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Dental profession - positives and challenges?


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On 3/26/2021 at 11:50 PM, 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. 

 

Graduated in 2020 and I can assure you that everything he/she has said is true.

The GTA is very tough for the newly graduated associate. The skillset you graduate with compared to the average associate in the GTA is like comparing intern in a company to a high level executive. Dentistry is the only profession where there are no entry level jobs.

In Law for example, a new graduate can apply for a job as a junior associate earning below average but will gain experience and mentorship. In Medicine, medical graduate do minimum 2-3 years (even more) of residency before fully entering the workforce.

The owners in the GTA are not looking to train or mentor new graduates, they want someone ready to see 10-15 patients a day and make them $3000 a day. It's the sad truth. Their main objective is to make $$$. Unfortunately some don't even care about patient care and are willing to do unethical treatment to make more money. 

Rural dentistry is a different story. It is usually a hit or miss. You either land in a great practice where they offer mentorship and help you out. Or you land in a terrible practice and you are stuck for the year. So you shouldn't be thinking that all your problems will go away with rural dentistry. 

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8 minutes ago, uoft2020 said:

Graduated in 2020 and I can assure you that everything he/she has said is true.

The GTA is very tough for the newly graduated associate. The skillset you graduate with compared to the average associate in the GTA is like comparing intern in a company to a high level executive. Dentistry is the only profession where there are no entry level jobs.

In Law for example, a new graduate can apply for a job as a junior associate earning below average but will gain experience and mentorship. In Medicine, medical graduate do minimum 2-3 years (even more) of residency before fully entering the workforce.

The owners in the GTA are not looking to train or mentor new graduates, they want someone ready to see 10-15 patients a day and make them $3000 a day. It's the sad truth. Their main objective is to make $$$. Unfortunately some don't even care about patient care and are willing to do unethical treatment to make more money. 

Rural dentistry is a different story. It is usually a hit or miss. You either land in a great practice where they offer mentorship and help you out. Or you land in a terrible practice and you are stuck for the year. So you shouldn't be thinking that all your problems will go away with rural dentistry. 

I have a fair number of colleagues who went rural for dentistry - the main lesson is never sign a contract committing you to X years. So if the practice is not supportive on the off chance, then you simply just pack up and leave to one of the many other rural communities. Word of mouth is huge for them.

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16 hours ago, JohnGrisham said:

I have a fair number of colleagues who went rural for dentistry - the main lesson is never sign a contract committing you to X years. So if the practice is not supportive on the off chance, then you simply just pack up and leave to one of the many other rural communities. Word of mouth is huge for them.

You are right, however I wasn’t talking about contracts. Most contracts have a 3 month notice, so if you didn’t like the place you can leave in 3 months. Going rural has financial, physical, and emotional toll on the individual. You can’t keep hopping from town to town every 3-6 months. You might just suck it up because it’s too tiring to move to another town.

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22 hours ago, uoft2020 said:

You are right, however I wasn’t talking about contracts. Most contracts have a 3 month notice, so if you didn’t like the place you can leave in 3 months. Going rural has financial, physical, and emotional toll on the individual. You can’t keep hopping from town to town every 3-6 months. You might just suck it up because it’s too tiring to move to another town.

Certainly depends on individual circumstances. Much easier to do without a family for example.  Not for everyone but the financial benefits are certainly significant. 

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On 4/8/2021 at 5:05 PM, uoft2020 said:

Graduated in 2020 and I can assure you that everything he/she has said is true.

The GTA is very tough for the newly graduated associate. The skillset you graduate with compared to the average associate in the GTA is like comparing intern in a company to a high level executive. Dentistry is the only profession where there are no entry level jobs.

In Law for example, a new graduate can apply for a job as a junior associate earning below average but will gain experience and mentorship. In Medicine, medical graduate do minimum 2-3 years (even more) of residency before fully entering the workforce.

The owners in the GTA are not looking to train or mentor new graduates, they want someone ready to see 10-15 patients a day and make them $3000 a day. It's the sad truth. Their main objective is to make $$$. Unfortunately some don't even care about patient care and are willing to do unethical treatment to make more money. 

Rural dentistry is a different story. It is usually a hit or miss. You either land in a great practice where they offer mentorship and help you out. Or you land in a terrible practice and you are stuck for the year. So you shouldn't be thinking that all your problems will go away with rural dentistry. 

