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Dental profession - positives and challenges?


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I'm currently a dental student in first year and I've seen numerous forums and discussions about the fall of dentistry. I want to see if any newly grads or dental students have any concerns or positive insights/myth busters. 

Also, no I'm not in dentistry just for the money. I like the detailed manual work and I think I'm kind of good at it for someone who just started. But the concerns listed online are so overwhelming that it makes me think my interest in the profession is not going to be enough for me to even pay off my student debt let alone make a comfortable living. 

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10 hours ago, GreyShirt said:

I'm currently a dental student in first year and I've seen numerous forums and discussions about the fall of dentistry. I want to see if any newly grads or dental students have any concerns or positive insights/myth busters. 

Also, no I'm not in dentistry just for the money. I like the detailed manual work and I think I'm kind of good at it for someone who just started. But the concerns listed online are so overwhelming that it makes me think my interest in the profession is not going to be enough for me to even pay off my student debt let alone make a comfortable living. 

Don't go to the US for dental school. And if you don't get into Canada try to figure out a way for you to be competitive and apply multiple times. Most of this negative sentiment comes from people who didn't truly realize the debt load they would be taking and the financing of it. Go to the cheapest school. In Canada, due to the public funding of schools, generally the debt loads are very manageable and most Canadians wouldn't likely be very concerned regarding their debts and income levels. This can't be said of those who have taken on debt loads of 400k plus. Also another distinction is that in Canada we pay much lower interest rates to service our debt vs FAFSA loans to US dental students which have interest rates in the range of 6-8% (nowadays).

Another thing one has to realize is that nothing will come easy. Many of those entering dentistry likely expect it to be a certain way based on meeting a select few professionals who have built great practices and exude praises on the field. If you feel like you are a hard worker and have something to offer the profession and are also passionate about the field, go for it. 

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On 2/12/2021 at 8:45 PM, dentistrydmd said:

Don't go to the US for dental school. And if you don't get into Canada try to figure out a way for you to be competitive and apply multiple times. Most of this negative sentiment comes from people who didn't truly realize the debt load they would be taking and the financing of it. Go to the cheapest school. In Canada, due to the public funding of schools, generally the debt loads are very manageable and most Canadians wouldn't likely be very concerned regarding their debts and income levels. This can't be said of those who have taken on debt loads of 400k plus. Also another distinction is that in Canada we pay much lower interest rates to service our debt vs FAFSA loans to US dental students which have interest rates in the range of 6-8% (nowadays).

Another thing one has to realize is that nothing will come easy. Many of those entering dentistry likely expect it to be a certain way based on meeting a select few professionals who have built great practices and exude praises on the field. If you feel like you are a hard worker and have something to offer the profession and are also passionate about the field, go for it. 

This is a refreshing take to hear! I'm actually already a first year dental student in Canada. 

Could I ask if you think general dentistry is still worth it or if spending more time and competing for a spot in specializations in a better way to go about it?

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On 2/12/2021 at 1:11 PM, asghardentist said:

 

Thanks so much for this video, it was super informative. Although, I wonder if his role at DATBootcamp played into a bit of conflict of interest here (meaning his general positive outlook on dentistry). 

Do you personally have any insights on dentistry and its future? Insights on staying general vs. specializing?

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On 2/15/2021 at 10:05 PM, GreyShirt said:

This is a refreshing take to hear! I'm actually already a first year dental student in Canada. 

Could I ask if you think general dentistry is still worth it or if spending more time and competing for a spot in specializations in a better way to go about it?

Both are good options. You need to love something to do specialty but if you are motivated to learn continuously you can be a well rounded gp and do well as well.

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On 2/12/2021 at 10:24 AM, GreyShirt said:

I'm currently a dental student in first year and I've seen numerous forums and discussions about the fall of dentistry. I want to see if any newly grads or dental students have any concerns or positive insights/myth busters. 

Also, no I'm not in dentistry just for the money. I like the detailed manual work and I think I'm kind of good at it for someone who just started. But the concerns listed online are so overwhelming that it makes me think my interest in the profession is not going to be enough for me to even pay off my student debt let alone make a comfortable living. 

