“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie.”
Rodney Dangerfield, Comedian
Pros and Cons of Working as a Dentist
You think about becoming a dentist? Great!
However, before you make your final decision, make sure to check out this article since I show you all the pros and cons of being a dentist in the following.
Maybe you’ll change your mind and want to go for another career path after evaluating all the arguments below.
Table of Contents
Dentist Job Profile
|Short Job Description||Dentists make sure that all problems that have to do with our teeth are solved. These include treating rather easy things like caries, but also complex tooth replacements.|
|Salary||$175,000 per year on average, ranging from $115,000 to $265,000 per year.|
|Job Security||Good job security.|
|Job Satisfaction||Average job satisfaction.|
|Work-Life Balance||Decent work-life balance.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Can be mentally and physically demanding.|
|Future Outlook||Good since barriers to entry are pretty high since you need extensive education.|
|Requirements||College degree and additional training required.|
Advantages of Being a Dentist
- Dentists can earn really good money
- You can relief people from pain
- You can improve the quality of life of many people
- Dentists are crucial for our system to work
- Being a dentist implies high reputation in society
- Dentists have an easy time in the dating market
- You can do your family and friend favors
- Every patient is a new challenge
- Dentists will always be needed
- You can open your own dental office
- Relatively moderate working hours
- Some dentists even only work part-time
- Good work-life balance
- Dentists don’t face the pressure of other doctors
Dentists can earn really good money
One important advantage of being a dentist is that you can earn really good money.
In fact, most dentists have a six-figure income after a few years.
Hence, dentists earn more money than nurse practitioners and most other people.
Consequently, if money and a fancy lifestyle are really important to you, becoming a dentist will be one suitable career choice for you.
You can relief people from pain
Apart from the money, you can also do good for people.
You will have patients who come to you on a daily basis and ask for your help to relieve them from serious pain.
In fact, toothache is quite common and can have various causes.
Most of the time, you as a dentist will be able to identify those causes and find appropriate solutions to the issue.
In turn, your patients will often be grateful for what you have done for them and will often come back since they know that they are in good hands.
You can improve the quality of life of many people
As a dentist, you can not only relieve people from pain, but you can also improve the quality of life of your patients in general.
Quite often, people also have aesthetic issues with their teeth.
By solving these issues, people will simply look better.
Consequently, those people will also have better chances in various parts of life and you can often leave your dental office with the feeling that you have done good for others.
Dentists are crucial for our system to work
Dentists are also quite important to keep our system running.
Similar to other doctors, dentists are crucial for our infrastructure since people need fast and competent assistance in case of emergency.
Imagine a world without dentists. Who should fix your dental issues?
Who could relieve you from toothache and other issues related to your teeth?
We would all be lost without dentists and would no longer be able to live our life as we know it right now.
Thus, as a dentist, you will be a crucial part of the local infrastructure and without you and other passionate dentists, the whole system would collapse and plenty of chaos would occur.
Being a dentist implies high reputation in society
Another upside of becoming a dentist is that you will also enjoy a pretty high reputation in society.
Since people know how important your work really is to keep them vital, most people will respect you quite a lot and will greatly appreciate your work.
Like many other doctors, dentists have a quite decent standing and your childhood friends will also be quite impressed when they hear that you have become a successful dentist.
Dentists have an easy time in the dating market
Since dentists have a high reputation in society and can earn really good money, they also have an edge in the dating market.
Money and high social status definitely help when it comes to finding a partner.
In fact, as a dentist, you will have the choice between many different potential partners and can choose the one who fits you best.
Moreover, if you have a breakup with your partner one day, you will have an easy time to find another partner who might be even better suited for you.
Therefore, being a dentist can also greatly help you out in your private life.
You can do your family and friend favors
As a dentist, you can not only help your patients.
You can also consult your family and friends and also offer them cheap or even free treatment in case of emergency.
Many people are still not covered by proper health insurance and in case of necessary dental treatment, those people often can’t afford it.
In such a case, your loved ones will be quite grateful for your support since they will get cheap relief and don’t have to pay the high costs associated with treatment in other dental offices.
Every patient is a new challenge
You will also realize soon that every patient will be different and that something that worked for patient A will not always work for patient B.
Hence, you will often have to improvise to find the best possible treatment for your patients.
While this can be quite challenging, it also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills further and it keeps you motivated and curious.
Thus, if you love challenges and want to get better every day, being a dentist can also be great in this regard.
Dentists will always be needed
While many jobs will be automized in the near future, this will not be true for dentists, at least not to a significant extent.
In fact, dentists will always be needed and the work dentists can do cannot be carried out by robots in the next decades.
Moreover, people also want to have personal contact with dentists and other doctors instead of just getting treatment from a machine.
Consequently, as a dentist, you will also have pretty high job security and you don’t have to fear being replaced by a machine in the next years or decades.
