Why to not choose dentistry

There are lots of really good reasons to become a dentist, and those are covered in my ‘Why to Choose Dentistry’ article. However, there are also lots of reasons why you should not become a dentist. These are listed below.

Amount of Schooling

Being a dentist requires a huge commitment of time and money. You will be in school for three to four years to get an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Then, there is another four years at a dental school. And if you want to specialize, as in something like endodontics or orthodontics, it could be another three years. This can add up to between 7 and 11 years of school. If you choose dentistry through all this time, your friends and colleagues will already have established their lives with jobs, homes and incomes.

Debt Accumulation

You can also expect to accumulate a significant amount of debt. Here is a table showing the debt that most dental students owed upon graduation. You can expect to owe anywhere between $100,000 and $300,000. You will be paying ~6.5% interest on most of this money during dental school, and when you graduate.

Average dental student debt from all schools

Table shows average dental student debt from all schools, (source ADA website)

Competition and Hard Work

Dental school is getting harder and harder to get into. The path is becoming more competitive, as more students try to get in. You have to expect now to have a better GPA in college and get better scores on the DAT test. Because of the challenge, there is the chance that you may find out that dentistry is not right for you or that you don’t have the grades to compete and make it into dental school.
For this reason, I would recommend choosing an undergraduate degree that you enjoy- something that makes you happy. That way, no matter what happens, you will end your four year bachelor’s degree with something you can use in your life.
Also, during the four years of dental school you can expect lots of hard work. It is stressful and will keep you very busy. You can click here to see what dental school is like.

Expensive Practices

Starting up a practice is expensive. If you think graduating with $100,000-300,000 in debt is bad, wait until you decide to buy or set up your own practice. This can cost anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000. You will have to make sure you can get loans, and there is a lot of stress associated with this type of an activity. You can also go out and work for another dentist, but sometimes finding these positions can be challenging.
Additionally, when you first graduate from dental school, you are going to be slower than a seasoned dentist. This will make it harder for you to earn more money and will make paying off all of your loans even more challenging.
Common instruments used by a dentist

Repetition of Job

Another reason to not becoming a dentist is because of the repetition of the job. Dentists do a lot of the same things over and over again. You will have to make sure this is right for you, that you can handle doing lots of the same activities over and over again each day.

Difficult to move

Another challenge is that it is difficult to relocate or move. Once you establish or purchase a practice, it is very expensive to move around. You become situated in one area and may spend the rest of your life living there.

Managed care

We cannot predict the future, but it is wise to consider what could happen. Managed care is spreading worldwide and may grow into dentistry. Managed care is when organizations like an insurance company or the government manage health care. One of the joys of current dentistry is the ability to own your own practice; managed care could potentially change this. Managed care hasn’t completely moved into dentistry, but in the future it could possibly happen.

Physically Demanding

Dentistry is hard on your body. Expect to sit in the same position, staring in small, tiny spaces all day. It is really hard on your back, hands and shoulders. Lots of dentists have back and shoulder problems. You will spend a lot of time washing or rewashing your hands and wearing latex gloves. People can develop back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, or latex allergies. During my work I have experienced back pain and shoulder pain. A few of my colleagues are already seeing chiropractors or physical therapists.

Sharp Instruments, Needle Sticks and Contagious Disease

Some of the sharp instruments used in dentistry
Some of the sharp instruments used in dentistry

Most people don’t realize it, but dentists work with very sharp instruments in dentistry. There are needles, scalpel blades and high speed diamond tipped burs. It is rare, but like any job accidents can happen.

There a multiple blood borne disease which your patients might have, like HIV (AIDS) and Hepatitis C. If you stick yourself with a bur or needle which you used in a patients mouth, you become at risk for getting these life threatening disease.

The risk of needle-sticks is low, and the risk of having a contagious patients is low, and even if it happens the risk of actually getting the disease from a minor prick is low. But it still can happen which makes this another down side of the job. If a dentist catches one of these blood borne disease his/her career is over.

Emotionally Demanding

The patients you work with aren’t usually happy and will express unease or discomfort in visiting you, which can create a significant emotional demand. People hate waiting, hate going to the dentist and hate pain. You have to sort these mixed emotions out and try to help them. All while managing a stressful schedule as you work, trying to please people and get your jobs done.

