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Dental specializations (salaries, lifestyle, competition)


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I feel like there isn't much discussed about specializations in dentistry- competitiveness of these programs, salaries, lifestyle, etc on these forums. I start dental school in the fall and want to know more about the different specialties in dentistry. Right now I am leaning towards OFMS, orthodontics and periodontics (obv this may change in the future). I read somewhere that there are only 30 orthodontic positions across Canada which seems very low, and that only about 5 Canadian students match with orthodontics in America (can someone confirm this?). Does anyone know anything about the earnings in Canada of dental specialities? 

I know that earnings are determined by location and your patient base. If you are a practicing dentist, it would be awesome if you mention where you practice and if you have a low-avg-high patient base. 

From my research, associate dentists can make 140k-180k a year, some even making 200k+ if they're lucky. Is this true? Also, if you are a general dentist owning your own practice, does earning 300k+/yr sound realistic? 

I had to make a decision bw medicine and dentistry a couple years ago and chose dentistry mostly bc of the lifestyle and opportunity to make a lot of money as a business owner (not to mention the ability to help ppl in the health care system which both paths accomplish). I'm not only in it for the money, but you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't choose this career for the potential to make big bucks. 

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I was actually looking into some info regarding specialization, more specifically in Paediatrics. I found that Dalhousie has a paediatric general practice residency which is an addition year after graduation. 
But nothing about how many spots, how competitive is it .....etc 

I would really like some addition info about this as well. I am starting dentistry this fall at dal and would like to start preping in advance. 

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2 hours ago, Pauls said:

I think post corona you will have a completely different situation. Its gonna be tough to survive as a dentist and specialist . Dentists right now are getting laid off and finding it hard to make a living. Truth hurts man. sorry 

Corona is temporary until a vaccine is found. Corona impacts will be for 12-18 months at most. The issue that is more concerning long-term is international equivalency and the saturation of the profession in Canada. The influx of foreign dentists, ITD grad, Australia and Ireland grads, and local Canadian graduates is compounding the saturation in urban centres. And corporate dentistry is seizing the moment with corona, which will have long term impacts. I'd worry about that moreso than corona 

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1 hour ago, VivaColombia said:

Corona is temporary until a vaccine is found. Corona impacts will be for 12-18 months at most. The issue that is more concerning long-term is international equivalency and the saturation of the profession in Canada. The influx of foreign dentists, ITD grad, Australia and Ireland grads, and local Canadian graduates is compounding the saturation in urban centres. And corporate dentistry is seizing the moment with corona, which will have long term impacts. I'd worry about that moreso than corona 

 

In case anyone wants a head start on their dental career, this is where you should start.

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16 hours ago, melatoninbaby said:

I feel like there isn't much discussed about specializations in dentistry- competitiveness of these programs, salaries, lifestyle, etc on these forums. I start dental school in the fall and want to know more about the different specialties in dentistry. Right now I am leaning towards OFMS, orthodontics and periodontics (obv this may change in the future). I read somewhere that there are only 30 orthodontic positions across Canada which seems very low, and that only about 5 Canadian students match with orthodontics in America (can someone confirm this?). Does anyone know anything about the earnings in Canada of dental specialities? 

I know that earnings are determined by location and your patient base. If you are a practicing dentist, it would be awesome if you mention where you practice and if you have a low-avg-high patient base. 

From my research, associate dentists can make 140k-180k a year, some even making 200k+ if they're lucky. Is this true? Also, if you are a general dentist owning your own practice, does earning 300k+/yr sound realistic? 

I had to make a decision bw medicine and dentistry a couple years ago and chose dentistry mostly bc of the lifestyle and opportunity to make a lot of money as a business owner (not to mention the ability to help ppl in the health care system which both paths accomplish). I'm not only in it for the money, but you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't choose this career for the potential to make big bucks. 

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Is it too late to switch over to medicine? Dentistry is only few years away to becoming what Pharmacy is right now. Give your spot to someone else who actually want this career for altruistic reasons. 

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No one has a crystal ball, but I am pretty skeptical of how dentistry is moving in the coming decades. Like someone above mentioned, there's a lot of corporatization going on and an oversupply of dentists which is what's driving the changes we see in the industry.

Namely labour is cheapening (lots of grads, lots of competition) and power is consolidating (corporatization, private equity, deep pockets, lots of lobbying power), in conjunction with weak professional camaraderie with respect to Colleges and regulatory bodies that actually look after the job market of their members (hint: ours don't).

