Two Out of Three Dentists Recommend Dental Careers

Majority of Dentists Seem Happy to Be Practicing Dentistry

Dental Survey ResultsIn our most recent survey, two out of three dentists reported that they would recommend a career in dentistry to their children or grandchildren.

Female dentists were far less likely to recommend a dental career than were their male counterparts. While only 28% of male respondents said they would not recommend dentistry, fully 55% of female respondents did.

While 36% of general dentists said they would advise against a dental career, only 7% of specialists felt the same way. This suggests specialists may be happier with their careers than general practitioners.

Here are some comments from dentists…

  • “It is a wonderful career where you can truly be the boss. What could be better?” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “I like the profession but dislike the business of dentistry.” (New York dentist)
  • “I don’t know who is earning all that money that I read about in various surveys, but it sure isn’t me.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Ask any physician. They’ll all admit we’ve picked the right profession.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “I thinks the physical strain is too much. Disability comes fast.” (California dentist)
  • “It is a part of me.” (South Carolina periodontist)
  • “I wouldn’t want my children to have to experience the stress that I had to go though.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Helping other people with their physical and psychological health is extremely rewarding.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “I love the practice of dentistry, and my son is starting dental school this fall.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “It has been corrupted by the influence of dental insurance.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It has turned out to be the best thing I could have done both personally and professionally.” (New York dentist)

Post your own comments or read the complete dental career survey results…

Choosing a Dental Career (video)

Dental career dentist survey videoA dental career can be richly rewarding… or a source of near-constant frustration.

When The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they would still want to be a dentist if they could do it all over again, two out of three said they would still choose dentistry. One in three said that, knowing what they know now, they would change professions.

“I love being a dentist. I have been practicing over 40 years, and I look forward to going to work every day,” said an Oklahoma dentist.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dentists’ thoughts on choosing a dental career in this video.

“I make a nice living, but I would not do this again. I would rather be a plumber!” declared a Minnesota dentist.

Said an Arizona dentist, “I enjoy cosmetic dentistry, and my practice has evolved into a boutique-type office with a connection to overall health. I love it!”

“Being a dentist has been a true disappointment to a lifelong dream. I acquired an extreme amount of debt, I’m disillusioned and exhausted, and, frankly, it doesn’t pay enough for the abuse,” complained an Alabama dentist. “I just do not enjoy it!”

What would you advise a young person considering a career in dentistry?

Being a Dentist is the Best Job in the US

Being a Dentist is the Best Job in the USBeing a dentist is the best job to have in 2013, according to U.S. News.

Last week, U.S. News released their list of the 100 Best Jobs for 2013.

The criteria for the occupations that made the list are jobs that offer great employment opportunities, a good salary, a manageable work-life balance, and job security.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of dentists is expected to grow by 21% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Dentists will continue to see an increase in public demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health.

Part of this growth is expected to come from the aging baby-boom generation who are predicted to need more complicated dental work as they continue to age. The number of dentists is not expected to keep pace with this increased demand for boomer dental services.

Rural dentists continue to decline throughout the U.S. The ADA’s Dental Health Policy Analysis Series reports that almost 90% of all dentists are located in metropolitan areas; less than 1% are located in rural areas. About 8% of U.S. counties have no active dentist practicing within the county.

Data from the ADA reveals that total predoctoral enrollment was at its highest level during the late 1970s through the early 1980s, with peak enrollment of 22,842 in the 1980-81 academic year. In the last ten years, first-year predoctoral enrollment has only risen an average of 1.7% annually while the demand for dental services has risen dramatically since the 1980s.

Further increasing the demand for more dentists is the projection that beginning in 2014, as the baby-boomer dentists start to retire, the number of practicing dentists will decline dramatically while the U.S. population continues to increase.

Ignored in the U.S. News 100 Best Job list is the fact that dental students are graduating from dental school with increasingly burdensome amounts of educational debt.

