Thinking about Being a Dentist and Needed Opinion

Hi
I already have a bachelors in business and masters in IT but thinking about a career change and becoming a dentist. Just wanted to check and get someone who has been one.

  1. How much is the total expense roughly
  2. How much could I expect to make a year
  3. What do you like and not like about being a dentist
  4. Do I have to study 7 years again or can I skip some ?

I understand I have to ask the uni etc for a lot of this but just wanted personal opinion from someone who has done it especially with the part of how much money you can make after investing that many years and money.

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +14 votes

    What is it about you that makes you think you would be suitable to be a dentist? How are your people skills? Do you have a passion for assisting people and helping them overcome the medical and social issues caused by poor teeth/oral hygeine?

    Sounds to me that you have had a good think about the money but not much of a think at all about the actual work and passion involved in being a dentist.

    • +13 votes

      I'm pretty sure it takes more people skills to help people overcome IT problems.

      • -22 votes

        wells. i always growl at IT staff who ask me to restart my computer as the first step to resolve my IT issues. I respect their people skills to deal with difficult internal customers like me.

        • +19 votes

          IT staff who ask me to restart my computer

          Rebooting clears RAMS and solves almost all problems. It is a very valid diagnosis. I am no IT expert either, just a random Joe.

        • +1 vote

          Ahh you're one of "those" users.

      • +1 vote

        A lot of people don't want to hear about problems with their diet or hygiene. While being in IT can be challenging and require good people skills (most just ability to listen), I am in IT and have been for 30 years now. it is nothing compared to convincing someone their lifetime of habits are bad and convincing them to change.

    • +5 votes

      Sounds to me that you have had a good think about the money but not much of a think at all about the actual work and passion involved in being a dentist.

      I don't see anything in the post to suggest what they've thought about, or why they are drawn to dentistry of all things. Maybe it's money, or they just spared us the preamble about a lifelong passion for teeth and amazing people skills.

      To me it sounds like it could be regular old dissatisfaction with the current job and wondering if the grass is greener somewhere else. Maybe dentistry stood out for some reason, which is enough to justify further thought, and they wanna check if they are deluding themselves before fantasizing for too long.

  • +5 votes

    Are you prepared to look inside people's mouths for the rest of your life?

    • +6 votes

      at least he is not training to be an endoscopist.

      • +1 vote

        endoscopy lab is not that bad, proctologist might be the one you were looking for

    • +13 votes

      Better than looking inside somebody's browser history for your whole life, trust me.

    •  

      Some people like putting things in someone else's mouth …

      :P

  • +36 votes

    How much is the total expense roughly
    How much could I expect to make a year

    The fact that those are your first 2 questions are the reason why you're not ready for a career change.

    • +3 votes

      High Yield Dentistry.

    • +1 vote

      Do I have to study 7 years again or can I skip some ?

      ROFL.

      • +1 vote

        Except the answer could easily be yes. I dunno what dentists study, but outside of purely medical courses there are probably a couple of basic math subjects, maybe even some business admin electives, software training etc.
        Wouldn't be much though.

        • +3 votes

          Uhhh they might get credit on the statistic course but other than that, highly unlikely they'll get credit for anything most of the dental degree is either hands on or health/medicine subject related.

          • +14 votes

            @Trance N Dance: I think you're actually way off. I think we all were, because OP might be a lazy moron.

            I had a quick look at a Doctor of Dental Medicine at USyd, which is a 4 year course for "Postgraduates from any discipline who are interesting in becoming a dentist"
            The only prerequisite seems to a single biology related subject, plus admission tests/screening. It's not 7 years at all.

            I feel annoyed finding this because it suggests that OP couldn't even be bothered doing the slightest bit of research.
            And come to think of it, course fees are also very easy to find.

    • +3 votes

      Oh? What if the answers were:
      - 3 million
      - less than minimum wage

      They're perfectly valid questions to find out the answers to before making a life-changing decision regardless of the amount of passion you have for something. Not everything is realistic and selling the spiel that anybody can do anything they dream of at any time doesn't help anyone.

      • -1 vote

        An actual interest in the job is definitely important!