Agreed 100% with this.  I am reminded of that popular saying on DentalTown: "Dentists eat their young".  It's so true.

I've been practicing for 5 years now and I've definitely noticed this "assholeish" vibe between dentists (i.e. quick to throw others under the bus, bad-mouth, poach patients, etc). It's sad and doesn't have to be that way.  I imagine it's way worse in saturated markets.

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8 hours ago, Mauricio45 said:

Agreed 100% with this.  I am reminded of that popular saying on DentalTown: "Dentists eat their young".  It's so true.

I've been practicing for 5 years now and I've definitely noticed this "assholeish" vibe between dentists (i.e. quick to throw others under the bus, bad-mouth, poach patients, etc). It's sad and doesn't have to be that way.  I imagine it's way worse in saturated markets.

the places this will happen the most is where there is significant competition ie gta. Overall I don’t find this experience where I work and I am super careful to never throw another colleague under the bus.

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16 minutes ago, dentistrydmd said:

the places this will happen the most is where there is significant competition ie gta. Overall I don’t find this experience where I work and I am super careful to never throw another colleague under the bus.

I always try to pick associateship positions that benefits me politically to be there. For instance, one part-time office I work at, the owner doesn't do any endos but I do them. That's a great reason to keep an associate if they can do a procedure that owner does not do.

Another office I work at is a small corporation where me and the other dentist I work with do not own the practice. Neither one of us is signing the staff's paycheques, so staff doesn't feel like they're fiercely loyal to one side.  We both get treated fairly equally. So, that is a huge political benefit for me to work there. Thankfully, me and the other dentist get along reasonably well. 

Rarely does it work out where an associate works under another dentist.  Dentists for the most part are independent folks. We don't like being micromanaged and being told what to do.

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On 4/13/2021 at 2:57 AM, Mauricio45 said:

Agreed 100% with this.  I am reminded of that popular saying on DentalTown: "Dentists eat their young".  It's so true.

I've been practicing for 5 years now and I've definitely noticed this "assholeish" vibe between dentists (i.e. quick to throw others under the bus, bad-mouth, poach patients, etc). It's sad and doesn't have to be that way.  I imagine it's way worse in saturated markets.

I wouldn't say eat their young. They don't care enough to take on a new grad with very minimal dental skills. They need someone ready to produce a lot of money for them and a new grad won't be able to do that. The market in the GTA is money-driven, and a new grad won't be able to keep up. Your only option is to go rural where owners are "slightly" less greedy and money-driven (and I say slightly with a grain of salt).

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On 3/27/2021 at 3:59 PM, iwanttogotodentalschoolpls said:

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?

I'm in a smaller city with about 40-50k people.

 

Also, I'm 'only' a GP, not a specialist.

 

Not too well informed on gov'nt jobs/positions; but I can almost say with certainty they would pay peanuts. Locums pay decent I think but those are probably not for new dentists - who would want to be the only or part of a very small team that has to deliver all of the community's dental care needs without any support from specialists which may be 500+ kms away...

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/10/2021 at 7:04 PM, Maggiie19 said:

Does anyone have any insight on positives/challenges in NB?

NB is so underserved even the "cities" are like rural Ontario in terms of patient base. Nobody sues dentists , there is no rcdso "naughty list". There are high tech practices as well.  Many owners are desperate for an associate and literally paying money to reps to find them one from any other province. I work in rural NB and there's so much just bread and butter work I could die working if I chose to. Disadvantages: personal income tax is higher, you need to keep money in your Corp, housing been driven up just like Ontario but I don't necessarily see it holding it's value as well. Fee guide is slightly lower but you ll more than make up for it by being busy 24 7. Restaurant scene is abysmal except in Moncton where its just OK. Whole province economic outlook and average wage is much lower than Ontario, meaning less people will do cosmetic or high end cases (at least in rural). Good news is you don't need any big cases to make big income. 

 

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I've heard similar horror stories about associateship in Vancouver. Vancouver, it isn't uncommon for associates to do hygiene and have an empty schedule.  F that.  I've interviewed several places in Vancouver and turned them all down. I don't think you can find a decent associateship there.  

Also, I was thinking of trying out Calgary but I think it's pretty bad there too.

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I think that a significant reason for the over saturation is the number of foreign trained dentists who have been licensed since Canada has relaxed its regulations for this in the past 10 years. There’s data showing a dramatic increase in the number of foreign trained dentists licensed recently. I’d bet the majority of them are choosing the major cities in Canada for their practices.

