12/12/10

Anyone know what the salary progression/career progression of a Dentist is really like?

People throw alot of numbers around. Ive heard 35 hour weeks, and 100-200K early in your career. But what are the real numbers? What are the cons of working in dentistry?

I have spent around 4 years or so in finance post college and just started an IB gig. I never received a full bonus due to crappy firms, late starts, layoffs. I'll be honest, although I enjoy some aspects of finance, I just have a hard time dealing with the hours, the politics, and cut throat nature as you move up the ladder. Im probably asking on the wrong forum but thought Id give it a try.

I am seriously considering a career in dentistry and was wondering if anyone knows the true career progression and salary potential. I already completed all my science undergrad coursework. From my understanding, its 4 years of dental school, then a few years of residency depending on weather you want to specialize (in which you have to pay).

How difficult/intense is the course load?
Which specialties are the most difficult to get? How difficult is it to get?
Which specialties have the highest earnings potential that are easier to obtain?
What is the median gross income of a dentist and approximate range 1st year out, 2-3 years out, and 4-7 years out?
What is the average student debt that a student comes out with? for public and private school.
How difficult was it in recent years to get a job as a dentist or specialist at a practice?

Comments (17)

12/12/10

My best friends father has his own practice that was once his fathers practice. His dad, my friends grandfather, just retired and my friends dad purchased his clients from his father. I would say he easily pulls in 500 - 800 a year. He doesn't live a lavish lifestyle, owns 3 homes, has put 4 kids through 8 years of private school and 4 kids through college. I believe dental school is only 2 years not four. He has a great lifestyle, I would say works closer to 30 hours a week. His office is open Monday - Thursday 9 am to 2:30 pm with an hour lunch break and can schedule holidays whenever he wants. He has said no matter what the economy looks like, people will always have teeth and need to get their teeth fixed.

Investment Banking Interview Course
8/9/16

How hard did you find business school? If you think it was challenging, you will get butchered first in undergraduate science, and then later on in medicine. You have never seen students like this. I have two science degrees (biochemistry), and am currently in B school (one semester left). I can say with 100% certainty that B school is much easier than science, and that the standard of student, along with the difficulty of material, as well as the entrance exam (DAT) are far and away in a different league altogether. However, if you have a real science background (not management science haha), then you may stand a chance. I rest my case.

(PS, I've written the DAT 3 times and interviewed at several dental schools in the US and Canada). If I were to pursue dental school I'd have to take out >200k in debt, which is not something I'm willing to do, since my tuition for b school in Canada is only ~15k/year, and I have a decent job as well.

12/12/10

You want the downside? You spend your 35-40 hours a week with your hands in someone's disgusting mouth.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

12/12/10

I have couple of uncles who are dentist, and have friends/relatives who are going thru the cycle right now.

After undergrad, it's 4 years of Dental School. Once done with that, you can go join a practice and start as a general dentist and start earning. Or you can specialize, which can run from 2 - 3 years (for cosmetic, endodontics, etc.) to 7 years for oral surgeon (MD + Residency). Specialization can be somewhat competitive to get in, but as a general dentist, you can do many of the less complex case that a specialist would do (e.g. you can still do root canals, pull out a few wisdom tooth, make dentures and crowns, or even do implants). Lifestyle + Pay wise, Orthodontics is the best specialty to go in, which is also the most competitive (e.g. probably reserved for Top 5 - 10% of the class). Overall, I don't think there is any 'easy' specialization.

At an entry level, not sure what the salary exactly is, but it's definitely over $100K. If you can join an established practice (or buy one), you can start off pretty high. Both of my uncles seem to be in good situation money wise (higher earning one got a home by the lake with boat and jet skis, 2-3 expensive cars, sending kids through private schools, etc.). If you can go to a state school, debt will probably be $30K X 4 years, for private $50K X 4 years.