You can open your own dental office
If you are rather an entrepreneurial type of person, you could also open your own dental practice.
Of course, for the first years, it is advisable to work as an employee for someone else since you will learn a lot during this time.
However, after you have learned all the important skills, you can easily open your own dental office.
By doing so, you will have a greater level of flexibility regarding when to work and when to take time off since you will be your own boss.
Thus, you don’t have to work as an employee forever if you don’t want to.
In fact, it is quite easy to start your own business as a dentist if you feel ready for it one day.
Relatively moderate working hours
As a dentist, you will also have the choice if you want to work many extra hours or not.
In fact, most dentists can decide how much they want to work.
Sure, if you want to earn really good money, you will have to work like a dog.
However, some dentists also don’t want to work that much and miss out on additional money in exchange for more leisure and less stress.
Some dentists even only work part-time
Some dentists even only work part-time.
Especially in areas where rents are still cheap, some dentists can afford a decent lifestyle by just working 20 – 30 hours each week.
Hence, you don’t necessarily have to work your ass off as a dentist.
Some dentists also have a pretty relaxed life and it also depends on the kind of lifestyle you want to live.
If you are willing to live a rather humble lifestyle, it may be enough for you to work only 20 hours and still be quite happy.
Good work-life balance
Dentists can also have a pretty good work-life balance.
If you have your own dental practice, you can decide how much you want to work and how much time you want to spend with your family.
You will also be quite flexible regarding the hours you want to work.
You can also decide whether you want to have time off during holidays or if you want to work instead.
As you can see, you have a great level of freedom regarding when and how much you want to work as a dentist, especially if you have your own dental clinic since you will be your own boss.
Dentists don’t face the pressure of other doctors
While your mistakes as a dentist can be painful, dentists often don’t have the same level of responsibility and pressure as other doctors do.
In fact, if cardiologists make mistakes, those mistakes can cost the lives of their patients.
If dentists make mistakes, their patients will most often still be alive and issues can be resolved in the future.
Hence, the stress and pressure that comes along with being a dentist is often not comparable to other medical professions and you can live a more relaxed life in general.
Disadvantages of Being a Dentist
- It takes a long time to become a dentist
- Student loan debt can be overwhelming
- Problematic if you change your mind after a few years
- Dentists may have to work on weekends and holidays
- Emergency service can be stressful
- Not all dentist clinics are profitable
- Your working field will be rather narrow
- Dentists are at risk of getting infectious diseases
- Dentists have to calm down their clients
- Many people are afraid to go to the dentist
- Some patients are just difficult
- Your mistakes can cause serious health issues for your clients
- People may sue you
- Mental issues among dentists
- Being a dentist is also physically demanding
- Can be hard once you get older
- May get boring in the long run
- Just one mistake can ruin your reputation
- Many people underestimate the stress of being a dentist
It takes a long time to become a dentist
Even though being a dentist can have many important advantages, there are still some issues related to this occupation.
For instance, one problem with being a dentist is that it takes quite a long time to become a dentist.
In fact, you will have to go to college for many years.
It will take the average student 6 to 8 years to be able to work as a dentist.
This means that you will have many years of education ahead of you and that you have to finance those years somehow.
It also means that you have to be quite ambitious not to quit after a while.
Student loan debt can be overwhelming
Many students are not able to finance their education through their student jobs and also don’t get sufficient support from their parents.
Hence, many students who aspire to become dentists will have to take on student debt.
While student debt makes your life as a student more convenient since you will not to worry about money during this period of your life, you will have to pay the piper later on in your life.
In fact, many dentists have to pay back six figures in student debt and will take many years to do so while truck drivers and many other people don’t have to worry in this regard at all.
Thus, becoming a dentist often implies getting into serious debt and you should make sure that your career is worth that much money to you.
Problematic if you change your mind after a few years
The worst case would be to start your studies to become a dentist and quit after a few years.
In such a case, you would have serious student debt and would have paid serious amounts of money on tuition without getting any reward from it.
Hence, before starting your education to become a dentist, you should be absolutely sure that this career path is suitable for you since you would suffer from serious financial consequences otherwise.
Dentists may have to work on weekends and holidays
While it will be your own choice whether you want to work on weekends and holidays or not if you have your own dental practice, you will often be forced to work during those times if you are employed by someone else.
Consequently, if you are not willing to work on holidays or weekends, either make sure to open your own practice or choose a different profession instead.
Emergency service can be stressful
Especially if you work in emergency service, your job as a dentist can be quite stressful.
You will often have to deal with difficult cases and may even have to work at nighttime.
This can lead to serious stress and if you don’t want to have this stress in your life, chances are that you should go for different professions instead.
Not all dentist clinics are profitable
While the education path to become a dentist is quite extensive and costly, the reward of it will not be as certain as you might think.
