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Dentist up north / yellowknife


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Hi everyone,

 

I have a big amount of debts from school and life and I was wondering what could be my options as a dentist once I graduate from school. 

Has anyone here been working up north? I have a friend who went to yellowknife and told me he made a lot of money but I don't know if he is exaggerating because 350k-400k a year when you are a fresh new grad... i tend to doubt it :/  A lot of people would go to yellowknife or the middle of nowhere if it were true.

 

Also, how was the experience? How are the people there? The work conditions etc.

 

Thanks!

 

Doomz

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I do occasional work in remote northern Ontario on a salaried basis.  The money is good for me as an associate working in Toronto full time, but for others it wouldn't be seen as that high.  Mostly I enjoy the work and find it rewarding.  

Now, regarding a new grad associate making $300K+ in northern Canada?  I'm a bit skeptical though I won't go so far as to say it is impossible.

I know that, even under ideal circumstance (very high patient load) I probably would max out at $250,000.  And no, I don't earn that much.  That's just what I would consider my ideal income under normal circumstances.

Now, I could perhaps earn more than that, but there would have to be some combination of:

-High procedure fees

-Longer than 40 hours per week

-An above average (>40%) cut of production.

In order to earn $400,000 I'd need to bill $4000 per day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.  I'd be surprised if I billed more than $4000 even once or twice a year!

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  • 7 months later...
On 7/24/2018 at 8:17 PM, Ostracized said:

I do occasional work in remote northern Ontario on a salaried basis.  The money is good for me as an associate working in Toronto full time, but for others it wouldn't be seen as that high.  Mostly I enjoy the work and find it rewarding.  

Now, regarding a new grad associate making $300K+ in northern Canada?  I'm a bit skeptical though I won't go so far as to say it is impossible.

I know that, even under ideal circumstance (very high patient load) I probably would max out at $250,000.  And no, I don't earn that much.  That's just what I would consider my ideal income under normal circumstances.

Now, I could perhaps earn more than that, but there would have to be some combination of:

-High procedure fees

-Longer than 40 hours per week

-An above average (>40%) cut of production.

In order to earn $400,000 I'd need to bill $4000 per day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.  I'd be surprised if I billed more than $4000 even once or twice a year!

Billing $4000 per day would be possible depending on the procedures you are performing (crowns, bridges, root canals, implants) . If you are the only dentist in the surrounding area, I can totally see this happen. But like you, I'm still kind of skeptical even though i've heard about people earning $300-500k up north.

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On 7/22/2018 at 2:01 PM, Doomz said:

Hi everyone,

 

I have a big amount of debts from school and life and I was wondering what could be my options as a dentist once I graduate from school. 

Has anyone here been working up north? I have a friend who went to yellowknife and told me he made a lot of money but I don't know if he is exaggerating because 350k-400k a year when you are a fresh new grad... i tend to doubt it :/  A lot of people would go to yellowknife or the middle of nowhere if it were true.

  

Also, how was the experience? How are the people there? The work conditions etc.

 

Thanks!

 

Doomz

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/top-dentists-working-on-first-nation-reserves-take-home-200k-640k-a-year

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On 3/7/2019 at 2:11 AM, saskdent009 said:

Don't doubt it. I've seen higher compensation for dentists fresh out in the great white north. Granted these guys are working 8+ hr days 6-7 days a week. I was flipping through a dentistry journal with job postings matching your description. These kind of jobs aren't really publicly posted and you need to know where to look. 

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/top-dentists-working-on-first-nation-reserves-take-home-200k-640k-a-year

It's really difficult to figure out where certain numbers come from and where they rest. Keep in mind that these top dentists pulling in high 6, low 7 figures a year are likely owner-operators earning money from hygiene and other dentists as well.

As discussed above the only associates I know doing above $250-300k a year are very seasoned, working 5-6 days a week and working very fast. Personally I can't stomach the physicality of it. I need to slow down in order to protect my body and make sure I don't feel like absolute trash after only half a day. 

I do well above average for associates and by no means really want to earn more if it means working harder. I'd rather work smarter.