Downsides, from my observation:
- Work can be repetitive, you are not really dealing with rocket science here on a daily basis. Most cases are the same
- You are sitting in same posture for 8 hours a day, concentrated in a very small hole (mouth)
- Often you eat what you kill (you need to be able to attract patients who will spend money on expensive procedures like crowns or root canals, you don't want to be doing routine check ups 80% of the time)
- This 'sales work' can also cause undue stress
- Medicaid/Medicare/Insurance payment can be low, you want to have patients who pay cash for expensive procedures
- You are dealing head on with patients who can complain endlessly about the service or cost. Depending on your level of patience, that can be painful

For a better picture I'd suggest you dig around the student doctor forum they have somewhere.

12/12/10

They also have the highest suicide rate - 6.64 times than the average working age profession to be exact. This is because they don't really communicate with anyone outside of their customers, and even then, you can't really chat, for obvious reasons.

12/12/10

free nitrous

12/12/10
International Pymp:

free nitrous

+1

12/29/10

Deleted by author

12/13/10

nice hours, and a nice salary. if i didn't want to be a doctor so badly, id consider dentistry.

12/13/10

Dentistry, as some have already said, is extremely familial. My dentist bought his practice from his father. Two friends of mine are in dental school and their dad's have practices that were once owned by their fathers. Dentistry is about as boring as it gets in my book, but if you like playing golf and a 40 hour work week then it doesn't sound too bad.

12/13/10

Whats boring is sitting in a office for 16 hours a day on excel and powerpoint. Basically on call.

12/13/10
ERguy:

Whats boring is sitting in a office for 16 hours a day on excel and powerpoint. Basically on call.

The not-so-boring part of that is making $120k/yr while your dentistry-aspiring friend is paying at least $120k/2yrs for his education. And then making 2x what he's making when he finally starts practicing.

But to each his own - I enjoy finance, and I wouldn't even think about doing any kind of medicine even if it paid 200k/yr straight out of undergrad. I just find any subject related to biology incredibly mundane.

12/29/10

My wife works for a pediadontist who owns his own practice... The guy grosses about 1$ million a year. He is very successful which is not typical. He is known as one of the best surgical children's dentist in the area if not the state. But he also works his ass off ... Between 50-60 hours a week. He heads on board and sits on a couple others which take up a considerable amount of time.

Truth is, unless you can handle the blood, the pain you put people through, and practicing a profession that no one likes, then by all means. Also, unless you specialize, its pretty mundane. Cleanings, X-rays, fillings, root canals, bridges, and dentures! Sounds like a blast!

12/29/10
TheBigCheese:

My wife works for a pediadontist who owns his own practice... The guy grosses about 1$ million a year. He is very successful which is not typical. He is known as one of the best surgical children's dentist in the area if not the state. But he also works his ass off ... Between 50-60 hours a week. He heads on board and sits on a couple others which take up a considerable amount of time.

Truth is, unless you can handle the blood, the pain you put people through, and practicing a profession that no one likes, then by all means. Also, unless you specialize, its pretty mundane. Cleanings, X-rays, fillings, root canals, bridges, and dentures! Sounds like a blast!

Whats the over/under on how many times a week this guy bangs your wife?

12/18/13

Marcus_Halberstram:

TheBigCheese:

My wife works for a pediadontist who owns his own practice... The guy grosses about 1$ million a year. He is very successful which is not typical. He is known as one of the best surgical children's dentist in the area if not the state. But he also works his ass off ... Between 50-60 hours a week. He heads on board and sits on a couple others which take up a considerable amount of time.

Truth is, unless you can handle the blood, the pain you put people through, and practicing a profession that no one likes, then by all means. Also, unless you specialize, its pretty mundane. Cleanings, X-rays, fillings, root canals, bridges, and dentures! Sounds like a blast!

Whats the over/under on how many times a week this guy bangs your wife?

How did this never merit a response? Well played, sir. Gave me quite a laugh 3 years after the fact.

12/18/13

hahah unreal! +1 for a 3 year old comment

Best Response
12/18/13

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