Demands of managing a business

The dentist has demands of managing a business. Along with being the main provider of your practice, you will also have to run it. This means you will have to do such things as hire and fire people, manage money, set fees, deal with frustrated customers, and avoid fraud and embezzlement. You are the business owner and the entrepreneur, but you are also the main employee. You will have to be able to balance multiple roles running a dental practice.

Lack of Benefits

If you choose to own your own practice you will not have designated benefits from an employer. The only benefits you are going to get are the benefits that you will give yourself. This means that if you aren’t able to save money early on and invest properly, you might end up working longer than people who have an organized retirement plan.

In any profession there are going to be challenges and problems, including reasons not to enter into that field. These are some of the big ones that I have observed from multiple dentists. Knowing the bad points is valuable and can help you make the right choice. But remember there are also lots of benefits and advantages in becoming a dentist.

55 Replies to “Why to not choose dentistry”

  1. Jacob, my family is of 7, 6 of them are involved in medical fields basically, mom, dad, brother, sister are already doctors and me and my sister are studying dentistry and medicine respectively.
    I have one sister left who chose the path of technology and decided to study CS and she is very happy with her profession.
    So as you can see our family is thankfully one that loves working hard and aiming for the biggest of our own goals. It wasn’t hard, dad’s story is the hardest as he had to travel abroad and learn a new language in order to be one.

    So what I’m saying is yes, it’s soo HARD, TIRING, TIME CONSUMING whatever you want… However, it’s what you desire and admire to be, set your goal(why do you want to become a dentist).
    Plus, there are many fields in both medicine and dentistry, so you can choose what suits you and your personality whether you want to have direct contact with patients or not, or you want to work with machines or with your hands or maybe just from the outside of the body, you Can choose the age group, whatever you’d like.
    Dentistry is the same but has less than all of d these choices
    Moreover, your life is not going to pass by studying. As dad says, with TIME MANAGEMENT everything you want to do can be done.
    Study, work, go out with friends and family, sports… etc

    All in all, it’s hard work, but it’s rewarding and fun if you love it.

    Ps, i was torn between dentistry and artificial intelligence because I love both but had 2 problems that made me decide, firstly, hate maths even though I’m good at it but it’s no fun. So if I want to know a bit about AI I’d take it later as a hobby, also I decided that I don’t want to sit infront of a computer all day to work and all night to play games haha.
    Secondly, I was afraid of time, because medicine and dentistry take alot of time to study, then choose an exact specialization and then to start a job and make it prosper, However, I already said what my dad say that that doesn’t mean your life is at stop during all of that because the key is time management.

  2. I am confused on how Ben is giving advice on platforms why not to be and why to be a dentist. Its very contradicting information and as I read through the comments on both forums it shows there are pros and cons just like any other career. However, as I read through WHY NOT BE, it can totally be depressing to read this but insightful for one who is totally unsure about who they want to be.

  3. being a masochist really helps. 36 years later. It has been good for me. Better be sure – LOTS of debt and risk for the future. Hard work. I believe that Medical school is really easier.

  4. Hi everyone,

    This is a time sensitive question and is probably longer than needed but its very important to me.

    My name is Jacob and I’m a current senior in high school with a lifelong love for science, learning, and helping others.

    For almost the entire duration of my high school years, I planned on becoming a doctor. However a deep self analysis earlier this year, led me to realize that the lifestyle and stress (specifically that which comes with the 100+ hour work weeks during medical residency) was just not something I would not be able to handle. After considering other avenues within healthcare, I became convinced that Dentistry would be a way for me to mitigate the stress typically experienced by most medical professionals (better hours, less controlled by insurance and large corporations than medicine, better patient interaction) and still get involved with healthcare as I have intended. Furthermore, It seemed like a fulfilling career as Dentists appear to make a good living and can help improve the lives of their patients. I even shadowed several dentists and specialists and they all seemed to love what they do.