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Or just do what 3 out of the 4 last dentists ive visited do: Realize you have good coverage and bill insurance more scaling units than they actually did.  I've pointed it out each time and they get an embarrasing flabbergasted look, like "why do you care, you're not paying anyways".  or "oh no no, the secretary must have punched it in wrong...." despite overhearing the dentist tell them "x units for patient A". 

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22 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

Or just do what 3 out of the 4 last dentists ive visited do: Realize you have good coverage and bill insurance more scaling units than they actually did.  I've pointed it out each time and they get an embarrasing flabbergasted look, like "why do you care, you're not paying anyways".  or "oh no no, the secretary must have punched it in wrong...." despite overhearing the dentist tell them "x units for patient A". 

I didn't think this was a thread to air out complaints or dirty laundry. That said, not that I'm saying there aren't sketchy practices like this abound, but it's certainly not isolated to dentistry.

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39 minutes ago, cleanup said:

I didn't think this was a thread to air out complaints or dirty laundry. That said, not that I'm saying there aren't sketchy practices like this abound, but it's certainly not isolated to dentistry.

Haha sorry, just throwing in anecdote of how some practitioners(yes, not just dentistry, happens in medicine too), increase their take home income :)

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4 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

Haha sorry, just throwing in anecdote of how some practitioners(yes, not just dentistry, happens in medicine too), increase their take home income :)

Every time I've needed a minor in-office surgical procedure from a physician (namely ENT & derm) I've been billed out of pocket for it. There's always some reason. They need a particular instrument or technique not covered by OHIP. Or, more worryingly, I was billed for something completely different on the derm side of things because it wasn't OHIP covered and could be fee for service, whereas the actual OHIP code I should have been billed reimbursed the MD at maybe 1/5 what I actually paid.

Reason being? That I can afford it and I needed the procedure.

Funny thing this derm office was grossly disorganized and one of the assistants literally accidentally left an OHIP fee guide lying around in my room while I was waiting. I took a glance and to be frank, I was pretty surprised at how low a lot of the reimbursement is.

In the end it's just money and I didn't really care, but still left a bad taste in my mouth, especially given that I'm no stranger to unscrupulous clinicians. 

In the case of the article linked above the billings are high because a) admittedly, many folks on reserves have plenty of dental issues, for a litany of multifactorial reasons, and b) for certain procedures there's no need to submit for pre-approvals and no question as to "why was this done?". I'm sure plenty of gray-area unnecessary treatment is done.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/13/2019 at 5:33 PM, #YOLO said:

Dental students love saying this. “Il go up north and make 500k for 6 months then come back and vacay for 6”

Let's assume you're paid 40% of billings. That means you have to bill $1.25 million (after lab fee deductions) in 6 months. That's ~210k a month or 52.5k a week. That's 10.5k a day on 5 days. Even on 50% of billings it's still billing $10k a day.

Are they some sort of robotic machine that's made of carbon fibre & titantium? Forgive me for my skepticism.

Visiting oral surgeons can bill 5 figures daily on the regular (but I doubt many of them bother working 5 days a week, month after month), but as a fresh grad staring at Northern Canada teeth, MODBL caries & gross fractures inside thick, solid bone, I'm not so sure. 

If you manage to do that for 6 months, when you come back the concept of vacation won't even make sense. You'll be a different person. You'll also be disabled.

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On 3/13/2019 at 5:33 PM, #YOLO said:

Dental students love saying this. “Il go up north and make 500k for 6 months then come back and vacay for 6”

Dental students also say: "I'll open up three practices in the first three years and start making 500k/year net easily with banks fully financing practices with good cash flow". Not sure how you can live with 3m in practice loans, 200k dental school debt, mortgage and yearly expenses on top with the high tax brackets in this country....

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On 3/23/2019 at 1:08 PM, human instinct said:

Exactly this! 

I have seen billings of 10k per day but only in a GA heavy practice with a pediatric dentist who billed out 1-2k per pt seeing 5-6 pts per day, with some even HSO cases. However, sadly, where speed became the focal point, the quality was not there. 

And you'd also have to question job satisfaction - if you're working like a robot at warp speed... patient interaction, knowing you're doing an excellent job at a reasonable pace, and feeling positive about the care you're giving your patients has to count for something as well. These cases above referring to "going up north to make $500,00" , an addition to being highly unlikely, also definitely would be at the bottom of the scale in terms of job satisfaction.

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