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Can One Bad Mark In Dental School Ruin My Chance Of Specializing?


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I am a dental student at the University of Toronto. I did very poorly in my first year Gross Anatomy course (barely passed ~60% or 1.7 GPA), which is worth 1.25 credits. I am doing ok in other courses (~80%).

 

I want to specialize in either orthodontics or oral surgery. I have tons of shadowing hours and volunteering experience. Do I have a chance or should I not even bother with this? I am also considering going to the States if Canadian school is not an option for me. Does anyone know what GPA you need to specialize in the States?

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The US looks at your class standing ( position in your class relative to all other students) first and score on the NBME exam second( very difficult exam as you are tested on all the med school material) to determine who gets interviews.

 

So one course over three years is not that significant but you want to finish in the top 5% of your class over the first three years to be competitive.

 

For me the big work load was studying for the NBME exam while taking classes. You need to start working on that in second year. You will be disadvantaged as U of T  DDS students don't take med classes like U of A, McGill and many US schools do. Get a hold of notes and texts from a med student and start studying if you are serious about specializing.

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The US looks at your class standing ( position in your class relative to all other students) first and score on the NBME exam second( very difficult exam as you are tested on all the med school material) to determine who gets interviews.

 

So one course over three years is not that significant but you want to finish in the top 5% of your class over the first three years to be competitive.

 

For me the big work load was studying for the NBME exam while taking classes. You need to start working on that in second year. You will be disadvantaged as U of T  DDS students don't take med classes like U of A, McGill and many US schools do. Get a hold of notes and texts from a med student and start studying if you are serious about specializing.

There is no way I can be top 5% in my class with my grades (not even 10% tbh). I can probably study really hard for the NBME exam and do well on it... So if I'm not top 5% (or even 10%), there's no chance for me, I assume?

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Stop catastrophizing your circumstances.

 

Ortho and oral surgery are very, very different specialties. Evaluate what you really want to do. Ortho you'll need the grades (and no, it's not over). Oral surgery not so much. Go do a bunch of surgical externships during your breaks/summer months. UT Parkland, LSU (Shreveport), UT San Antonio, Emory are all good bets. Anything in the deep south where you'll be shucking a lot of teeth as a first line of treatment.

 

But above all, figure out why you think you actually want to do ortho and/or oral surgery.

 

I was you a while ago. Now I'm in private practice and the chances of me returning to do a residency are slimming. Not because I can't, but because I don't want to anymore.

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Stop catastrophizing your circumstances.

 

Ortho and oral surgery are very, very different specialties. Evaluate what you really want to do. Ortho you'll need the grades (and no, it's not over). Oral surgery not so much. Go do a bunch of surgical externships during your breaks/summer months. UT Parkland, LSU (Shreveport), UT San Antonio, Emory are all good bets. Anything in the deep south where you'll be shucking a lot of teeth as a first line of treatment.

 

But above all, figure out why you think you actually want to do ortho and/or oral surgery.

 

I was you a while ago. Now I'm in private practice and the chances of me returning to do a residency are slimming. Not because I can't, but because I don't want to anymore.

If you don't mind, may I ask why you prefer to practice as a general dentist?

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The US looks at your class standing ( position in your class relative to all other students) first and score on the NBME exam second( very difficult exam as you are tested on all the med school material) to determine who gets interviews.

 

So one course over three years is not that significant but you want to finish in the top 5% of your class over the first three years to be competitive.

 

For me the big work load was studying for the NBME exam while taking classes. You need to start working on that in second year. You will be disadvantaged as U of T  DDS students don't take med classes like U of A, McGill and many US schools do. Get a hold of notes and texts from a med student and start studying if you are serious about specializing.

 

Plus, I think the ADAT will have to be written for specialities in the US. Look into that as well

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I think you are jumping way way ahead of yourself. You're key question right now should be can I get into dentistry in general. Believe me - once you are in, many change their minds many times over the course of 4 years of dental school and then during gpr's etc. in terms of whether they want to specialize or not. I have a few friends who went in thinking they were going to specialize but realized within the first year of two that there's no way they wanted to invest that much more time and expense and that general dentistry was just fine for them. 

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I think you are jumping way way ahead of yourself. You're key question right now should be can I get into dentistry in general. Believe me - once you are in, many change their minds many times over the course of 4 years of dental school and then during gpr's etc. in terms of whether they want to specialize or not. I have a few friends who went in thinking they were going to specialize but realized within the first year of two that there's no way they wanted to invest that much more time and expense and that general dentistry was just fine for them. 

Original post indicates he's already a dental student - ?

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