    My plan was to major in business, get my pre-requisites for dental school, work really hard to score high on the DAT and get into dental school (and if I didn’t get into dental school, I would fall back on business). However after being accepted into an early admission program into the University of Louisville’s dental school, I was told by the dentists I frequently shadow that I would be ludicrous to not accept this offer if I am certain I want to be a Dentist. But the trouble is, this program will not allow me to major in business, and at 17 years old, how can I possibly know for sure what I want to do for a living?

    Now, after reading every single comment in this thread I am beginning to question pursuing dentistry. I understood it would requite lots of schooling, some long sleepless nights, and many challenges but from what I have just read, it seems absolutely miserable.

    My issue is that I know the world needs healthcare professionals and people who dedicate their lives to helping others and I always thought that would be me. But with only a month left to decide where to attend college, and the tough position of having to decide between a great opportunity to achieve my goal of becoming a dentist and some great business opportunities (that would make it much more difficult to get into dental school) I would love to get some advice on how to approach this decision. Should I feel guilty if I abandon a career in healthcare for a, probably much easier, one in business. Are there still ways for me to impact others in the world of business?

    Thanks for any help. I greatly appreciate it.

    1. Hey Jacob,

      Thanks for sharing such a well articulated question. You’re very lucky to be accepted into a 3+4 type program with a fast track into dental school. Those are highly regarded spots and it says a lot about your character.

      With that being said, I would not feel guilty at all about abandoning a career in healthcare. You can make the world a better place in any profession. Business men and women do it every day. Don’t even consider guilt in your decision making process.

      Also, don’t let a dentist high-salary influence your decision making process. You can earn just as much in many professions.

      As far as figuring out what you want to do, try shadowing some other professionals, take a class on career exploration, and try expand your choices. You’re young so don’t make the mistake of thinking you need everything figured out right now.

      I hope that helps. Hopefully others will chime in as well.

      1. Hi Ben,

        Thanks for the prompt response! I appreciate your advise and encouragement to decide what I want to pursue without feeling guilty.

        I find it very unfortunate that most health care professions like physicians and dentists are so misrepresented. If you search any top 100 jobs list you will almost certainly find general dentists, dental specialists, physicians and surgeons towards the top. But do some digging and you’ll quickly find an abundance of dentists and doctors pouring out their regrets for dedicating their life to a career they can not find much enjoyment in.

        As dentist yourself, I’m sure you know many DMDs and DDSs that find enjoyment in their work and I’d love for you (as well as anyone else who sees this) to share. Maybe in the future, my mind will change but as of now I find myself drifting farther away from a career in healthcare everyday.

    2. Hi Jacob.

      If you have not joined the profession do not join it. Don’t try it.
      It’s harder than it seems. You’d get a lot of annoying side comments from your medical colleagues. If you want to f*** up your life go all out. Go to a medical school and know your life is totally f*****. Dentistry will F*** you up without you knowing.
      A humble advice from a Dental elder.

    3. Jacob–please try to shadow 3-5 dentists for 1/2 day at their offices to see what the field is like and ask questions–especially, “If you had it to do over again, would you still choose dentistry”. Keep in mind there are also research opportunities and specialties like oral radiology.
      Also try to shadow business folks doing what you might be interested in. There are lots of opportunities to impact others through the world of business; not the least of which is to make a ton of money, retire early, and devote yourself to volunteering at whatever you are passionate about. I just left dentistry after 25 years, and I owned my own practice for 24 years. My biggest struggle was finding and keeping excellent employees. Everything above here applies, and I really struggled. I took a gap year during COVID after being furloughed from my associate position and am looking to consult in facilitating collaboration between medicine and dentistry for infants and toddlers.
      You can always go to school for business (which will certainly help you run a dental practice!!!) and still take your science classes and go to dental school–so don’t think you have to decide your life in the next month!!! Shadow, ask questions, network, and take the next step. Always follow your joy and passion. Good luck!

  5. Hello,

    I graduated college in 2016. I wanted to be a dentist for a long time but I decided to take a break after I graduated. I have been a denta Assistant for the past 2 Years. I am studying to take the DAT exam but I not as motivated knowing how much money and time I have to invest. But also I don’t want to feel regret one day for never giving this a chance.