The American Dental Education Association reports that in 2007 the average for all dental school graduates with debt averaged $172,627, those graduating from a public school averaged $148,777, while those graduating from private/state-related schools averaged $206,956. New dentists are entering the workforce carrying student debt loads not previously seen by entry level dentists at any time in the history of dental care.

Dentists, what are your thoughts about dentistry as a career?

Do you think being a dentist is the best job in the U.S.?

To read more on this story see: The 100 Best Jobs

36% of Dentists Would Not Choose Dentistry Again

36% of Dentists Would Not Choose Dentistry Again64% of dentists surveyed would choose dentistry again as a profession, while 36% would not.

Since dentists have a very high rate of career burnout, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if knowing what they know now, would they still want to be a dentist if they could do it over again.

“I had no idea of the overhead. I had no idea how unappreciative people are or how short their memory is. I would love to go home early one day just for the hell of it. I would love a paid vacation. I despise staff issues. I wish my job only depended on ME doing a great job. I thought dental insurance would be a blessing for people HA!” replied one North Carolina dentist.

Of the 36% who answered that they would not chose dentistry again as a profession, many dentists sited practice management issues and dealing with dental insurance as the main reasons for their disillusionment with dentistry.

Here’s what the dentist respondents had to say about choosing dentistry as a career a second time —

Better income elsewhere …

“For what you have to put up with the re-numeration is a mere pittance. All the good we do for people and the satisfaction of mastery of this fine art and science is ruined by the peripheral nonsense that we have to endure. I would not do it again! (Massachusetts dentist)

“I could make more money doing other things I already do, but cannot devote 100% to them because I am a dentist.” (New York dentist)

“It’s not as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I do wonder if another career (banking) might have fit me better and allowed me to have more early income, less early debt, and more flexibility to move to new locations when the desire to live in new places came about. In dentistry, transitioning to a new location is extremely challenging and costly.” (Colorado dentist)

There is no money in this profession since the PPO’S have taken over. My 3 brothers make A LOT more money than I do — attorney, accountant and a banker.  Guess who works the most? The DDS.” (California dentist)

Costs too much …

“Though I absolutely love the diagnostics, patients, surgical and technical details of dentistry, the return on investment is not there. The public, including our MD colleagues do not understand the number of years of education (very expensive), and that each of our operatories are surgical suites. In the last 15-20 yrs there is less appreciation of our excellent care and an expectation that we provide excellent care for little, nothing or we pay to provide it. Our stethescope is at least one surgical tray and then some. The cost to provide dental care is too prohibitive. Very sad to say.” (Minnesota dentist)

“Too hard to make a living and too many hurdles via insurance and governmental regulations.” (California dentist)

“Can’t practice like you need to to make a living. Insurance sets fees but I can’t even call my colleagues and ask them what they charge for a procedure without being accused of price fixing. Patients gripe about fees and I haven’t raised mine in three years yet my lab, supply, and utilities have gone up. People pay $250 for pet hygiene appointments but gripe when they are told that to have their periodontal condition taken care of it will be this amount.” (Texas dentist)

Too stressful. I should have been a government employee . I would be collecting a 6 figure pension check here in California after 25 years of service.” (California dentist)

Management side a hassle …

“The stress of school was overwhelming and we were treated like dirt. I love dentistry as an occupation, but I don’t like the business aspect.” (North Dakota dentist)

“Way too much stress with staff issues and constantly worrying about finances. There’s the staff bickering and always wanting more compensation even when practice growth does not allow for it and the isolation you feel intellectually. I get sick of people thinking because I’m a dentist that I’m rich and can do their work for free. You can’t get a loaf of bread without paying for it so why the hell has this mentality been allowed to permeate our profession?” (Georgia dentist)

“The profession is too complex. If I could ONLY do clinical work I would, but unfortunately the business aspect of it is a MUST which I do not particularly enjoy.” (Florida dentist)

I hate everything about the office management side. (General dentist)