        Hell, OP can't even be bothered to partake in the discussion, are we really led to believe this was anything beyond a passing thought?

        • +1 vote

          An actual interest in the job is definitely important!

          I thought I might be interested and then they told me it will cost $320k. Thanks but no thanks: I'm not 320k-in-debt interested😂

  • +4 votes

    a bachelors in business and masters in IT

    If you're looking for career satisfaction that you can't get from these two degrees, dentistry isn't it either. I've never heard of anyone get into it for the love of teeth, only for money.

    Other than that, the problem isn't the field you're in, it's probably your attitude and outlook on life and work. Dentistry isn't likely to help with that either.

    •  

      I feel like dentistry offers something completely different. Many dentists run their own practice, which means more independence, and they work directly with a large number of customers. And the the work itself requires intelligence and craftsmanship.

      As someone in a similar boring office job staring at a screen all day, I've sometimes found myself thinking that my dentist has a pretty good thing going. Helps that he actually does seem to enjoy his work a lot, but I imagine he probably got into it for the money anyway.

      • +1 vote

        You don't want to know how much a dentist practice costs to set up. It is lucrative, but the initial startup cost is in the high six-figures. And it's basically a mortgage in the sense you can't get out of it.

        Grass is always greener on the other side.

        •  

          That kind of thing is easy to overlook, and I imagine it's more than I'd expect. I think that type of fantasy-breaking reality is what OP is looking for.

          Certainly an off-putting financial detail, though it still seems separate to potential career satisfaction in dentistry vs many IT jobs.
          Although, there should be enough variety in potential jobs with bus+IT, that the medical aspect has to really appeal to offer anything unique. I've assumed IT means a 9-5 desk job, but it could be almost anything.

        • +1 vote

          Not just the initial captial but running costs as well. There are quite a few practices where the owner would have easily been better off as an employee elsewhere.

          The patient dilution is ridiculous with dentists setting up single chair practices within closer proximity to other dentists. It's a profession where some think they can buy their way into employment and income.

        •  

          but the initial startup cost is in the high six-figures.

          Are we talking 100k or 900k?

      • +1 vote

        @crentist Username checks out.

      • +1 vote

        So your dentist's name is Crentist? Huh. Sounds a lot like dentist.

    • +4 votes

      I've never heard of anyone get into it for the love of teeth

      Mate you gotta meet my dentist.

      Dude goes on holidays to attend dentistry conferences.

      Dude does charity dentistry in third-world countries.

      This dude f—ing LOVES teeth. Dude has found his niche and made it work for him.

      •  

        I'm reading tax deduction. My GP used to travel the world on conferences, all happened to be in great holuday destinations in summer

        •  

          They got to have income to deduct from in the first place. Which means the patients are the sheep that they need to sheer the fleece.

  • +6 votes

    Why stops at dentistry, how about becoming a neurosurgeon? Definitely more money there and guaranteed job.

    •  

      anaesthetist is good one too

      • +1 vote

        There's also running for PM.

        • +1 vote

          You don't even need an education for that, you could literally do that next election too!

          • +7 votes

            @aussie222:

            You don't even need an education for that

            These days you do. Bachelor of Marketing. Majoring in spin.

    •  

      NBA pays well I heard, go for it.

  • +7 votes

    Do I have to study 7 years again or can I skip some ?

    Do any of your previous courses overlap with training you need to do to be a dentist?

    I mean I did IT a while ago, but man I don't remember the part about cleaning teeth all that well these days. I can give it a shot I guess, can't be too hard.

    •  

      garbage collection in programming. cleaning teeth. same same, but different.

    • +3 votes

      Obviously you didn't pay attention during calculus

  • +3 votes

    You can definitely skip at least 5 of the 7 years of study.

  •  

    Mmmm nothing like having your hands in a stranger's disgusting mouth all day.

    • -1 vote

      At least he didn't ask about becoming a gynecologist.

  • +5 votes

    Learn from YouTube. You'll be fine

  •  

    Wouldn't this be better in a dentistry forum? Or careers expo?

  •  

    What you just said sounds very simple lol. Don't know if you're just flexing.