    1. Just take the process one day at a time. All you need to do now is ace the DAT. Then you can worry about dental school later. If you enjoy dental assisting, you’ll love dentistry. Best wishes to you!

  6. I hate dentistry if time will come back I will get into medical school and will never look back!
    For me it is the most miserable time wasting job I ‘ve ever seen .

  7. I hate dentistry. Becoming a dentist was a horrible mistake and unfortunately it keeps you financially in bondage so you can’t just walk away and do something pleasant. Stay away from being a dentist. You will suffer greatly and you’re life will be AWFUL. No exceptions.

  8. I have a friend who is a dentist (UK cosmetic dentistry) in his early thirties, lives in a fabulous house, drives an Audi A8, has a stunning fiancé, has job flexibility and seems more than happy with his lot! I swear, I wish everyday that I could trade places go back and become a dentist!

  9. Hello, last summer I participated in the Summer Medical and Dental Education program. I had the opportunity to shadow at a fourth year dental student at the University of Louisville dental school. I like what I was exposed to, but for some reason I am still torn between dentistry and medicine. I have always had a love for obstetrics and gynecology, but the crazy hours and lifestyle has always made me not want to pursue it. At this point I just feel confused and now that I am going into the last semester of my sophomore year in college I need to decide if I need to start getting materials to study for the MCAT or the DAT.

    1. If you are great at memorizing – be a medical doctor.
      If you are great with your hands, be a dentist.
      Medical hours are terrible.
      Dental staff and business/insurance issues are stiffling.
      Work is aweful in general in health care because the 10% “bad” patients will ruin each day and oveshadow/bury the other excellent 90%.
      I am living what i just wrote.
      I am a dentist, my sister is a doctor.
      We both wish we were something less stressful.

      1. Yes, oh yes. I agree. Just left clinical dentistry after 25 years. SO thankful to not be doing it anymore.

  10. Greetings,

    First of all ,Dr.Ben, I would like to compliment you on this great and insightful website you have created. It helped me really decide if this is a field I want to persue. I am currently enrolled at a four year university as a sophomore. I have read all the comments and replies, the ones that really grab my attention are the ones from Dave. I have always aspired to become a dentist since I was in middle school, but now that I’ve really looked at it. I’m not really sure if I want to be in the same position as the other dentists above. Dr.Ben is there any other carreers I can persue with a Biology degree with good pay so that I didn’t waste my time so far in college persuing a biology degree? Thank you.

  11. Greetings,

    First of all ,Dr.Ben, I would like to compliment you on this great and insightful website you have created. It helped me really decide if this is a field I want to persue. I am currently enrolled at a four year university as a sophomore. I have read all the comments and replies, the ones that really grab my attention are the ones from Dave. I have always aspired to become a dentist since I was in middle school, but now that I’ve really looked at it. I’m not really sure if I want to be in the same position as the other dentists above. Dr.Ben is there any other carreers I can persue with a Biology degree with good pay so that I didn’t waste my time so far in college persuing a biology degree?

  12. Dentistry as profession would not be recommended today. Thirty-five years ago when I graduated there was good to fair insurances, private patients paying the UCR fees, and minimal debt service for the education. Now the costs of the education, competition, reimbursement rates, marketing, and our litigious world should steer one away from the profession. It was stressful enough without the aforementioned hurdles. I am a specialist and have done well but do not foresee similar opportunities in todays climate.

    1. Completely agree… Too bad i am only 5yrs in and battling every single aforementioned hurdle.
      If i could go back, i would be in finances/taxes/economics…even as a woman, which is a challenge in itself in those careers it seems. Dentistry today has nothing to do with 20 years ago, or even 10.

      1. Hey you have been practicing for 5 years ? What hurdles are you talking about ? I want to go to dental school and have applied to some. I have already done it from a foreign country but will have to go through 2 years of DDS again in USA.. and i already am pursuing MPH. I am torn between getting a job with MPH and settling down (for less money than dental) or going for DDS

        1. The fact that you already have significant dental training gives you a large lead. If you enjoyed the dentistry, I would suggest you go for it. But realize that there are some very hard tests in the future if you want this. So evaluate yourself, is this a challenge that you are ready for at this time in your life.

