Is Dentistry a good career ? Pros and Cons of Dentistry

Is Dentistry a good career ? Dentistry is a great career. Being based on appointments mostly, dentistry is cool, calm and relaxed unlike many other medical fields. It has a very high satisfaction level among professionals and a very low burnout rate. It is one of those healthcare fields which have a typical 9 to 5 routine. Plus on top of this it has a shorter residency period and easier certification path. I will list below the various pros and cons of the field so that it becomes easier for you to decide if it is the right career for you. If you have more questions about how to pursue dentistry check out this article.

Pros of dentistry as a career

Salary in dentistry

Salary in the field is usually great. You can expect to make anywhere from 250,000$ to as much as 500,000$ depending on whether you practice at a hospital or as a private practice. Private practitioners will mostly make several fold more as compared to hospital employees. But then you have to deal with the problems that arise with running a private practice such as insurance, sales and income taxes, patient inflow management, marketing, administration and the lot. So it all depends on what you want to do with the career mostly. When you compare even the lowest value a dental surgeon or dentist may get it is close to around 250,000$. It is still 5x the median salary of a typical household in the united states so salary wise you would be set. But if you factor in the student loan costs and additional living expenses, going with a private practice will be your best bet if you want to start earning a fair bit early on.

Respect in dentistry

Dentistry is one of the those healthcare profession other than a doctor where you have full command of decision, when you see your patients. You don’t have to work under care of someone. You are autonomous. This basically means that you will be the one guiding the care of the individuals from start to finish. So it is one of those professions which garners a great deal of respect in the eyes of the patient.

Flexible schedules in dentistry

Ok, so this is one of the big ones. Only a handful of healthcare specialties have flexible schedules. Dentistry being one of them. Most healthcare professions will have night shifts or calls which can seriously mess up your schedules and family time. Dentistry is based on an appointment system , and does not have any emergencies. So you can generally decide which hours and days you want to work. You will not be bound by the Rota of the department.

Lack of emergencies in dentistry

There are no emergencies in the field unless you are in maxillo-facial surgery. This means a less stressful and disorienting life. You will be able to leave your office at the exact time that you intended to leave and not have to rush to the hospital in the middle of the night to take care of an urgent situation. It’s a win, win in every case. If you asked me one reason to switch from surgery to dentistry, this would be it, hands down.

Lack of monotony in dentistry

Dentistry is not one of those fields where you face the same cases each and every day. You will always be challenged. Every patient that comes your way will come with an entirely different set of ailments that you need to figure out and treat. So it makes the field more exciting. For e.g. when I was doing my rotation in ophthalmology, most of the cases presenting to the clinic were one of three cataracts, low vision, and diabetic retinopathy. This made the field very monotonous for me. So I decided it was not for me.

Hence to conclude there are a lot of pros to being a dentist. But whether they suit you is up to you to decide.

Cons of dentistry as a career

Do dentists go to medical school

Longer study durations in dentistry

BDS takes 4 years, while DDS takes 8 years to complete. Plus you would also have to go for internship and residency in the field. This makes the field very long when you compare it with other professions where a masters may just take 1.5 to 2 years. But when you start comparing the field to other surgical specialties it is shorter. So its and apples vs peaches comparison. Dentistry is long when compared to non surgical fields but among surgical fields it is one of the shortest.

Huge initial investment requirement for a private clinic as a new dentist

An initial investment amounting to as much as 300,000$ to 400,000$ will be required to setup your own private clinic. This is definitely a large amount and if you are still in student debt most people consider it not wise to take on another loan. If you are just starting out you would definitely need to first practice at a local hospital, at least until you pay down your student loans. You can then go on to establish your own practice. But as salaries at hospitals are on the lower side, it would take you a long time to establish your own practice.

Patient inflows in dentistry

I was afraid of the dentist. Like many other kids. Similarly some adults are too. So developing patient inflow to your private practice can take time. You will need to first build trust with your local community, that you are a great guy and provide the most objective and beneficial treatments.

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