    Sounds like those guys throwing around the "I'll just LS swap it" phrase. Easier said than done

  • +5 votes

    OP's lack of basic research and naivety disgust me.

  • +2 votes

    Some of these questions are very lazy and could be answered by a very cursory online search.

  • +10 votes

    OP do your own research, you've obviously made no effort at all. Salaries and course fees are easy to find for any field.
    You obviously haven't even bothered looking at possible courses, or you wouldn't be thinking it's going to be 7 years.

    You've done IT, you shouldn't need people to google things for you.

  • +2 votes

    The high earning dentists are the ones who invest tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in to continuing education after university. A dentist fresh out of uni earns peanuts in comparison.
    Also most dentists will have back issues during their career. Regular physio/Pilates/yoga sessions are pretty common to see.
    It's a very long journey and I wouldn't recommend it if it's only about the money. You will burn out earlyon unless you have a real passion for it.

  •  

    If you look like Jennifer Aniston then you can have at my teeth now!

    • -1 vote

      No, the OP isn't probably old and saggy.

  •  

    Dentists are not regulated for their fees so should you wish to charge X$ for a check up & scale, the dentist nearby may charge X$ more or even much less than your practice.
    Ever seen the cost for a root canal? You will be shocked at the cost
    Then specialise in dental implants @ 7K minimum for ea tooth!

  •  

    These are issues you really need to be asking a Careers Advisor.

    NOT a serial box

  • +32 votes

    As a retired dentist who did not do it for the money I would make the following comments
    Don’t do the course to make money-there is a huge oversupply of dentists in Australia plus an increasing number of ancillaries who who do some of the work dentists have traditionally done. People shop around a lot to get cheapest treatment and often the cheapest does not need doing and there is no job satisfaction in doing rubbish work quickly.
    Most of the population either can’t afford or don’t want exotic expensive dentistry so you’ll be doing more mundane work. If you’re good at sales you’ll do better if your morals aren’t a problem.
    The best aspect of dentistry is job satisfaction-doing work to a high standard and looking after the patients interests rather than your own.
    You need empathy to be a dentist but the downside is the emotional wear and tear of inflicting pain all day.
    Dentists will tell you it’s a young person’s occupation-it gets more difficult as you get older even though you have more experience.
    You will suffer from neck/back pain.
    If you work in a single operator surgery it can be lonely.
    It’s a much more difficult occupation than most people realise.
    You’ll graduate with a large HECS bill.
    So lose income whilst doing the course plus you have to pay it back.
    So think carefully before you apply to be a dentist.

    • +3 votes

      Spot on! I am a recent Dentistry graduate and moved interstate for work. But this was my biggest regret in life.

      1) Discrimination - There is rampant discrimination in Dentisty. It took me 9 months to get my first job as I was discriminated on my education (interstate trained), gender and experience.
      It is a well know fact that females are preferred in Dentistry and experience matters.

      Age discrimination (similar to Software Engineers) is also present in Dentistry. A Dentist over the age of 40 will be reluctant to leave his position as it is hard to get a new one.
      His only option by that age is to set up his own clinic.

      I was fortuante that I had other qualifications, which I was able to use to land a graduate role in a large well known tech company. It was actaully easier to get a role in
      this company than a Dentistry position. This allowed me to keep myself afloat for a while.

      2) Lack of jobs - Massive oversupply (Dentists from India, UK and Irelant) along with the above discimination means that there is a severe lack of jobs present. I have never seen so many shoddy jobs
      as in Dentistry. The contract can be shoddy, crap staff/work environment or lack of patient (no pay).
      After 9 months, I got a Dentistry role in my state. But this involved 3 hours travel time everyday. I got burnout and gave up. I was unable to get anything close to home. I couldn't move close to work either
      as they were opposite ends of the city.

      3) Job security - There is a lack of job security in Dentistry as nearly everyone works as a contractor. Contracts can be written in a way that they don't have to honour the notice period.
      I recently made redundant from my position with minimal notice and had to return to IT as I couldn't find a Dentistry role. I found the new IT roles pretty quicky too.

