you produce is easy! The front desk can print you out your “day sheet” every day that shows what you’ve done. Do the math and you’ll know what to expect on your check.
If you’re on % of collection that’s tricky. What happens when you do work on one patient and the owner doc does work on that patient’s family member? When the check for some of that work comes in, the owner doc could keep it and pay you last. Or what happens when the patient you worked on gets something complimentary from the front desk. Like the xrays or build ups? What if you leave that office? You’ll need to keep calling for 3 months to figure out if you should have more money coming your way as insurance payments come in? Skip the headache. I’d rather get 25% production than 30% collection.

Ok this has been long enough I gotta go seat a crown. Hope this was helpful
 
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PerioDont

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D4 here - I applied for perio, interviews etc went well enough. Match day is Nov 20.

The thing I'm struggling a bit with is that unlike many of my other classmates who applied for specialties I actually don't dislike anything in GP practice. I would say I enjoy surgery/implants, but honestly I also enjoy making CEREC crowns and composites.

How do you know that you truly want to specialize or not?
 

Oracle DMD

Chuck NOracle DMD
Moderator Emeritus
Jul 29, 2008
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San Diego
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  1. Dentist
D4 here - I applied for perio, interviews etc went well enough. Match day is Nov 20.

The thing I'm struggling a bit with is that unlike many of my other classmates who applied for specialties I actually don't dislike anything in GP practice. I would say I enjoy surgery/implants, but honestly I also enjoy making CEREC crowns and composites.

How do you know that you truly want to specialize or not?

It sounds like you might prefer prosth! There are a few perio/prosth dual residencies I believe. Penn I think had one. Best of both worlds! I know a good one (dual specialist) if you’d like to talk to one.
 
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Aug 28, 2020
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Thank you so much for your advice
I am a D4 outside the USA ( I am from Jordan ) and specializing after dental school is a must here to survive since the country is saturated with general dentists
Honestly I am thinking of moving to a foreign country to specialize since both education and paying are way more better than here
But the struggle is that I do not know where to start from and I still do not know what I like in dentistry
I like the theory part, but currently I hate clinics-many people say that practicing in the private is totally different from the school and that I will change my mind
How to know what I like if I already hate the clinics?
 
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drseplo

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Apr 8, 2018
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Just playing devils advocate here.

Current GPR resident at a big hospital. Dental school was amazing and I learned a lot. On the other hand my GPR has opened my eyes to the jaw dropping amount of stuff that I didn't know both from a dentistry perspective and medical perspective.

Anyone that goes for a GPR, do your research. Make sure you are going to a place that will train you not some place where its a 5th year of dental school.

Just my 2 cent.
 
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TanMan

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If future dentists were to pursue a gpr, I'd look into what the program has to offer, the practicality of the training, and whether you are passionate on whatever they focus on. For example, if you don't want to treat special needs, autistic, or geriatric patients, probably shouldn't go into a GPR where you're treating that specific population. I already knew in dental school what I didn't want to do and although it amazes me that some people have passion for difficult patients/subsets of the population, I'm all for the path of least resistance to maximize profitability. Unless there's some special training that you couldn't get from an associateship or weekend CE course, it's probably best to get thrown into the fire of private practice to build speed/skill.
 
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luisfigo

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I've definitely heard that GPR's are not very helpful for the large majority of the way general dentists practice.
 
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Generally speaking .... real life practicing, experience, trial and error, seeing what works and doesn't work, good CE, mentorships, etc. etc. probably trumps DS and residencies. DS and residencies will teach you the basics. The fundamentals. Quite frankly .... alot of the stuff I learned in DS (gold foil, amalgams, etc. etc.) were obsolete a few years after I graduated. The same can be said of residencies. To this day ... I literally do not use any method I learned in ortho residency in treating my patients. But I use the fundamentals that I was taught everyday.

Another item that isn't mentioned here is that in a good residency .... you are taught to be a CRITICAL THINKER. You are not swayed by CE speakers with a financial interest involved. You can read CE articles and observe CE speakers with a more critical mind set. Part of defending a thesis in residency is to understand critical thinking.

Now. I agree. If your focus is geriatric dentistry (omg :eek: ) .... then of course .... some additional training will be useful.
 
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Jul 16, 2020
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Do grades/class rank matter if I want to work in a competitive area?

Does completing a GPR/AEGD allow me to earn a better salary comp than becoming an associate immediately after graduating?
 
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Do grades/class rank matter if I want to work in a competitive area?

Does completing a GPR/AEGD allow me to earn a better salary comp than becoming an associate immediately after graduating?
Grades/class rank don't matter if youre going right into practice. They only matter for GPR or residencies. If you're wanting to work in a saturated area, doing a GPR isn't going to give you a better salary either unless you gain a specific skill set (proficient in implants, third molars, etc) in your GPR that can set you apart from a new grad.
 

Needmyphone

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Oct 28, 2014
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I’m setting out to work corporate until I can own my own practice. Get my speed up, learn how to place implants and do more surgeries, learn how to be profitable, and move on with my life.
 
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