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Is Dental School worth 450K debt?

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  • #46




    My first full year out of dental school, I associated and actually made close to $180k. I know that’s higher than average for that, but I practice in a rural area where there aren’t a ton of dentists.  If you want to live in a big city, you just have to accept that you’re going to make less due to the extreme saturation in the big metro areas. If you’re willing to go rural, you can do much better. You can always live in a big city and commute out.

    Where I went to dental school (Ohio State), if you’re out of state, you pay out of state tuition only for the first year. After that, you gain Ohio residency status and it’s much cheaper. In my opinion, there is absolutely NO excuse to pay 450k for dental school, or really any professional school. That’s just poor school choice as well as bad financial management while in school. But then again I was fortunate that I got into an affordable state school in my home state.

    But as others have said, there’s really no debate here. If you don’t find dentistry interesting, don’t do it. Dental school sucks hard, and it’s not going to be any easier if you don’t at least relatively enjoy the work. I won’t say that I absolutely love dentistry; it’s certainly just a means to an end for me. But I’m decent at it, and I don’t dread going into work, and I enjoy most of the procedures that I do. I count that as a win. The fact that I can make $200k doing it 4 days a week makes it even better. If you haven’t even started yet and you already think that it’s boring, I think you’re making a big mistake going to dental school. It IS repetitive, and it IS detail-oriented. And dental hygiene is even MORE repetitive. Something to think about before you devote your life to a profession just because it has a good work-life balance and pays decent money.
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    I heard Dentists don't make all that much more in rural areas because most of the patients are Medicaid/Medicare and can't afford to pay-out-pocket.

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    • #47




      My first full year out of dental school, I associated and actually made close to $180k. I know that’s higher than average for that, but I practice in a rural area where there aren’t a ton of dentists.  If you want to live in a big city, you just have to accept that you’re going to make less due to the extreme saturation in the big metro areas. If you’re willing to go rural, you can do much better. You can always live in a big city and commute out.

      Where I went to dental school (Ohio State), if you’re out of state, you pay out of state tuition only for the first year. After that, you gain Ohio residency status and it’s much cheaper. In my opinion, there is absolutely NO excuse to pay 450k for dental school, or really any professional school. That’s just poor school choice as well as bad financial management while in school. But then again I was fortunate that I got into an affordable state school in my home state.

      But as others have said, there’s really no debate here. If you don’t find dentistry interesting, don’t do it. Dental school sucks hard, and it’s not going to be any easier if you don’t at least relatively enjoy the work. I won’t say that I absolutely love dentistry; it’s certainly just a means to an end for me. But I’m decent at it, and I don’t dread going into work, and I enjoy most of the procedures that I do. I count that as a win. The fact that I can make $200k doing it 4 days a week makes it even better. If you haven’t even started yet and you already think that it’s boring, I think you’re making a big mistake going to dental school. It IS repetitive, and it IS detail-oriented. And dental hygiene is even MORE repetitive. Something to think about before you devote your life to a profession just because it has a good work-life balance and pays decent money.
      Click to expand...


      That's great that you made 180K. However, the ADA states that the AVERAGE dental associate makes around 130K....The AVERAGE private practice dentist makes around 170-180K....The averages accounts for the average salary for dentists everywhere in the US, not just in large cities......I don't think Dentists in rural areas are necessarily making tons of money due to Medicaid/Medicare....

      Comment


      • #48







        My first full year out of dental school, I associated and actually made close to $180k. I know that’s higher than average for that, but I practice in a rural area where there aren’t a ton of dentists.  If you want to live in a big city, you just have to accept that you’re going to make less due to the extreme saturation in the big metro areas. If you’re willing to go rural, you can do much better. You can always live in a big city and commute out.

        Where I went to dental school (Ohio State), if you’re out of state, you pay out of state tuition only for the first year. After that, you gain Ohio residency status and it’s much cheaper. In my opinion, there is absolutely NO excuse to pay 450k for dental school, or really any professional school. That’s just poor school choice as well as bad financial management while in school. But then again I was fortunate that I got into an affordable state school in my home state.

        But as others have said, there’s really no debate here. If you don’t find dentistry interesting, don’t do it. Dental school sucks hard, and it’s not going to be any easier if you don’t at least relatively enjoy the work. I won’t say that I absolutely love dentistry; it’s certainly just a means to an end for me. But I’m decent at it, and I don’t dread going into work, and I enjoy most of the procedures that I do. I count that as a win. The fact that I can make $200k doing it 4 days a week makes it even better. If you haven’t even started yet and you already think that it’s boring, I think you’re making a big mistake going to dental school. It IS repetitive, and it IS detail-oriented. And dental hygiene is even MORE repetitive. Something to think about before you devote your life to a profession just because it has a good work-life balance and pays decent money.
        Click to expand…


        I heard Dentists don’t make all that much more in rural areas because most of the patients are Medicaid/Medicare and can’t afford to pay-out-pocket.
        Click to expand...


        And you think you're not going to run into that in big cities? That's a universal issue at this point.