I was exactly in your shoes, reading all of these forum posts during dental school and fretting about whether or not the efforts were worth it. I can tell you, that as a newly graduating dentist, you will almost definitely be in the top 1% of earners in Canada (if you make some concessions about where you want to live and practice, i.e. you don't NEED to work in GTA). You will be pleasantly surprised with how much you can make with relatively modest efforts on your part. You won't be "on-call," you won't have to skip lunch and work 12 hour days, and you can pretty much choose what kind of dentistry you want to practice. You will almost certainly find a job right out of school (again, need to be a bit flexible here) and will start taking home a salary that most other professionals need to earn over a lifetime (and most will still not make as much as you).

BUT. You will not necessarily be wealthy. If, perhaps in the olden days, a dentist was making more money than he/she knew what to do with, then dentistry has "fallen" from that level. Nowadays, you will need to be financially literate and financially responsible in order to become wealthy. You will need to live well below your means. Dentistry is not a special invitation to become a millionaire. It isn't even really a head-start. Your peers may have started working 10 years earlier and may been saving and investing while you were still digging yourself deeper and deeper into debt. Once you realize the reality of your situation, and once you CHOOSE to live a lifestyle which brings you happiness and is well within your means, you will definitely find that dentistry is a prosperous profession for you. You will love what you do, and because you are responsible with your finances, you will find that it really will bring you wealth.

Again, I want to emphasize that being a dentist doesn't entitle you to wealth, you need to remove that mentality from your mind altogether (I still remember financial advisors coming to us in dental school and proclaiming that we "won the golden ticket" by being admitted into dental school). All this mentality does is pressure you to live a lifestyle well above your means and will most certainly mean you will "not even pay off your student debt" or "make a comfortable living."

Reality check: a vast majority of Canadians have a "comfortable living" making half of what you will make. Live like they do (and save/invest/pay off debt with the rest). 

Read a few books on the matter too, I really wish I was informed in first year dental school. Start with "Wealthy barber returns" and you'll enter into the rabbit hole of personal finance forever - best of luck!

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14 minutes ago, AncientDentist said:

I was exactly in your shoes, reading all of these forum posts during dental school and fretting about whether or not the efforts were worth it. I can tell you, that as a newly graduating dentist, you will almost definitely be in the top 1% of earners in Canada (if you make some concessions about where you want to live and practice, i.e. you don't NEED to work in GTA)

this is not true. https://www.thekickassentrepreneur.com/top-one-percent-of-wealth-for-canadians/#:~:text=From an income perspective%2C to,the top 1% in Canada.

Top 1% income in Canada is 225,000 (and closer to 350,000+ in specific big cities). So, no " a newly graduating dentist, you will almost definitely be in the top 1% of earners in Canada" is far from the truth.

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5 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

this is not true. https://www.thekickassentrepreneur.com/top-one-percent-of-wealth-for-canadians/#:~:text=From an income perspective%2C to,the top 1% in Canada.

Top 1% income in Canada is 225,000 (and closer to 350,000+ in specific big cities). So, no " a newly graduating dentist, you will almost definitely be in the top 1% of earners in Canada" is far from the truth.

Okay, top 5%? 10%? My point stands. 

Also, 225000 is very much doable within 1 or 2 years of graduating

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2 hours ago, offmychestplease said:

top 5 or 10% is very different than top 1% so it's not a fair statement to make. Secondly, in many major cities where people want to be at no 225K is not the norm after 1-2 years

Yes 5% is different than 1%. And no you won't be making 225k in Toronto as a new grad. Not sure what the point of this digression was.

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On 2/12/2021 at 8:45 PM, dentistrydmd said:

Don't go to the US for dental school. And if you don't get into Canada try to figure out a way for you to be competitive and apply multiple times. Most of this negative sentiment comes from people who didn't truly realize the debt load they would be taking and the financing of it. Go to the cheapest school. In Canada, due to the public funding of schools, generally the debt loads are very manageable and most Canadians wouldn't likely be very concerned regarding their debts and income levels. This can't be said of those who have taken on debt loads of 400k plus. Also another distinction is that in Canada we pay much lower interest rates to service our debt vs FAFSA loans to US dental students which have interest rates in the range of 6-8% (nowadays).

Another thing one has to realize is that nothing will come easy. Many of those entering dentistry likely expect it to be a certain way based on meeting a select few professionals who have built great practices and exude praises on the field. If you feel like you are a hard worker and have something to offer the profession and are also passionate about the field, go for it. 