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On 5/26/2021 at 9:30 AM, dentistrydmd said:

I think that a significant reason for the over saturation is the number of foreign trained dentists who have been licensed since Canada has relaxed its regulations for this in the past 10 years. There’s data showing a dramatic increase in the number of foreign trained dentists licensed recently. I’d bet the majority of them are choosing the major cities in Canada for their practices.

This is one of the issues. 

 

What i'm seeing in Toronto is that some of the foreign grads are coming to Canada with money already from their home country. As soon as they get licensed they buy dental practices and run their own show. This is driving up the prices for dental practices. Corporate dentistry is another factor.

I've heard that grads from UofT or Western aren't graduating with much experience (someone correct me if i'm wrong on this). As a practice owner especially in GTA, you want your associates to be producers due to the high cost of running a dental office. You gotta make $$ too. So would you hire a new grad from UofT? Or would you hire someone who's got 20 years experience as a specialist in their own country and can do some of the speciality work that you would generally refer out? I think it's a no brainer. 

I also see that some of these foreign dentists were also specialists in their own country. All they need to do is to pass the NDEB and they can practice their speciality. Of course they can only bill GP fees. 
So you'll see these foreign GPs actually practicing as a specialist and do great work. Some are trained as a prosthodontist in anther country likek dubai or england. 
Their education there is just as good as north america for post-grad(i know some ppl are gonna argue). So you'll see quite a few speciality Gps that go around GTA advertising their skills. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cookiemonster99 said:

This is one of the issues. 

 

What i'm seeing in Toronto is that some of the foreign grads are coming to Canada with money already from their home country. As soon as they get licensed they buy dental practices and run their own show. This is driving up the prices for dental practices. Corporate dentistry is another factor.

I've heard that grads from UofT or Western aren't graduating with much experience (someone correct me if i'm wrong on this). As a practice owner especially in GTA, you want your associates to be producers due to the high cost of running a dental office. You gotta make $$ too. So would you hire a new grad from UofT? Or would you hire someone who's got 20 years experience as a specialist in their own country and can do some of the speciality work that you would generally refer out? I think it's a no brainer. 

I also see that some of these foreign dentists were also specialists in their own country. All they need to do is to pass the NDEB and they can practice their speciality. Of course they can only bill GP fees. 
So you'll see these foreign GPs actually practicing as a specialist and do great work. Some are trained as a prosthodontist in anther country likek dubai or england. 
Their education there is just as good as north america for post-grad(i know some ppl are gonna argue). So you'll see quite a few speciality Gps that go around GTA advertising their skills. 

 

 

I'm not sure corporate dentistry would cause oversupply of dental services... it would definitely drive up the value of practices I agree. The issue with oversaturation has to do with desirability of location ie. bigger cities have more concentration of dentists, but add a huge number of foreign grads and there is significantly less dentistry to go around = lower earnings

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2 hours ago, dentistrydmd said:

I'm not sure corporate dentistry would cause oversupply of dental services... it would definitely drive up the value of practices I agree. The issue with oversaturation has to do with desirability of location ie. bigger cities have more concentration of dentists, but add a huge number of foreign grads and there is significantly less dentistry to go around = lower earnings

 

Practicing in small towns is the way to go as a dentist.  Relatively stress-free.  My career would suffer if I were to go to a bigger city.  No way am I doing hygiene work and working evenings/weekends.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Don't stress too much, and manage debt.

When I was in school, OMG 10+ years ago, I worried too. I come from immigrant family with zero dental background, and some of my classmates' family had been going to that same dental school for 4 generations.......Life is definitely easier for them then for me, but it's not too bad. 

I used to read up on how much money to be made and percentage and hours, all those things. But the thing about dentistry is that it's so flexible. I used to work 6.5 days a week in the GTA, for probably 160K. Now I do 3.5 day in a rural area for similar money and a lot more flexibility. Not a practise owner, and never will be.

So yeah, it's not that bad. The best thing to do is to inherit an office from your parents, with patients who watched you growing up. If that's not possible, and you have to be in the GTA, knowing at least one other language is helpful I find. Find good associateships, make connections, the best ones are where the owner is not there. Don't worry about mentorship, that's not really a thing, you can learn plenty online. 

Dentistry is surgical field, if you have the skill, you will be fine. When in doubt, go rural.

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