In fact, not all dental clinics are profitable since machines and staff can be quite expensive.
Thus, especially if you plan to open your own dental practice, make sure that you live in an area where it is actually profitable to do so.
Your working field will be rather narrow
Another downside of being a dentist is that you will have to work in the same job for your whole life, at least if you don’t want to invest plenty of additional time and money in a different education.
As a dentist, you can only fix issues that are associated with the teeth of a person.
In contrast, if you study business or many other majors, you can work in many different jobs and will also have an easy time switching fields.
Hence, make sure that being a dentist will be in fact your dream job since you will have a hard time switching careers.
Dentists are at risk of getting infectious diseases
Since you will work with patients and work in their mouth, you will also be at greater risk to get infected with HIV or other serious diseases.
In fact, just minor wounds on your fingers that stay unnoticed can lead to those infections if you work with them in the mouths of your patients, especially if you don’t take appropriate safety measures.
Even if you wear gloves all the time, there is still some remaining risk since nothing is perfect and also gloves can have holes.
Dentists have to calm down their clients
As a dentist, you will not only have to deal with the teeth of your clients.
You will also have to calm down nervous patients.
In fact, many people don’t like to go to the dentist and you will have the role to take away the discomfort from them.
While this works for some, it will be quite frustrating for others and you will get annoyed with some patients in the long run.
Many people are afraid to go to the dentist
Some people are literally afraid to go to the dentist.
Those people do everything to avoid appointments in the dental practice.
While this may work for a certain period of time, problems will exacerbate in the long run and minor issues will turn into serious problems.
Consequently, some people that come to you will suffer from such bad teeth conditions that you will be barely able to help them at all other than to remove their teeth.
Some patients are just difficult
While most patients will appreciate your work, there will still be some people who always find something to complain about.
In fact, some patients are also quite sensitive and will make mountains out of molehills.
Hence, be prepared that not all patients will be friendly and that you have to develop a certain level of patience for the most difficult among them.
Your mistakes can cause serious health issues for your clients
As a dentist, you also have a certain level of responsibility for your patients.
In fact, if you make mistakes, you can hurt your patients or incorrect treatment can even lead to serious consequential damage.
Thus, make sure that you are willing to take on this responsibility before deciding for a career as a dentist.
People may sue you
Everyone makes mistakes and sooner or later, you will be the one who causes serious issues for your patients.
While some people will forgive you your mistakes, others will even sue you and in case you are guilty, you may even lose your license to work as a dentist.
Mental issues among dentists
Due to mistakes during their careers or also due to stress, some dentists also suffer from mental problems.
In fact, if you can’t deal with pressure and stress in an emotionally healthy manner, you might want to choose an alternative career path instead.
Being a dentist is also physically demanding
Many people also underestimate the physical component that comes along with being a doctor.
It can be quite exhausting to stand all day long and to work in the mouths of your patients.
This can often lead to back pain and other physical health problems in the long run.
Can be hard once you get older
The physical component of the job as a dentist can be quite problematic, especially once you get older.
In fact, some dentists even have to quit their jobs due to physical health issues in their 50s and 60s.
May get boring in the long run
While dentistry is a passion for many people who work in this field, it can become boring for people who are just in the game for the money.
Hence, make sure that you have a real interest and passion for helping others before choosing this occupation.
Just one mistake can ruin your reputation
Especially when you have your own dental office, just one big mistake can ruin your reputation.
People talk to each other and if you get bad reviews, chances are that you will not have enough clients in the future and eventually even have to close your office.
Many people underestimate the stress of being a dentist
In general, there is much more to being a dentist than you might think at first.
Many people underestimate what it takes to operate a successful dental practice and will get into financial and emotional problems in the long run.
Top 10 Being a Dentist Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Dentist Pros||Being a Dentist Cons|
|Dentists can earn good money||Being a dentist can be stressful|
|You can help your patients||You have to deal with difficult patients|
|You can do your loved ones favors||Many people are afraid of dentists|
|Dentists can work part-time||Long years of education|
|Most patients will appreciate your work||High tuition fees|
|You can open your own practice||Student loan debt is quite common|
|Being a dentist can be a passion||Mental issues are rather common|
|Decent work-life balance||Dentists also face physical challenges|
|Good chances in the dating market||Problematic once you get older|
|You can always learn||Patients may sue you|
Should You Become A Dentist?
As we can see, there are several important advantages and disadvantages of being a dentist.
You should evaluate all the pros and cons carefully to make a profound decision of whether you still want to become a dentist or not.
If you still want to become a dentist, you may also want to have a look at the job prospects, educational requirements, job satisfaction, working hours, future outlook and salary of dentists.
If you choose against it, there are still several other career paths you could choose.
Also make sure to check out the following articles:
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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