If someone like me doesn't have the grades to get into a Canadian school, do you suggest Ireland or Australia?

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18 hours ago, iwanttogotodentalschoolpls said:

Would 200k+ be doable as a new grad in rural/non major city regions?

It depends on your skillset. If you are doing all procedures including extractions, wisdom teeth, molar endo, then it is. But it depends on the practitioner. If you are quickly willing to refer out a lot of procedures, it is unlikely you will reach that level of income. Expect 120-150 range for your first year out given you are getting used to being a dentist and getting the proper workflows.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yeah, I don't wanna burst anyone's bubble but thinking that you will make over 200k with your skillset as a new graduate is nearly impossible. The outside dental world compared to the school setting is very different. You would be lucky making over 120k a year. 

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5 hours ago, uoft2020 said:

Yeah, I don't wanna burst anyone's bubble but thinking that you will make over 200k with your skillset as a new graduate is nearly impossible. The outside dental world compared to the school setting is very different. You would be lucky making over 120k a year. 

Don't worry we be Escobar of Dentistry!

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On 2/28/2021 at 4:14 PM, iwanttogotodentalschoolpls said:

Would 200k+ be doable as a new grad in rural/non major city regions?

Yup. But as mentioned above... depends on what you want to do. I did a year of residency which boosted my speed and skill-set; but I'm sure some of my colleagues can do a MOD faster than I can still, after a year in private practice. I also see like 35-40% ODSP patients (sigh...); 4.5 days/week on average, 8-5pm and I can break that.

5 days a week, <10% ODSP, work to the bone I can see some breaking 300k. The other associate here definitely was... he was 4 years out.

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I'm about 2.5 years out of dental school and I can say the dental profession is not really what I expected it to be

In terms of income: I barely broke 100k in the first 2 years. I worked in the GTA area and have found out that things are very tough for an associate dentist in a highly competitive market

I found It's quite difficult to find a "good" position with mentorship and for the principles to invest into you. Most really don't care, and just want someone to work there so they generate more revenue for the practice which means more $$ in their own pockets. 

As an owner, your doors open up a lot more and that means more potential for a higher income. I've seen practice appraisals where after expenses are paid owner dentists are making around 300-400k per year in terms of take home income. So the profession really isn't dead if you want to make money. This is in the GTA btw. 

 

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16 hours ago, cookiemonster99 said:

I'm about 2.5 years out of dental school and I can say the dental profession is not really what I expected it to be

In terms of income: I barely broke 100k in the first 2 years. I worked in the GTA area and have found out that things are very tough for an associate dentist in a highly competitive market

I found It's quite difficult to find a "good" position with mentorship and for the principles to invest into you. Most really don't care, and just want someone to work there so they generate more revenue for the practice which means more $$ in their own pockets. 

As an owner, your doors open up a lot more and that means more potential for a higher income. I've seen practice appraisals where after expenses are paid owner dentists are making around 300-400k per year in terms of take home income. So the profession really isn't dead if you want to make money. This is in the GTA btw. 

 

Just curious - Would you say there are some people that can't stand living in rural areas and choose to live in the big cities just for the social life - even while 100% knowing they wouldn't be making as much? Are you one of them?

 

I grew up in a small town of 300 in the middle of nowhere, so this is definitely my plan to go work in the highest paying place, cause I don't care about social life or whatever haha

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On 3/25/2021 at 6:54 PM, Zaandrei. said:

Yup. But as mentioned above... depends on what you want to do. I did a year of residency which boosted my speed and skill-set; but I'm sure some of my colleagues can do a MOD faster than I can still, after a year in private practice. I also see like 35-40% ODSP patients (sigh...); 4.5 days/week on average, 8-5pm and I can break that.

5 days a week, <10% ODSP, work to the bone I can see some breaking 300k. The other associate here definitely was... he was 4 years out.

I'm talking about being a general practitioner. Are some people that can't stand living in rural areas and choose to live in the big cities just for the social life - even while 100% knowing they wouldn't be making as much? 

Would small cities make a lot too? Is there a risk of rural areas literally not having enough of a patient base or is there some case where the Canadian government literally pays you to go take care of Indigenous people, low income rural places, etc?

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