      4) Lack of mentorship/support - During my graduate IT role, I had a senior engineer mentoring/helping me. This is absent in Dentistry… a bit scary tbh.

      I am actually surprised that people struggle to get IT jobs. I found it easier to get grad IT roles than Dentistry position. Contrary to popular belief, an oversupply in health profession reduces opportunities,
      but an oversupply of Engineers actually creates jobs and growth. The only advantage of Dentistry is the possible/potential high pay but the squeeze is not work the effort.

  • +6 votes

    As a mate constantly reminds my dentist friend on the golf course, the dental profession has the highest rates of suicide.

  •  

    OP PM me if you want. I can provide a perspective of both.

  • +1 vote

    im in the same boat, just graduated in IT but I really want to do a career change to nursing, I enjoy the health/medical aspect aswell as helping people

    •  

      in IT, you can restart the computer and the problem is solved. or throw the computer out of the window and buy a new one.

      you can't throw a nasty patient out of the window to restart their lives.

      •  

        IT is the same, plus I cant see myself sitting in a desk 9-5 for the rest of my life.

    •  

      Doing the same, started this year. IT > health , except with about 10 years IT experience.

      PM me if you want to chat!

  • +5 votes

    The best thing about being a dentist. The highest suicide rate! Your competition eliminates themselves!

    Don't become another statistic.

  •  

    do it they make great money

  • +2 votes

    I'm not a dentist but have dentists in the family. Jacko15 summed it up pretty well.

    Income per dentist in Australia is shrinking due to healthier populations, oversaturation of dentists, increases costs of equipment+supplies and more patients going overseas for large treatments.

    What you make per year can vary greatly depending on your roster and patient numbers. Historically dentists were on commission (40% of patient income minus some expenses) but due to tough market conditions new dentists can be salaried less than 100k or start closer to 35% commission.

    Your success is going to be based on how good you and other staff are with people, not the clinical skill. The patient is judging the price, ambiance and your charisma.

    The physical toll should not be underestimated. Many have back and neck issues and is partly why dentists don't work all days available. Your duty of care to patients and their busy time should also be very high. If you can't make it to work the practice has to reschedule a whole day of appointments.

    You may earn more as a senior IT professional compared to first 5-10 years as a dentist, but long run dentistry may prove more stable and lucrative. Also good for work life balance when you get to start choosing your days.

    If you want to own your own dental practice that's a whole new conversation again..

    •  

      had some shitty dental work done. i definitely judge the clinical skill. must be in the minority

  • -3 votes

    If you have no scruples and like earning lots of money, become a Dentist. If I was younger I would quit I.T and become a Dentist (or a Radiographer).

    •  

      Do you mean radiologist?
      Radiographer earn decent, I would not say lots. Very similar to nurse or other allied health.

    •  

      You mean get in to Real Estate?

  • +2 votes

    You sirs are a bunch of anti-dentites!

  •  

    Stay in IT, learn some new languages and skills. Maybe pick up cloud devops skills and you'll much more easily reach the level you're after.

  • +2 votes

    As a local recent graduate of the undergraduate cost, the fees for each semester were 5-6k. I believe postgraduate dentistry courses are much more expensive per semester (someone please correct me here) Don't forget that this course does have high competition so you may want to consider the cost of rent and other living expenses if you end up relocating to studying dentistry in another state.

    Some universities will require you to buy dental instruments so you can use it in your simulation clinic. When I bought it, it was roughly 1k. Since then the price has risen substantially, so I would recommend buying your instruments second hand to save yourself some money.

    I have a few friends who focused on the money, they lost their drive early in their career and don't look forward to coming to work. Additionally, as the above comments have mentioned, there is an oversaturation of dentist, therefore, your yearly salary is less than what it used to be and very dependent on your patient flow in your clinic. (e.g. some clinics will see reduced patients in times like virus outbreaks). Don't do it for the money, make sure you have some sort of passion for dentistry if you're considering studying it.

    Also, don't forget you still have to do UCAT or GAMSAT depending on which university you are aiming for.

  • +1 vote

    do you have a passion facing random people's gum and rotten teeth, hearing all those drilling shrilling, smelling all those funny odour, day by day, year by year, then probably yes, the money is good after all.

