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Incoming dental student seeking resources to learn more

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I am an incoming dental student. I want to find out more about the path to specialization, what each specialization entails and to owning a practice as a family dentist. I have been scouring **DELETED** and SDN posts about the pros and cons of different options but am feeling overwhelmed. Do you have suggestions on resources for someone like me who is just starting off in my research?

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Hey, first of all congratulations on your acceptance! I’m also an incoming student and very excited to start. Now, take this with a grain of salt as I also have not started school and know very little about post graduation life. While I think it’s great you’re trying to think ahead, I think it’s also just as important to focus in the moment (easier said than done).

Learning about each specialization is definitely a good thing to do, however you can’t really know what you’ll end up excelling at/finding interesting until you start performing the procedures which correspond to each specialty. I think it’s common for incoming dental students to have idealize their plans after school, however, so much can change in those four years. You might find that although one specialty seemed really interesting at the start, you found yourself taking to the liking of another specialty. I think that this can cause people to fall down the path they thought they would like and just end up being miserable and having the “grass is always greener” mindset. 

I think that’s it’s just important to be really open minded about it, and not go into it bull-headed with your eyes on one specialty. Learning about each specialty is definitely helpful, but just ensure that you don’t force yourself to like a specialty once in school. 

I’m excited to talk to future colleagues and sharing ideas, so thank you for starting this discussion! 

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Thanks, that seems to be the general consensus I'm hearing. But I wish there was something I could read about the different paths after dentistry like opening a successful practice, working as an associate and tips for after dental school. I feel like just getting a global idea is good (I definitely know its better to wait until school to learn about the specifics of the different specializations). I would greatly appreciate any input!

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I agree with others that being an incoming dental student you have to remember to take one step at a time. Everyone around me has said get through first year before you look to add to your plate. However, I understand the desire to do all that you can to set yourself up for success in the future. Once school starts for you there will likely be many "lunch and learns" on a variety of topics including specialties and building your own practice. These are good baseline introductions to material and to individuals you can reach out to and ask questions one on one. If you are looking to do more before matriculation I would try to reach out specialists and ask them to coffee (virtual or otherwise right now). While the more technical side of specialties may go over your head now, you can talk about everything else involved in specializing eg. what is your daily routine like, what do you think it takes to succeed in this specialty, what are the pros and cons, why did you pick this specialty, etc. And if they are recent graduates they can talk to you about their own residency experience and the application process.

Most general and specialized dentists are sitting at home right now, so it might be a good time to set a virtual meeting up!

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OP, the reason you feel overwhelmed is because you have no context for all information you are compiling right now. It is really hard to know which specialty would be good for you before you've even picked up a hand piece. Sure, you may have an idea of which specialties interest you but until you start to learn about each one in dental school all you're going to do right now is overwhelm yourself. 

10 hours ago, LucyK said:

Thanks, that seems to be the general consensus I'm hearing. But I wish there was something I could read about the different paths after dentistry like opening a successful practice, working as an associate and tips for after dental school. I feel like just getting a global idea is good (I definitely know its better to wait until school to learn about the specifics of the different specializations). I would greatly appreciate any input!

The resources you mentioned already are pretty good for this stuff (SDN forums, dental town, face book groups, podcasts etc.). If you're feeling overwhelmed, again it's because you don't have any context yet. 

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While it's quite early in your career to make such a definitive decision, you bring up a valid question about where to resources to help make it easier to decide when the time is more appropriate.  Other people are great resources.  You can start small and talk to your dental school's faculty.  There should be a mix of dental specialists and general practitioners happy to provide some insight as to why they chose their respective paths.  Your own general dentist is another valuable resource and may also be able to refer you to others.  Opportunities may arise as you meet more people.

Other influences may be personal interest, finances, and possibly area of practice.   As you progress through dental school you'll find your own interest varies between different disciplines.  You may even come to dislike some fields.  Specialty school requires substantial commitment for time, finances, and family and normal life milestones may have to be deferred.  Before choosing a specialty, there needs to be reason to specialize, and I think an internal motivation is critical to success.

In terms of the path to specialization, just look up the application process provided by each school.  It's quite similar to the process for dentistry.  I don't think you should be stressed about trying to make an informed decision about specialization or which discpline now as you have to survive dental school first!  

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On 4/5/2020 at 9:40 PM, LucyK said:
I am an incoming dental student. I want to find out more about the path to specialization, what each specialization entails and to owning a practice as a family dentist. I have been scouring **DELETED** and SDN posts about the pros and cons of different options but am feeling overwhelmed. Do you have suggestions on resources for someone like me who is just starting off in my research?

In short you should focus on getting good grades (top of your class) if you want to specialize. If you want to own a practice, perfect your hand skills in sim lab. It's not easy, I learned it the hard way this year.

For resources, dental town, face book groups, or podcasts are the best way to go as someone mentioned here. 

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58 minutes ago, Starburst said:

In short you should focus on getting good grades (top of your class) if you want to specialize. If you want to own a practice, perfect your hand skills in sim lab. It's not easy, I learned it the hard way this year.

For resources, dental town, face book groups, or podcasts are the best way to go as someone mentioned here. 

Could you recommend us some cool podcasts or facebook groups? Thank you :)

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