          I hope that helps!

  13. Hello everyone, I am a 20 year old enlisted soldier in the US Army. I am considering a career in dentistry and have absolutely no idea of where I should start. I am currently serving 1 year of a 5 year contract as a IT specialist for the Army. I have many concerns about taking on this profession. Is it worth it? How much debt will I acquire if I choose the cheapest schools and are there any Army programs that I am unaware about to help pay for school. Paying for school is my most concern.

  14. I agree mostly with Dave above. I have been practicing for twelve years and became disabled because of this profession. We are respected about as much as barbers (who are not hated). The real learned professions don’t take us seriously or consider us colleagues. The student loans make it all but impossible to practice ethically. Try doing that or being “honest” with your treatment plan and good luck to you in living a decent life. Corporate chains know the indebtedness of students so they prey on their desperation. Read any reviews of Aspen Dental and let me tell you, it doesn’t feel right to be hated and disrespected by people on Yelp.com or websites set up to sue these entities. All those years of school to become a technician are depressing. If you make even $150k, it’s not worth it. The stress and heart attacks and suicide is not worth it. You will strain your family and relationships, you will become neurotic, your staff and patients will hate you, and you will become depressed. You quickly realize that the myth of a “good dentist” is just that; you can be the best with your hands but cannot avoid a restoration failing due to working in a wet environment or the patient moves around, complains, bites down, or chews on rocks at home. There is nothing rewarding about this career. I’d rather make $60k and be happy than miserable, suicidal, and psychotic. And that’s what will become of you after thirty years

    1. You are preaching to the choir. I’ve been in practice for 22 years and I sooooooo ready to retire!! For the last 7 years I have been totally miserable. It is a chore just to get up in the morning and walk into the office. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great staff, have great hours and make a great living, but its just not worth it anymore. My hatred for this profession has started to change my personality, making me less patient and quicker to fly off the handle. I’ve gotten to not really like the person I have become. The worse part is I have become depressed and even had suicidal thoughts….this is just not me. I would never recommend either of my kids to pursue a career in dentistry.

  15. I am an undergraduate student majoring in biology. I am interested in dentistry, but I mostly chose the career field because of the lifestyle that it can provide for me. I don’t aspire to open my own practice. I would rather work for Veterans Affairs or in a setting where I don’t have to deal with the business side of dentistry. My dad thinks that I should just become a medical doctor. Should I listen to him?

    1. Hi Tiarra,

      I would not advise going into dentistry for the lifestyle. There are plenty of jobs out there which pay well and offer a flexible lifestyle. Also, if you have no intention of opening your own practice your income will not be very high, especially if you consider your starting debt. I would focus on what makes you happy.

      Dentistry can be very frustrating, it takes certain types of people to fit well in this field. I suggest you find a dentist in your area and try to work with him/her for a few months. This will help you discover if you are a good fit.

    2. No! Do not go into dentistry. It is the most stressful and unrewarding profession you could get into. I hate it and am stuck in this profession because of the financial trap it causes. You will be hated and despised by patients, you will develop a lot of ex-friends, and your own family will begin to look down on you as the pressure and demands of dentistry wear you thin, and the list goes on and on.
      Go into anything but dentistry. I’m not being facititious or joking.

      1. I second that. It is nothing like medicine. You get no respect from patients or other professions , have to sell your services (something school never tells you is 90% is elective) , get to fight for meager insurance compensation, and fight for the low copays due from patients who think insurance should pay for everything , like medical insurance. I sold my office, quitting after eleven years of the worst stress you can imagine.

    3. Listen to your dad he is right you wont have a life. Patients will make you stressed out.You will always be tired and worn out. My friend works at HYDRO does nothing and makes super money and is at the golf course all the time.He is retired now and I am still working .I had already a heart attack.Its not worth it.Listen to your dad he is a smart man.