  • +1 vote

    Is this question even realistic considering admissions requirements.

    Undergraduate is out as OP doesn't have a 99 ATAR to spend.

    Graduate is out as his undergraduate was in business and his other graduate in IT.

    Am I missing something?

    • +1 vote

      I think most graduate dentistry degrees don't need a science degree as a pre-requisite. It's usually satisfactory GPA/WAM in an undergrad degree, good GAMSAT score and doing well in the interview.

      • +1 vote

        Well yeah, I'd be thinking that at the minimum a 75 average or 3.5/4 GPA equivalent and a GAMSAT in the top 10-20%, depending on dental school.

        @dealover - do you have these attributes?

  •  

    Do I have to study 7 years again or can I skip some ?

    Not necessarily.I was looking into a possible career change not so long ago and was offered a conditional offer to complete a DDS ( Doctor of Dental Surgery)..

    The only requirement was that I had successfully completed a BSC, which I had.

    Edit: Course was $320k for the 4 years, before the part scholarship.

  •  
    1. undergrad ~10k/y, postgrad could be 200k+
    2. depends if you do public or private, what type of work you do and where you work. big cities you could make less than 100k as a public dentist (esp vic)
    3. hands on, combo of medicine art engineering all in one. satisfying and rewarding job when everything runs along smoothly. however, the job is stressful and some days i wonder why i went down this pathway, it's not all about the money. You can go work unqualified at the mines and still make $700/day (my colleague quit dentistry to work in the mines). its not a job for everyone
    4. last i checked you'd probably be sitting the gamsat and if you succeed with all that + interviews, usually 4 years for the degree if there is no science prereq
  • +5 votes

    My sister has been a dentist for >10 years. She did 5 years at Melbourne uni. She doesn't make much ($50k ish) but doesn't work much and volunteers most of her time. She lives a very poor lifestyle (doesn't own a house, car etc).

    Starting pay is higher in rural-remote areas (e.g. QLD health jobs are at least $120k for dentists) and much less in cities. They generally take home 50% of profits. Some jobs offer a much higher salary BUT the expectations are a lot higher (e.g. hard selling/ up-selling procedures).

    She spends almost all her money and most of her time volunteering in remote villages in Africa (it is dangerous and she has armed escorts in the villages she works in). She also does other volunteer work e.g. on Mercy ships etc. I think although she is poor, she is very happy and has good satisfaction helping those truly in need.

    • +1 vote

      That's awesome, way to go Greypotatobake's sister

    • +1 vote

      What isn't obvious is that this kind of job has no career ladder.

      The starting pay can be very high. It can also be the maximum you will ever earn. The only way to make more money is to work harder, longer hours, or doing more complicated work.

      The job never rewards experience with higher base salary

    • +2 votes

      what a champion! All the best for her!

    • +4 votes

      Sounds like she lives a rich life style to me.

  •  

    I thought you need really extremely HIGH marks in your HSC and then it is still competitive but also pass some interviews. I don't think it is option or choice for most of the population on this alone.

    But don't worry about studying, you can still be a dentist in India possibly.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoBYttpiqg8

  • +1 vote

    If you're after money, go become an NBA player. No hecs.

  •  

    Globalisation should have told you a lesson by now!

    Just like others said if the depression of IT has not killed you yet you can add to it by diving closer to infinity.

    Become an AH, study Psychology or even worse become a sports extremist, be sponsored by minority extremists cash in for doing practically nothing!

  • -2 votes

    My old (rural) dentist used to tell me that it was "a licence to print money".

    Not sure if it's the same 20 years later, but he told me if I went to uni I should become a dentist.

    •  

      There's more to life than money. Unless you're into teeth, I wouldn't find the job fulfilling (no pun intended).

      •  

        There's (profanity) all jobs that are actually fulfilling.

  •  

    What ever you do, do not do this for the money. You better damn well love teeth to go down this path.

  • +6 votes

    Lol

    Starts a thread & disappears

    Troll

    •  

      …"Thanks in advance"… Aka tell me your thoughts, give me all the information, see you later suckers. Hahahaaa