Insurance gets in the way …

“Insurance companies have separated the dentist from the patient by dictating treatment and controlling the costs and ways fees are paid. There is not the doctor/patient relationship I have had in the past. Patients leave for the reduced benefit plans to go to someplace where there is no out of pocket expense to them. They then do not moderate what the contract dentist does, so submit to over-treatment. That is the only way a contract dentist can make it pay. I have had many patients return questioning the treatment plan given to them by the “new” person.” (Indiana dentist)

“Insurance sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong and fellow dentists are too wimpy to stand up to them!” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Being a dentist has been a true disappointment to a life-long dream.  I began planning my entire life at an early age.  I found that I acquired an extreme amount of debt all to be dictated by insurance companies, insurance driven patients, and a disillusionment that patients would appreciate quality care.  I have acquired even more debt honing my skills at leading institutions just to have patients still ask “will my insurance cover it?”  I also built a state-of-the-office practice with strong systems.  It is exhausting and frankly doesn’t pay enough for the abuse.  While my office as grown and by many standards flourished during this current state of the economy,  but to be frankly honest I just do not enjoy it!”  (Alabama dentist)

Would gladly do it again …

“I love being a dentist.  I have been practicing over 40 years and I look forward to going to work every day. Unfortunately I am worried that the corporate chains are trying to take over private practice and ruining dentistry.” (Oklahoma dentist)

It’s the best profession in the world!” (Kentucky dentist)

“Dentistry is a great profession with marvelous flexibility to choose how and what to practice.” (Washington dentist)

“Hell yes.  In a heartbeat.  No other occupation compares.  While not for everyone (read 80% of you in private practice, or those of you who wrote NO) it is simply a great profession for me.  The only change?  I would have taken advantage of a GPR rather than go straight from dental school to practicing general dentistry.  I would have added more perio and oral surgery to my repertoire and certainly more medicine.  It is rare I need an alarm clock to get up everyday at 5:30 to get to work and I work 5 days per week.  Phenomenal, phenomenal love of the profession and the people I help every day.” (Colorado orthodontist)

We had an overwhelming amount of comments and responses to this survey and we appreciate all the dentists who participated.  Thank you for your candor.  I will most likely do a follow-up article on the rest of the responses to this survey and showcase more of the advice from dental professionals.

What are your thoughts about a career in dentistry?

Four of Five Dentists Suffer from Dental Burnout

Dentistry Demands a Lot from Dental Practitioners

Dental Survey Results When we asked dentists if they’ve ever suffered from professional burnout in their dental careers, a whopping 81% said yes. Only 19% reported that they had never felt burnt out in dentistry.

“If dentists dropped managed care and got better fees for their hard work, it would reduce burnout significantly,” said one dentist wistfully. “Get rid of people in the office who drag you down,” offered another. “Sometimes the very best first step is to sell the practice, take a year off, relax, think, and plan new strategies,” advised an implantologist.

Tips to ease your life

  • “Work 4 days a week. Have a good staff. Take long lunch breaks. Use fewer rooms.” (Vermont dentist)
  • “Deal with dentistry, not finances.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Take quarterly vacations.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Taking dental continuing education classes rejuvenates my practice and keeps me fresh.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Have a life outside of dentistry.” (New York dentist)
  • “Don’t get overwhelmed by a schedule that is not commensurate with your ebbing strength as you hit retirement age.” (California dentist)

What dentists think about burnout

  • “I’m a relatively new dentist, and no one warned me about the dangers of high stress, high debt, low reimbursements and staffing issues.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “If you view each patient as unique, each with their own set of physical and mental aspects to their mouths, how can dentistry get boring?” (Maryland dentist)
  • “The over-40 crowd needs time away to counter burnout.” (Texas pediatric dentist)
  • “Burnout to me is mainly the result of the negative light in which most people view the dental office experience.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “It’s having a great, loyal, professional and mature staff along with a great flow of new patients who want what I have to sell and where money is no object. So, how do I find that? LOL.” (Texas dentist)

Read the complete dental burnout survey results or post your own comments

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