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The Future Of Dentistry Is Cr*p...

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Excuse my language but I have no other way to put it..after reading this thread it really makes me wonder if pursuing this passion is really worth it and I wanted to see what you think about it. 

 

It's very competitive to get into a dental school in Canada and it takes a lot of schooling, late nights studying and hard work. I know people will say "well if you like the work don't think about the money" I think it's bullcr*p. Don't get me wrong, I shadowed dentists and I love the work, but if financial security and a good income are "rare" in dentistry or will become like that, I'm starting to have second thoughts. 

 

Do you think dental clinics will become all chains like some pharmacy companies?...where you are a slave to the owners and You will do whatever they decide they want you to do to make them more money? Where you will be hired for cheap with no other choice because if you open your own dental practise it will fail? Thinking of the future of dentistry is scary and I'm wondering if dentists are even still respected as they should be. 

 

I'm surprised the average income for dentists isn't lower than 100k right now considering how many dental practises are open due to the over-saturation. Over the years, will it become worse? 

 

My intentions are not to rant but I think pre-dental students, including me, have a wrong conception of what this "profession" entails or what it will entail in the next few years. Dentists are health care professionals and should be treated that way, but the way Canada is allowing pretty much anyone to practise in their country is ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous. 

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i think corporations are taking over because of how poorly dental clinics are run! They can take over because they know how to run a practice!. The future is in your hands, my friend. I think the successful dentists are the ones who implement great dental systems and run their practices very efficently. the ones who adapt to change and have great systems in place will thrive for many years to come and generate a lot of wealth. I have been to many offices that are run very poorly and these guys won't make it! i guarantee you! their front desk staff misses calls and can't convert phone calls to schedules, high front fees, limited payment options and so many other barriers to get new patients. they have collection problems with so much past due claims, unscheduled treatment and over due accounts. its so bad!! I think we, future dentists, need to learn how to efficiently run a practice in order to survive and keep this profession going forward. please take as many CE courses in business and marketing, practice management and really learn how to run a business. Best of luck to you! Future is in our hands!! 

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i think corporations are taking over because of how poorly dental clinics are run! They can take over because they know how to run a practice!. The future is in your hands, my friend. I think the successful dentists are the ones who implement great dental systems and run their practices very efficently. the ones who adapt to change and have great systems in place will thrive for many years to come and generate a lot of wealth. I have been to many offices that are run very poorly and these guys won't make it! i guarantee you! their front desk staff misses calls and can't convert phone calls to schedules, high front fees, limited payment options and so many other barriers to get new patients. they have collection problems with so much past due claims, unscheduled treatment and over due accounts. its so bad!! I think we, future dentists, need to learn how to efficiently run a practice in order to survive and keep this profession going forward. please take as many CE courses in business and marketing, practice management and really learn how to run a business. Best of luck to you! Future is in our hands!! 

I think what you said does play a role but it goes beyond that. No matter how good your practice is run, there are still so many practises around yours that's closer to patients and they will ultimately choose the other one instead of yours due to less travel time. As for the chains, if they become popular, then you'll have no chance against them because they will be much more recognized and known to the general public. You will then have to work for them for an under average salary whilst having a boss that treats you like a slave and not a professional. That's what I'm scared of. I don't plan on studying 4 years in a professional school only to be a slave to a big dental chain. 

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I think what you said does play a role but it goes beyond that. No matter how good your practice is run, there are still so many practises around yours that's closer to patients and they will ultimately choose the other one instead of yours due to less travel time. As for the chains, if they become popular, then you'll have no chance against them because they will be much more recognized and known to the general public. You will then have to work for them for an under average salary whilst having a boss that treats you like a slave and not a professional. That's what I'm scared of. I don't plan on studying 4 years in a professional school only to be a slave to a big dental chain. 

 

you don't need to be a slave to dental chain! if you open a practice next to a dental chain and offer nothing to get a competitive edge over the big dental chain then you are in trouble, but in the right demographics and with having the right vision you will make a good living. 

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you don't need to be a slave to dental chain! if you open a practice next to a dental chain and offer nothing to get a competitive edge over the big dental chain then you are in trouble, but in the right demographics and with having the right vision you will make a good living. 

 

It's way easier said than done. That's like saying open a private retail store with the right vision next to a Wal-Mart and you won't go out of business. Retail chains aren't my big concern since there's only like 2 big ones in Canada and they don't even own that many clinics...my bigger concern is the over-saturation. With the amount of options the consumers now have with all the dental practises, you won't nearly be as busy and your billings might be cut by half. Then the average dentist salary would be 70k a year...who's to say that's not gonna happen? The only thing giving me hope is that according to the CDA, about 30% of dentists in Canada are over 55 years old, meaning there will be a lot of retiring in the next few years, but probably not early enough to at least be "only saturated" . I might even be reading the graph wrong, here's the link:

https://www.cda-adc.ca/en/services/fact_sheets/distributionDentistAgeGroupProvince.asp

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Yep.