  16. Dave,
    You’re comments are on the money. I wish there was internet in 1994 and I could have ready that before spending 4 years and 260K on dental school. I still owe almost 100K. With the taxes I have to pay, with the way loans repayment/interest are set up, I may die with these loans. Not worth the stress. And now I’m locked in like an indentured servant walking on the eggshells for the rest of my life. Because please don’t forget, people absolutely LOVE suing more than they love bitching.

    1. This month alone I had over $14,000 of production go out the window. Spent money on employees to confirm the appointments with the patients within 24-48 hours of the scheduled time. Each appointment was 2-3 hours long…..you guessed it, the day of the appointment they just simply didn’t show. People have ZERO respect for our time. Find a skill , profession, talent where people will respect your time In dentistry, we can’t overbook patients because we have to be on-hands the whole time to do the job. Unlike physicians that can tie up your time for hours while you wait on them to write a prescription, while their techs are doing all the real work in the background. We dentists have to have a dedicated amount of time to do our job, no one else in the office can do it.

  17. Hi I am a freshmen in college. I have currently in a direct admission program for dental school. I will be automatically entering dental school in 3 years as long as I maintain the GPA and DAT scores required by our program. I wanted to know more about the dental opportunities outside a private clinic. I do know that some hospitals have dentists specialized in certain programs, but i would like to know more about it.

    Thank You

    1. Hey Matt,

      Great question! There are some dental options outside of private practice. There is community dentistry where you might work for lower economic populations or spend your time setting up social care type programs. There is military dentistry. There is dental research done for a university, or a big cooperation. There is also the option of working for a dentist or dental cooperation, where you don’t actually own the private practice but just do the work. There is also the education pathway where you teach dentistry at a dental school, hygiene school or assisting school.

  18. Do NOT go into the field of dentistry. You’ll make more money as a manager at McDonalds. I hate the profession after 25 years, it has caused me extreme emotional distress, and once you realize you hate it, you’re stuck. I would never take this path again if given the chance.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the comment. If you’re willing I would love to know more about why you regret becoming a dentist. And I think my readers would appreciate your feedback as well. Its good to know the pros and cons from the start.

      1. Hi Ben,
        Here are just a few of the things that make me sick of my career, in the order of why I hate dentistry (being a dentist).
        1. I despise being hated by everyone, despite the fact I do my utmost best to make sure they are taken care of. I’ve gone to great expense to help people with THEIR teeth problems to just be told “I hate the dentist”. You think this is not directed at you in particular but it is. The patients say “don’t take this personal , but I hate the dentist”…..guess what? It becomes personal eventually. Can’t go anywhere and tell someone I’m a dentist without hearing the “I hate dentist” comments.

        2. It is way to difficult to get paid. No one wants to pay the dentist. They think it should be totally free, especially if they have insurance. They think you are a worthless servant of the government and should learn to live with whatever the insurance pays. This is only about 50% of what expenses are incurred by the procedures. Why do people think my skill is worthless??”??

        3. You never can take a vacation, at least a vacation that is paid for. It costs $5000 a week just to shut down despite the fact the vacation trip might only cost $1500. The average person can afford the $1500, but the dentist has to pay his employees, rent, loans, power, phone, etc. while not making any money. If you do get a “vacation”, you’re constantly worried about the mounting problems you will face when you return. Again, people hate you as a dentist but never think you should enjoy your time off
        Funny thing is, people think dentists are rich but constantly gripe about paying them. It all boils down to dentistry is not considered a valuable service in this country.

        4. TOO MANY DENTISTS everywhere!!!!!!! Everywhere I go, I can’t go 2 miles without seeing a damn dentist office. The competition is too great and if you are not spending $50K a year in website improvements, advertisements, internal marketing…..you are going to be left out.

        5. The intense demands from patients is overwhelming. You won’t believe how picky people are about their teeth. They gripe about the most insignificant things right after they tell you how much they hate you. Let me emphasize over and over how old it gets to be told you are hated. Most people take this lightly, but the dentist gets VERY SICK OF THIS PUBLICY ACCEPTED INSULT. There needs to be a hate-crime law against this action. Dentists commit suicide over this issue and there should be laws against telling a dentist you hate him/her.
        6. The income given the amount of stress and time at work is very low.
        7. You will be taxed to death.
        8. Your marriage will always be stressed and strained….good luck staying married.
        9. You will constantly be at war with an employee. The work ethic today is awful.
        10. You will have to work just as hard at age 70 as you do at 30, and at 70 , it is 100% more difficult.
        IOW, the money won’t just come in because of your age and experience.

