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First off, Congrats! Ivy league is such a great achievement along with dental school. There are a lot of opportunities in both fields. Pick a profession where you can help patients and make a positive difference in their lives. Dentistry & medicine both allow that, although burnout may be higher in medicine (depends though). Ivy League MD would open a lot of doors for you in terms of residency in USA, especially if you want to specialize in something competitive at IVY league schools (BWH, Hopkins etc) and would also allow you to match in Canada easily since you will be in CMG stream. Dentistry in Canada is also amazing since you get to improve peoples oral health. It is also possible to combine it with medicine -OMS route ->eg. you can correct someones jaw that prevents them from doing basic things like eating. It is truly amazing to be able to serve patients, as such the work in dentistry and medicine are both awesome and I am sure you will succeed in either of them. Pick the profession where you think you will have good work life balance and also be able to serve patients and make a difference.

Good luck

Friedchicken

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The fact that you're so ambivalent leads me to suggest medicine. It encompasses so many specialties that you'd be hard pressed not to find something you're passionate about. Now, dentistry also has many sub-specialties but in the end, if you only like teeth but aren't passionate about them, you might not be as happy.

Now, in terms of lifestyle, your average dentist probably has a better lifestyle but medicine has, again, a lot of variety. GPs and many other specialties could probably achieve just as good a lifestyle as a dentist while earning more. If you're attracted to the procedural side of dentistry and also value lifestyle, I'd opt for dentistry because most of the procedural medical specialties are amongst the least lifestyle-friendly.

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If you get a needle stick and test positive for HIV or Hep C the following July in Ontario, you will have to stop practice if you are a surgeon.    The CPSO requires you have clean blood every year to practice.

I don't think the College of Dentistry has the same rules.

 

Dr. McGraw

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3 hours ago, quickdraw_mcgraw said:

If you get a needle stick and test positive for HIV or Hep C the following July in Ontario, you will have to stop practice if you are a surgeon.    The CPSO requires you have clean blood every year to practice.

I don't think the College of Dentistry has the same rules.

 

Dr. McGraw

I don't think someone should make a career decision based on the possibility of getting HIV/HCV (which is now curable btw, weak example).

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@aquanaut Are there areas of medicine you have some interest in at this point? There are many areas in medicine that have good lifestyle options, so to speak. Psychiatry, family medicine, PM&R, community pediatrics, and others. If you can see yourself being drawn to these areas, I would certainly give medicine a go. However, residency in most any area will require a lot of work hours and commitment. Monetarily, both medicine and dentistry allow you to earn a very, very good living. The caveats in medicine are that some specialties have fairly poor job markets in Canada right now and the CaRMS match to many specialties is becoming increasingly difficult.

Dentistry allows a great deal of flexibility in terms of where and how you operate your practice. Some urban centres are becoming difficult to have a full patient roster right now. There is also the added stress of operating your own practice with staff to support. To do well, you should be marketing/promotion savvy or have the willingness to invest in people who can help you in that area. Dentistry is also a lot less broad than medicine and that's something to keep in mind if it's important to you. The benefit is that the hours are yours to set, you can shape your own practice, and the location you practice is often very flexible. 

I am very happy I chose the path I did and had a previous career in a very unrelated area. I would do it again. That said, I have friends and colleagues in both medicine and dentistry who are unhappy. Best of luck to you! You're in an enviable position with many great opportunities in front of you. Congrats!

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On 4/11/2018 at 11:21 AM, Snowmen said:

The fact that you're so ambivalent leads me to suggest medicine. It encompasses so many specialties that you'd be hard pressed not to find something you're passionate about. Now, dentistry also has many sub-specialties but in the end, if you only like teeth but aren't passionate about them, you might not be as happy.

Now, in terms of lifestyle, your average dentist probably has a better lifestyle but medicine has, again, a lot of variety. GPs and many other specialties could probably achieve just as good a lifestyle as a dentist while earning more. If you're attracted to the procedural side of dentistry and also value lifestyle, I'd opt for dentistry because most of the procedural medical specialties are amongst the least lifestyle-friendly.

how much more do doctors make?

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Congrats! Do Medicine. I'm biased in that I care very little for dentistry. Unless you want a lifestyle of a GP and somehow also love teeth??? and also want to work with your hands, don't do it. 

The debate for you should mostly be between Ivy League US vs Canadian MD. If you are ambitious and can afford it (scholarship, financial aid, parents etc.) then I would choose the Ivy League US. Of course this would depend a bit on what Ivy League we are talking about, where you want to live, where you want to practice and what Canadian schools you get into as well. 