        Comment


        • #49
          The military has dental scholarships. Most of the military dentists I know and have worked with are pretty happy folks. You have to give up a lot of control over where you go after dental school, but if you accept that, it can be a decent deal especially at the debt number you figured (which seems very high).

          Only focus on if you want to be a dentist or not. You can find a way to go to school without incurring horrendous debt. From a pure financial perspective, it's tough to say any education for that expected income is worth half a million dollars.

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          • #50
            Actually the rural dentists can make quite a bit of money.  It all depends on the dentist to population ratio.  We were told a saturated ratio is less than 1:2000.  So if you are in a rural area of 1:10000 patients will come to you.  Moreover if you are the only dentist in town then you do not have to accept the low insurance reimbursement and can charge the fee you find reasonable.  In large to medium cities patients will just go find the dentist in their network, but if you are the only dentist in town people will still see you.

            As a physician, the towns my husband (dentist) would make the most money in were not towns that could support a medical community that I desired.

            Also Medicare does not cover dentistry.  Medicaid does cover dental care in some states but the reimbursement is so low that basically no dentists take it unless they are at a dental school or a FQHC which has other funding.  I think the reimbursement for a cavity on our state Medicaid was $20.  The exception being children's medicaid dental coverage where dentists can make a practice work for pediatrics (unlike medical world where pediatrics is paid less).

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            • #51
              Ms.IMDoc, how much did your husband pay for dental school?

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              • #52
                I just read through this thread because there were so many postings and figured it must be interesting.  It is pretty clear that the OP doesn't want to do dentistry, so why is there even a discussion about going into debt for dental school.

                Comment


                • #53




                  I just read through this thread because there were so many postings and figured it must be interesting.  It is pretty clear that the OP doesn’t want to do dentistry, so why is there even a discussion about going into debt for dental school.
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                  edit

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                  • #54
                    Paid for by military service.  He says he never would have done it if he had to go $400,000 in debt.  However he is a pretty debt adverse guy.  He is more like Mr. Money Mustache in terms of his financial attitude.

                    Edited to add: He went to an in-state school where most graduate with 350,000 - 400,000 in debt.

                     

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                    • #55




                      I just read through this thread because there were so many postings and figured it must be interesting. It is pretty clear that the OP doesn’t want to do dentistry, so why is there even a discussion about going into debt for dental school.
                      Click to expand...


                      Looks like the thread has run its course and is being kepi on by life support.

                      OP does not have a affordable dental school in his small state ( which he has not disclosed). He does not want to take on debt or be a small business owner. He has no real like, let alone love for dentistry. Others have given him leads on becoming a physician, NP or PA.

                      Yet he / she keeps harking back to dental school costs. Why  :?:

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                      • #56







                        I just read through this thread because there were so many postings and figured it must be interesting. It is pretty clear that the OP doesn’t want to do dentistry, so why is there even a discussion about going into debt for dental school.
                        Click to expand…


                        Looks like the thread has run its course and is being kepi on by life support.

                        OP does not have a affordable dental school in his small state ( which he has not disclosed). He does not want to take on debt or be a small business owner. He has no real like, let alone love for dentistry. Others have given him leads on becoming a physician, NP or PA.

                        Yet he / she keeps harking back to dental school costs. Why  ❓
                        Click to expand...


                        Because I received an acceptance to a private dental school that would cost 450K total including living expenses.....It's too late for me to apply for med school and I haven't taken the MCAT. There are PA schools near me that cost 35K per year in tuition. I took the GRE previously, so I just recently applied to them....They only start interviewing from the beginning of January though. It's not that I don't want to own a dental practice----it's just that I don't want to go 1 million in debt by purchasing a practice.....What if I don't make enough profit to pay off 1 million in debt? It's a huge risk.....I've known Doctors with private practices that have gone bankrupt....

                        Comment


                        • #57










                          I just read through this thread because there were so many postings and figured it must be interesting. It is pretty clear that the OP doesn’t want to do dentistry, so why is there even a discussion about going into debt for dental school.
                          Click to expand…


                          Looks like the thread has run its course and is being kepi on by life support.

                          OP does not have a affordable dental school in his small state ( which he has not disclosed). He does not want to take on debt or be a small business owner. He has no real like, let alone love for dentistry. Others have given him leads on becoming a physician, NP or PA.

                          Yet he / she keeps harking back to dental school costs. Why
                          Click to expand…


                          Because I received an acceptance to a private dental school that would cost 450K total including living expenses…..It’s too late for me to apply for med school and I haven’t taken the MCAT. There are PA schools near me that cost 35K per year in tuition. I took the GRE previously, so I just recently applied to them….They only start interviewing from the beginning of January though. It’s not that I don’t want to own a dental practice—-it’s just that I don’t want to go 1 million in debt by purchasing a practice…..What if I don’t make enough profit to pay off 1 million in debt? It’s a huge risk…..I’ve known Doctors with private practices that have gone bankrupt….
                          Click to expand...


                          Please don't take my observations as negative, but this seems to have been a good thing to have thought through before shelling out money for tests and applications.