It's a little dicey out there right now and it will be interesting to see where it goes. Definitely do your research and figure out if this career is something you really want to do because it's definitely not what people think and it's not what it used to be.

 

Is it crap? No. But that depends on your definition of crap, doesn't it? For me, it's ideal for how I want to work, I'm actually really happy with very little stress, but I chose this career specifically for it being amenable to working reduced hours and still generating a solid salary.

 

Figure out what your deal breakers are, and then figure out what your goals are, and then try to figure out a career that meets both.

 

There's risk in any career choice, but I've said many times that choosing dental school opens a very limited set of doors and closes all others.

 

Is dentistry worth it??

Who bloody knows....depends on what your priorities are.

 

With the way it's looking right now, dentistry is looking a lot like optometry and pharmacy with all the dental chains. We're in a transitional stage right now so it's very risky to enter this profession. If the majority of dental clinics end up being franchises, then the prestige will be close to none and the salaries will most likely be under 100k for a long time. Once a big corporation starts to take over, there's nothing you can do about it, at least that's how I see it. You will be forced to work for a big company and no longer have the freedom and FUN of working with small groups/family owned practises. That's what I enjoyed most when I shadowed, the dentist told me that the practise was handed down to him from his dad, and it made me think of how fun it would be to work in small groups instead of for a big chains, you know what I mean? 

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I was in Muskoka/Bracebridge area recently and I was surprised to see two billboard ads on highway 11 (Dental Office now open!) and heard several radio ads on the local FM station for local dentists. Competition is not just a Toronto/big city problem any more. We are very soon going to run out of places to put new dentists - even if they are willing to be far from a major centre.

 

I'm pessimistic but I think it's very possible that in 10-20 years I might not be doing this job any more, simply due to economic realities.

 

As I think about it, the one thing that will help in the future is the banks themselves. Sooner or later (probably sooner) enough of these new grads with $300-500K+ debt are going to be defaulting on their loans and the banks will have to stop funding tuition. I believe we are within a decade of that happening. That should make for an interesting scenario for the entire dental industry.

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I was in Muskoka/Bracebridge area recently and I was surprised to see two billboard ads on highway 11 (Dental Office now open!) and heard several radio ads on the local FM station for local dentists. Competition is not just a Toronto/big city problem any more. We are very soon going to run out of places to put new dentists - even if they are willing to be far from a major centre.

 

I'm pessimistic but I think it's very possible that in 10-20 years I might not be doing this job any more, simply due to economic realities.

 

As I think about it, the one thing that will help in the future is the banks themselves. Sooner or later (probably sooner) enough of these new grads with $300-500K+ debt are going to be defaulting on their loans and the banks will have to stop funding tuition. I believe we are within a decade of that happening. That should make for an interesting scenario for the entire dental industry.

 

Exactly, I keep hearing about "the major cities" being oversaturated but not the "rural areas" but I think it's wrong...they're EVERYWHERE. Dentists are willing to go anywhere right now due to the over saturation and that's causing the smaller cities as well to be saturated. It's not a big city problem, it's a canada wide problem. 

 

Oh absolutely.

I have no intention of doing this for more than the next 20 years. I'm aiming for the next 10-15 to save my low target amount for retirement and then anything else after that will be bonus and because I'm still enjoying working. Otherwise I'll do something else.

 

I don't envy new grads over the next several years. I'm very happy that my particular goals are easy to achieve in the industry right now. I think it is very important for people to get a more realistic sense of what this career involves now before they jump in head first. It's a much more nuanced calculation that it used to be. There's a lot more than "hmm, I think I want to be a dentist, that sounds like a good career choice!"

 

I don't like the general doom and gloom of discouraging people, it *can* be great and lucrative, but there are a lot more factors to consider now than there used to be.

 

I don't discourage poeple, but I do caution them heavily to try and understand what they are getting into and to question deeply their expectations and motivations.

 

I may be happy and comfortable but I know A LOT of miserable and stressed out dentists who would go back and do something else if they knew.

For many pre-dents, they will start practising in 5-6 years when things will *probably* be much worse than they are now. You're lucky you graduated in 2013, but as for anyone who hasn't yet started dental school, I would think long and hard about it tbh...

 

What are these miserable dentists mainly stressed about?

Over saturation....dental clinics are everywhere and it's easy for foreign trained dentists to practise in Canada. 

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there is saturation for sure and in some areas you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a dentist, but dentistry is still a low risk business with high margins. most of you guys probably don't have any real work experience other than dentistry. I used to be a research chemist and my hours were horrible with a very low pay and eventually got laid off. Its really tough out there and all the other fields are saturated and not easy to get a job. The golden age of dentistry is  maybe over and definitely its not what it used to be, but I pick it over any other career. 