 

 

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A house, a car, a trip, you can all buy.
Being passionate about your profession, you can't.
Just do me a favour for now : don't think about the financial part.
You will make money in both professions.
Dentistry

  • Pros : great lifestyle, business opportunities, possibility to specialize and a combination of surgical, diagnostic and radiological of health.
  • Cons : limited job market in the public sector, private practice saturated in urban areas, generally limited to one anatomical area of the body.

Medicine

  • Pros : variety of specialties, diverse opportunities in public and private sector, more non-clinical opportunities.
  • Cons : job saturation, length of studies, quality of life is variable.

Medicine or Dentistry

Now of course, being passionate is a big statement.
In any profession, you will have days where you are unhappy.
You will have circumstances that make your work less enjoyable.
But I think that when you look at the big picture, you should be excited about your profession.
So the question should be : what profession will make me the happiest?

I am not a hippie, believe me.
But you should dig deep and try to assess what are your interests.
And if the answer is : I am not sure.
Then maybe medicine is a safer choice for you.
It offers a broader range of choices after your undergraduate medical studies.
I may be wrong but everyone can find something they love in terms of speciality.

I see dentistry as a medical specialty in itself. 
Therefore, I think you should be convinced that it is something you truly want to do.
For example, would you be ready to get into otolaryngology today if you had second thoughts?

American or Canadian

Regarding the American schools compared to the Canadian ones, I am biased.
I feel extremely lucky to have access to amazing education at affordable cost.
Most importantly, I want to practice here and chose to only apply to Canadian schools.

Beyond the prestige, think about what you are really getting out of it.
Sure, a Harvard type university sounds appealing.
Are you ready to live there and pay the costs?
It may be worth it if you want to practice there.

Congratulations and good luck ! :)

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Assuming you want to do family medicine or general dentistry, since these have the shortest training paths, IMO family medicine is a better career.

Although family medicine is a slightly tougher and longer training path, you'd have an easier time as an attending family physician than general dentist (less to worry about when it comes to running a clinic). Other than the training, the only other downside is if you don't like the family medicine clinic environment, which involves significantly fewer procedures day-to-day and a lot more script writing.

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Any advice anyone can give you will depend on what that person values, without knowing much of yours. And it's hard for anyone to give you the full story into both because none of us have done both. 

So the only piece of advice I have for you, is to think about the bread and butter of either option (assuming you will go into family medicine and general dentistry, which are among the most undifferentiated options). What would you rather do, if you are an average clinician making average money with an average patient load doing the bread and butter of either career?

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On 4/13/2018 at 7:11 PM, Snowmen said:

I don't think someone should make a career decision based on the possibility of getting HIV/HCV (which is now curable btw, weak example).

Yes, but I don't think they have developed a policy on what defines cure.  But they will immediately say you must stop practicing the second you test positive.  And that is on your electronic medical record...

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On 4/13/2018 at 7:11 PM, Snowmen said:

I don't think someone should make a career decision based on the possibility of getting HIV/HCV (which is now curable btw, weak example).

The career decision is whether the college will let you practice if you test positive.  They do not have a policy on cure, the only thing that matters is patient safety, your career does not factor into the CPSO's concerns.

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On 4/13/2018 at 7:11 PM, Snowmen said:

I don't think someone should make a career decision based on the possibility of getting HIV/HCV (which is now curable btw, weak example).

Here is the policy.

 

http://www.cpso.on.ca/Policies-Publications/Policy/Blood-Borne-Viruses

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You've got the world at your feet. A little too much selection. It means you're incredibly talented, intelligent, hard-working.

You've said lifestyle is huge, so let's look at things from that perspective. That basically encompasses income, hours, length of training, possibility for passive income, and possibly most importantly, stress & health aspects. I would assume you're basically coming at it from the perspective of "I don't want to spend too long in school, but I want to make a good living without working myself to the bone."