        I wanted to be a dentist because I’m good with my hands and enjoy tackling tough jobs, but dentistry is ridiculous. Steer away from it!!! I was warned as a young man but ignored the warnings. I thought I would have it made as a dentist. Instead, it has been an awful career with no relief in sight.

        Just being honest . I warned you.

        1. Ditto to all, don’t forget the constant neck and back pain, and huge insurance outlays: disability, life, health, overhead, malpractice, workmans comp, flood, unemployment, etc; or my favorite tax: radiation tax

          1. Oh yes, I agree. The list goes on and on and on as to why dentistry is an industry so lacking in benefits and rewards.

  19. in malawi dentistry is not a paying career, a lot of dental technicians are poor, poorer than primary school teachers, what a shame

  20. what is your opinion about orthodontics?
    this is my dream job my concern is time, debt and not getting accepted into the residency

    is is also physically demanding ?

    1. I work frequently with an orthodontist. She seems more busy than I do. Orthodontists usually see more patients than most general dentists in a day. They usually have more assistants helping them to get everything done. I would say that their work is physically demanding.

  21. Hi, thank you for not sugar coating the dentistry profession. I’m in a slightly different situation. I’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree, have been working as a professional for 6 six years now, and am considering a career change. I’m only 16 credits short of the requirement to get into dental school (o-chem and physics) and have thought about going for it. With the idea of possibly specializing in orthodontics, is it worth it at my age to start now? I would be in my late 30’s by the time I was finished and practicing on my own. What do you think?

    1. Remember going into dentistry to be an orthodontist is like going into medicine to be a dermatologist, only the top 3 in your class will get to be ortho/derm….so unless you are ready to push everyone in school out of your way, get ready for the other options.

  22. Hi! Thank you so much for this website, it has given me a large amount of insight to the practice of dentistry. I am a high school student, and I am very interested in this field. I have had confidence issues revolving around my smile; I would love to help others become less insecure about theirs. Is there any way I can get my foot into the door of dentistry since I’m only a teenager? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  23. Hi,
    I’m currently an undergraduate student taking my prerequisite courses to apply for Nursing school. Lately, I’ve been researching dentistry and I feel like it is something that I could definitely see myself doing. In school, I have made my mistakes as far as poor grades. I do plan on repeats some of those classes to strive for an A.

    When applying to dental school, will those repeated classes hinder my chances of admission even if I do score a high grade?

    Also, is there any options to avoiding tremendous amounts of debt in dental school?

    Thanks for this article,

  24. Hello! I’m a high school student and I am really interested in dentistry. But the worry is I already have frequent backaches and neck pain as a student now, and I’m currently seeing a chiropractor. So I am not sure if I can cope with these physical stresses if I become a dentist in the future. Also, it seems that a dentist faces a lot of health risks via needle-stick incidences. I’m quite afraid of these… How do you think the probability of getting such incidences is? And how do any dentist cope with such imminent dangers everyday of their work?

    1. Hi,

      This is a good, legit concern. Back and neck pains are a big problem. I know of a few dentists that have retired early due to these types of problems. Often they will go into teaching. But, there are protective measures which can help. Regular exercise, physical therapy, learning proper posture, and getting an ergonomic setup are some ways to slow the problems.

      As far as needle sticks go, it is quite rare. But, it does happen. Every clinic has protective measures, and even if it happens, the risk of getting the disease is low. Seems like every profession has its risks, but these are some good risks to consider. But remember, everything isn’t bad there are some great reasons to become a dentist, check out my Why to choose dentistry page.

  25. Hello, my parents are dentists and they want to give me a dental education but I hate this profession! Could I start loving this job in the future?

    1. Sounds risky… have you tried working with your parents. I would not suggest that you go into something that you hate. There are too many other great professions out there. But since you have parents that are dentists you are lucky and can go work / shadow them. Find out if you enjoy it.

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