                          Dental school (and p much all professional school) is also way too difficult and all-consuming for you to enter into without being completely certain that you want to do it.  Once you've established that you do, then your focus should be on how you plan on affording it, whether it's finding cheaper schools, engaging a military recruiter, looking into public service programs, etc; that's the point at which you should being applying to schools It's surprising you've put yourself this far into the process without grinding these details out, and are now working backwards with a narrow set of parameters.

                          There are far more schools to apply to than those that would cost that much, and there are other ways to fund dental school than loans.  Did you look into schools in neighboring states?  Some might offer in-state tuition to those in neighboring states if some states don't have many schools.  I know that many do this for veterinary medicine since there are only 27 or so in the country.  Some schools offer in-state for certain parts of other states, like OK schools often offer it for students from north TX, and I've heard of KY students getting in-state from Cincinnati, just to name a few instances.  IDK if those were case-by-case basis or if that's sort of a standing rule.  Basically, my point is that there's way more stones to unturn as to what it will cost than a few isolated instances.

                          tl;dr - I think you might need to revisit your entire thought process regarding this.

                          Comment


                          • #58


                            Because I received an acceptance to a private dental school that would cost 450K total including living expenses…..It’s too late for me to apply for med school and I haven’t taken the MCAT. There are PA schools near me that cost 35K per year in tuition. I took the GRE previously, so I just recently applied to them….They only start interviewing from the beginning of January though. It’s not that I don’t want to own a dental practice—-it’s just that I don’t want to go 1 million in debt by purchasing a practice…..What if I don’t make enough profit to pay off 1 million in debt? It’s a huge risk…..I’ve known Doctors with private practices that have gone bankrupt….
                            Click to expand...


                            This really sounds like a bunch of excuses strung together.

                            Because I received an acceptance...doesn't mean you have to lock yourself to that route.

                            Because it's too late for you to apply for med school? What's the rush? You have 30+ years of work ahead of you. You don't think it's worthwhile to take 1 - 2 to figure out what field is best?

                            Because PA schools near you are expensive? You looked around at all of them? You don't think it's worth doing the legwork to find more affordable schools even if it means leaving home so you don't make a catastrophic personal and financial decision?

                            It's just that ... What if ... It's a huge risk ... Others have failed ... Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

                            Find something you are really passionate about, approach it intelligently and unrelentingly with a tremendous work ethic, and you would be surprised at how well things almost always turn out.

                            Or don't. But don't say no one ever tried to warn you

                            Comment


                            • #59




                              Because I received an acceptance to a private dental school that would cost 450K total including living expenses…..It’s too late for me to apply for med school and I haven’t taken the MCAT. There are PA schools near me that cost 35K per year in tuition. I took the GRE previously, so I just recently applied to them….They only start interviewing from the beginning of January though. It’s not that I don’t want to own a dental practice—-it’s just that I don’t want to go 1 million in debt by purchasing a practice…..
                              Click to expand...


                              If you cannot run a practice, you cannot repay a $450K loan on an employed dentist salary. I know two dentist who had to take a good chunk of loans (probably > 300K) One is owning two practices in North Atlanta. One bought a dentist's practice from the widow, when her husband died suddenly (and she was an associate at another practice for 2 years but could not agree on the price of that practice) and now commutes 1/2 hour each way, but luckily is against traffic in Atlanta. She expects to repay the loan back over a period of 10 years.

                              In both cases the spouses make about $100K money and hence they could live on it, while the dentists repay the loans and build the practice. You learn a lot of things on the job ( like I hve done for the past 16+ years). But you do need to run your own practice and need a spouse who has steady job with benefits.

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                              • #60







                                Because I received an acceptance to a private dental school that would cost 450K total including living expenses…..It’s too late for me to apply for med school and I haven’t taken the MCAT. There are PA schools near me that cost 35K per year in tuition. I took the GRE previously, so I just recently applied to them….They only start interviewing from the beginning of January though. It’s not that I don’t want to own a dental practice—-it’s just that I don’t want to go 1 million in debt by purchasing a practice…..What if I don’t make enough profit to pay off 1 million in debt? It’s a huge risk…..I’ve known Doctors with private practices that have gone bankrupt….
                                Click to expand…


                                This really sounds like a bunch of excuses strung together.

                                Because I received an acceptance…doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself to that route.

                                Because it’s too late for you to apply for med school? What’s the rush? You have 30+ years of work ahead of you. You don’t think it’s worthwhile to take 1 – 2 to figure out what field is best?

                                Because PA schools near you are expensive? You looked around at all of them? You don’t think it’s worth doing the legwork to find more affordable schools even if it means leaving home so you don’t make a catastrophic personal and financial decision?

                                It’s just that … What if … It’s a huge risk … Others have failed … Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

                                Find something you are really passionate about, approach it intelligently and unrelentingly with a tremendous work ethic, and you would be surprised at how well things almost always turn out.

                                Or don’t. But don’t say no one ever tried to warn you ?
                                Click to expand...


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