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there is saturation for sure and in some areas you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a dentist, but dentistry is still a low risk business with high margins. most of you guys probably don't have any real work experience other than dentistry. I used to be a research chemist and my hours were horrible with a very low pay and eventually got laid off. Its really tough out there and all the other fields are saturated and not easy to get a job. The golden age of dentistry is  maybe over and definitely its not what it used to be, but I pick it over any other career. 

 

What you described is exactly what dentistry is becoming. If you work as an associate and you aren't billing enough to profit the practise, the owner will eventually lay you off and if it continues he'll probably go out of business. Canada's trying to get dentists to work in rural cities and their thought process is to train more dentists hoping that some will work in the middle of nowhere. That's leading to no one going to rural areas and over saturating all major cities to the point where even if some dentists are leaving major cities, there will still be over saturation everywhere. It's tough to explain but I hope I'm getting my point across. 

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This is very much my point. People need to be realistic, but that's the same with all careers.

 

I know a lot of miserable dentists because they went in with outdated expectations. It's not doom and gloom, but there are realities and alternative careers should be looked at seriously and critically

 

dentistry used to be head and head with medicine, but the CMA doesn't let foreign trained MD's come and practise in Canada easily like the CDA does...The CMA also doesn't accredit foreign med schools like CDA does. The CDA's thought process is just wrong. I know  they're trying to ensure that rural residents have reasonable access to care, but training that many dentists and allowing them to come to Canada is just bad. It's adding chaos to the already saturated profession. 

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dentistry used to be head and head with medicine, but the CMA doesn't let foreign trained MD's come and practise in Canada easily like the CDA does...The CMA also doesn't accredit foreign med schools like CDA does. The CDA's thought process is just wrong. I know they're trying to ensure that rural residents have reasonable access to care, but training that many dentists and allowing them to come to Canada is just bad. It's adding chaos to the already saturated profession.

The CDA has nothing to do with it. The dental organizations are unhappy with this situation. This is being caused by the federal Fairness Commissioner (yes, such a title exists) and the NDEB.

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I don't think it's dead, however I do think that like every other field of business globalization has taken its toll on the monopoly that locally trained dentist once had. Regardless of whether you go into the dental business or any another form of business you need to recognize that the business landscape is changing rapidly and everyone regardless of industry will tell you that "its not like it once was". I unfortunately don't think there is much we can do in dentistry to stop the influx of international graduates except for making stricter requirements for licensing and such which as ostracized mentioned is up to the "fairness commissioner" (the most bureaucratic title I've ever seen)  

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Medicine is also facing a lot of difficulties. For example one of the most prickly issue in the recent negotiation between OMA and ON government is that with skyrocketing costs the governments want physicians to foot the bill for overusage. I think this is just tip of the iceberg in terms of unsustainable public system. While physicians have the benefit of being paid by the government, it's also a curse at the same time, because as it's happened in ON, the government can slash your fees at its whims because it's a demand monopoly. 

 

I would concur that whether you're a dentist or physician, sooner or later there's a real chance you'll end up just being an overpaid employee in the eyes of the system. Financial security is definitely deteriorating, and more than ever new graduates needs to be more aware of their long term financial goals.

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Medicine is also facing a lot of difficulties. For example one of the most prickly issue in the recent negotiation between OMA and ON government is that with skyrocketing costs the governments want physicians to foot the bill for overusage. I think this is just tip of the iceberg in terms of unsustainable public system. While physicians have the benefit of being paid by the government, it's also a curse at the same time, because as it's happened in ON, the government can slash your fees at its whims because it's a demand monopoly. 

 

I would concur that whether you're a dentist or physician, sooner or later there's a real chance you'll end up just being an overpaid employee in the eyes of the system. Financial security is definitely deteriorating, and more than ever new graduates needs to be more aware of their long term financial goals.

 

I don't understand why even if there's a shortage of doctors in Canada (or so they say), how come the OMA doesn't accredit foreign dental school and allow internationally trained MD's to come practise here? Wouldn't that solve the problem? Apparently that's what the government thought when they opened that door for internationally trained dentists. 

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While I'm glad this is a topic that people are engaged in, and Im thankful for all this information from everyone, my goodness this is depressing and it makes me really feel uneasy about where I'm headed. 

 

I always wanted to become a dentist but now I'm having second thoughts, as an undergrad student I really need to think twice about this. I envisioned having my own practise with financial security/comfortable income, not looking around the country for a place to work. It seems like that's where we're heading. I wish it was still a prestigious profession. I still don't understand why it's competitive to get into dental school in Canada....it isn't even that rewarding anymore....smh

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There are more than enough MDs in urban and even many suburban centres which is why many have issues finding work in those areas. Rural is a different story.

 

Here's an idea, let's accredit foreign medical schools and let anyone practise in our country. That should help the situation and out of the 1000 foreign MD's, at least 3-4 will go to rural areas, right? 

 

I hope you can see my sarcasm. 

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