When I graduated in 2016, the associateship market was still pretty healthy. I had my pick of jobs, and in retrospect, I think I would have done well at any of them. Nowadays I know it's not so rosy; people are struggling to find jobs. On a Facebook dental group, I saw new Toronto grads clamouring to take a job at a hygiene clinic to do recall exams. Not cool.

Corporations are becoming quite powerful as well. There's talk that the reason the RCDSO back-pedalled so hard on their COVID19 guidance is mainly due to lobbying pressure from dental corporations. Not from the little guy, not from the public, but from people who are bleeding millions of dollars a day and demand action.

The RCDSO of course, has a tough job, but I believe their ability to lobby for its members (most importantly, the smallest voice, the little guy solo-practitioner or associate who just wants to do good work and go home) is exceedingly small. The CDA/ODA & other provincial associations are similarly just organizations that, in my opinion, take our money for very little in return. 

You can absolutely still make a great living in dentistry, but the avenues to do so are narrowing. It doesn't help to just be the best, or just be the most business-savvy. At this point you kind of have to be both. A lot of confluence of factors have to come into play (along with some luck) to turn you into a successful practitioner. I think those who think just being a good clinician or just throwing money at the problem will solve things are in for a rough ride.

In medicine there are similar issues, namely with competition, and the talent pool simply being so competitive (everyone wants to work at X hospital in Y city in Z specialty); but the good news is that although you are somewhat doggedly restrained by the chains of government & regulatory bureaucracy, those chains are golden in hue; you're paid by the taxpayer and you have powerful associations lobbying on your behalf. If things move, things move slowly.

In dentistry it's a bit more wild-west, especially in the last 15 years or so, and personally I've seen more and more division/fragmentation in our field as people become more desperate. Some become far more powerful & influential, others fall by the wayside. People aren't picking each other up. Everyone's a little defensive, a little worried, a little strapped for cash, a little wary of the guy down the street.

I think the simplicity of practice ownership is gone, I think income disparity & variability is very wide (this is not a good thing; it doesn't matter that some are making millions, it means many more are making peanuts), and I think that people have a tendency to undercut, rather than support each other, which only tarnishes the name of dentistry.

Those 3 factors are the main things that I think are changing the landscape of dentistry: a gluttony of labour (bigger classes, equivalency exam), a consolidation of power & wealth (corporatization) and weak professionalism (our associations are largely spineless and out for themselves, not the majority of us).

If I could sum up my ideas, I think that the 'security' in pursuing a career in dentistry is very much eroding.

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I don't mean for this to be all doom and gloom. As I mentioned you can still make a wonderful living in dentistry, and it's still a great career. I just think people should manage their expectations about it.  I'm lucky that my patients are lovely and 99% of them are grateful for what I do, and I make a good living (with respect to the averages in Canada, not necessarily with respect to other health professions). But I do realize that we are on a downhill trajectory, not an uphill one.

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On 6/5/2020 at 4:32 PM, melatoninbaby said:

I feel like there isn't much discussed about specializations in dentistry- competitiveness of these programs, salaries, lifestyle, etc on these forums. I start dental school in the fall and want to know more about the different specialties in dentistry. Right now I am leaning towards OFMS, orthodontics and periodontics (obv this may change in the future). I read somewhere that there are only 30 orthodontic positions across Canada which seems very low, and that only about 5 Canadian students match with orthodontics in America (can someone confirm this?). Does anyone know anything about the earnings in Canada of dental specialities? 

I know that earnings are determined by location and your patient base. If you are a practicing dentist, it would be awesome if you mention where you practice and if you have a low-avg-high patient base. 

From my research, associate dentists can make 140k-180k a year, some even making 200k+ if they're lucky. Is this true? Also, if you are a general dentist owning your own practice, does earning 300k+/yr sound realistic? 

I had to make a decision bw medicine and dentistry a couple years ago and chose dentistry mostly bc of the lifestyle and opportunity to make a lot of money as a business owner (not to mention the ability to help ppl in the health care system which both paths accomplish). I'm not only in it for the money, but you'd be lying to yourself if you didn't choose this career for the potential to make big bucks. 

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Unfortunately, associate dentist/ dentist salary has been decreasing over the years mainly due to saturation as previously mentioned. It's not impossible to make the amount you indicated but you are less likely to.  If you are in it for the "potential to make big bucks" wrong career choice. There are other/ easier ways to make lots of money, good luck!

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