All of this is just my opinion, anyone can feel free to disagree

Dentistry
Pros

  • General dentistry has a much shorter length of training than any medical specialty, even family
    • In the same vein, if you are in general dentistry, there is rarely a requirement for you to do a residency
  • The top-earning dentists most likely out-earn the top-earning physicians
  • You are likely to have much more flexibility over your hours, regardless of whether you are a practice owner or an associate
  • You also have more control over the types of patients you see and the types of procedures you perform
  • Passive income is more prevalent in dentistry than it is in medicine, it is more common to earn a living without doing clinical work; this depends on your personality really
  • Depending on the field of medicine you're in or the types of patients you deal with, very rarely are you dealing with emergent, life or death, or extreme QOL-altering situations. Not that dental and oral issues are not impactful, but the ceiling is lower

Cons

  • Dental school itself is, in my opinion, more of an arduous experience than medical school (before residency)
  • The lowest-earning dentists likely earn far less than the lowest-earning physicians, and on average, dentists likely earn less than physicians as a whole
  • Ownership in dentistry is often the avenue to high income, unless you are a specialist; with some exceptions, there is a ceiling to how much you can make as an associate
  • Dentistry is competitive in urban areas; you may find yourself pushed to move away, practice far away, or otherwise leave urban areas that you may otherwise be able to easily/comfortably practice in as a physician
  • Passive income, though nice, comes with its own headaches. Practice ownership in dentistry is far more onerous than in medicine. Overhead is very high, the complexity of equipment & resources you need is significant, and many different types of staff are necessary
  • Dentists are the subject of litigation at a lower threshold compared to family physicians; often the risk of being sued or threatened operates with a hair trigger
  • If you don't like teeth, or don't like the manner in which the public views/approaches dentists, this can be a risk factor for burn out & compassion fatigue.
  • Clinical dentistry is difficult on the body. Physical burn-out is just as likely as mental burn-out.

Medicine

Pros

  • Medical school is a tight-knit, fun experience. In my opinion medical students have much more support and intra-professional resources than dental students do
  • You've got way, way more selection with respect to fields, disciplines, what you might be interested in. Don't underestimate this with respect to your lifestyle as liking what you do and the field you're in is paramount to avoiding compassion fatigue
  • When you are first out of school you are likely to earn just as much as, if not more than, the average fresh-out-of-school general dentist. You may also do this on a lighter workload (fewer clinical hours per week)
  • It's not as necessary as in dentistry to participate in practice ownership to earn a certain level of income, due to the possibility of higher, more rapid billables. This is of course field & location dependent, but I would say the level of ownership is likely lower due to it being less appealing overall with respect to income & autonomy compared to dentistry
  • You may enjoy higher levels of respect from the public; people come to both for help, but overall I would say dread going to the dentist more. This is a case of "I need to go see my doctor" vs. "I have to go see my dentist". It's subtle, but a consideration. How people deal with this is highly dependent on personality, but I can see it weighing on my colleagues differently.
  • Family medicine is far less physically strenuous than general dentistry
  • You'll never know what walks through the door! Heck, you might even get dental issues.

Cons

  • Length of training. Residency is tough.
  • Earning low income during your residency years can be a grind, especially as those around you are jumpstarting their careers. It pays off, but once again it's a comfort level thing.
  • You may not have as much flexibility with respect to hours compared to a general dentist.
  • There may be a lower ceiling to income compared to a general dentist who is very business minded. The variability is lower.
  • You may have to deal with emergent, life or death, extreme QOL-altering situations. This can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
  • You're more at the mercy of government legislation, health policy and tax issues than dentistry.
  • Holy poo that's a lot of paperwork.

 

Anyone can feel free to correct me on anything.

I'm very happy as a fresh-out-of-school DDS, earn a comfortable income, but it has its drawbacks. I also see that without specialization or practice ownership, there is a definite ceiling to income mandated by physical limitations (it's just too hard and exhausting to work more than I do right now). I'd say if you compared a family physician 2 years out of school compared to me, they may not make more overall, but likely make more per hour, and aren't as physically stressed as I am. 

OP, it's a tough choice, but overall you should feel lucky that you have such immense opportunity available to you. I'm sure you'll be comfortable and happy no matter what you decide to do. :)

 

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41 minutes ago, cleanup said:

You've got the world at your feet. A little too much selection. It means you're incredibly talented, intelligent, hard-working.

You've said lifestyle is huge, so let's look at things from that perspective. That basically encompasses income, hours, length of training, possibility for passive income, and possibly most importantly, stress & health aspects. I would assume you're basically coming at it from the perspective of "I don't want to spend too long in school, but I want to make a good living without working myself to the bone."

All of this is just my opinion, anyone can feel free to disagree

Dentistry
Pros

  • General dentistry has a much shorter length of training than any medical specialty, even family
    • In the same vein, if you are in general dentistry, there is rarely a requirement for you to do a residency
  • The top-earning dentists most likely out-earn the top-earning physicians
  • You are likely to have much more flexibility over your hours, regardless of whether you are a practice owner or an associate
  • You also have more control over the types of patients you see and the types of procedures you perform
  • Passive income is more prevalent in dentistry than it is in medicine, it is more common to earn a living without doing clinical work; this depends on your personality really
  • Depending on the field of medicine you're in or the types of patients you deal with, very rarely are you dealing with emergent, life or death, or extreme QOL-altering situations. Not that dental and oral issues are not impactful, but the ceiling is lower

Cons

  • Dental school itself is, in my opinion, more of an arduous experience than medical school (before residency)
  • The lowest-earning dentists likely earn far less than the lowest-earning physicians, and on average, dentists likely earn less than physicians as a whole
  • Ownership in dentistry is often the avenue to high income, unless you are a specialist; with some exceptions, there is a ceiling to how much you can make as an associate
  • Dentistry is competitive in urban areas; you may find yourself pushed to move away, practice far away, or otherwise leave urban areas that you may otherwise be able to easily/comfortably practice in as a physician
  • Passive income, though nice, comes with its own headaches. Practice ownership in dentistry is far more onerous than in medicine. Overhead is very high, the complexity of equipment & resources you need is significant, and many different types of staff are necessary
  • Dentists are the subject of litigation at a lower threshold compared to family physicians; often the risk of being sued or threatened operates with a hair trigger
  • If you don't like teeth, or don't like the manner in which the public views/approaches dentists, this can be a risk factor for burn out & compassion fatigue.
  • Clinical dentistry is difficult on the body. Physical burn-out is just as likely as mental burn-out.

Medicine

Pros

  • Medical school is a tight-knit, fun experience. In my opinion medical students have much more support and intra-professional resources than dental students do
  • You've got way, way more selection with respect to fields, disciplines, what you might be interested in. Don't underestimate this with respect to your lifestyle as liking what you do and the field you're in is paramount to avoiding compassion fatigue
  • When you are first out of school you are likely to earn just as much as, if not more than, the average fresh-out-of-school general dentist. You may also do this on a lighter workload (fewer clinical hours per week)
  • It's not as necessary as in dentistry to participate in practice ownership to earn a certain level of income, due to the possibility of higher, more rapid billables. This is of course field & location dependent, but I would say the level of ownership is likely lower due to it being less appealing overall with respect to income & autonomy compared to dentistry
  • You may enjoy higher levels of respect from the public; people come to both for help, but overall I would say dread going to the dentist more. This is a case of "I need to go see my doctor" vs. "I have to go see my dentist". It's subtle, but a consideration. How people deal with this is highly dependent on personality, but I can see it weighing on my colleagues differently.
  • Family medicine is far less physically strenuous than general dentistry
  • You'll never know what walks through the door! Heck, you might even get dental issues.

Cons

  • Length of training. Residency is tough.
  • Earning low income during your residency years can be a grind, especially as those around you are jumpstarting their careers. It pays off, but once again it's a comfort level thing.
  • You may not have as much flexibility with respect to hours compared to a general dentist.
  • There may be a lower ceiling to income compared to a general dentist who is very business minded. The variability is lower.
  • You may have to deal with emergent, life or death, extreme QOL-altering situations. This can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
  • You're more at the mercy of government legislation, health policy and tax issues than dentistry.
  • Holy poo that's a lot of paperwork.

 

Anyone can feel free to correct me on anything.

I'm very happy as a fresh-out-of-school DDS, earn a comfortable income, but it has its drawbacks. I also see that without specialization or practice ownership, there is a definite ceiling to income mandated by physical limitations (it's just too hard and exhausting to work more than I do right now). I'd say if you compared a family physician 2 years out of school compared to me, they may not make more overall, but likely make more per hour, and aren't as physically stressed as I am. 

OP, it's a tough choice, but overall you should feel lucky that you have such immense opportunity available to you. I'm sure you'll be comfortable and happy no matter what you decide to do. :)

 

If you don't mind me asking, how many hours do you work per week?

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19 minutes ago, Friendlyapplicant said:

If you don't mind me asking, how many hours do you work per week?

Clinical hours I alternate 4 to 5 days a week (30 hours then 36 hours). It's the fifth day that kills me, even if it's only a short 6 hour day. mainly because I commute a lot. One of my offices is 88 km from my home, which is about a 55 min drive at high speed (don't tell the OPP). The other varies between a 30-45 minute drive. I am lifestyle oriented as well so I count commute time as part of my 'work hours,' so in reality I probably work maybe 36-44 hours a week.

I am considering consolidating some of my hours so that I work longer days but fewer days. However, working a 12 hour day with commuting is absolutely brutal, even if I do have the day off the next day. This is why ownership is the way to go in the long-term; much more autonomy and control over your hours and schedule.

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