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Well, I am going to be a dentist.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mark Fitzsimmons, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    I was recently accepted to dental school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. I wasn't sure if I was going to attend Case or not, but they presented me with a decently attractive financial package and I'm not passing up this deal.

    An additional note is that I am a high school senior. They admit up to 10 students a year into a 6 year dental program. Where you enter dental school after two years of undergrad studies.

    I'm quite excited.
     
  2. Andrew S

    Andrew S Stunt Coordinator

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    Just remember not to tell your patient to bite down while your finger's still in their mouth. My dentist made that mistake and then gave me this awful look. I think I even pierced her skin [​IMG] Did she ever cuss.
    - Andrew
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    Wow, congratulations!

    You must have been quite a pick, beating out thousands of applicants and getting one of the choice 10 spots! Not to mention the great financial package.

    I'm really impressed [​IMG]
     
  4. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Don't be tooo impressed. There definitely were not thousands of applicants. Not too many people know they want to be a dentist when they are in high school.

    And the financial package isn't all that great, it's going to be about half.
     
  5. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    in 10 years i'm going to read about Dr. Fitzsimmons' suicide in the newspaper
     
  6. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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  7. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    my dentist was an ass to me the last time i saw her, but i think she was just tired and stressed out because she's usually really nice and encourgaging....anyway Mark..hope ya make alot of money and don't resort into killing yourself
     
  8. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    I go to a really great practice, that I really like. The practice has two dentists on staff, both are great. They both went to the dental school at the University of Pennsylvania, which I understand to be pretty elite as well.

    Congratulations on your acceptance. Who cares if your friends think it's cool or not, be happy for yourself, and be one of those cool dentists [​IMG]
     
  9. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the kind words. You are right UPenn has an excellent dental school.

    With regard to friends and "coolness" everyone is very supportive about my decision and in fact, I'm sure there are more on the side thinking its more cool than uncool. If anything it's unique because I have not met another person my age (exception the few that I met at the school when the conducted interviews) that wants to be a dentist.

    I am very confident in my decision and eager to begin school and my career.
     
  10. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Congratulations!

    Dentistry is an awesome profession and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I graduated three years ago and only after did I realize the perks of being one. ....You make your own schedule, you don't have anyone watching over you, you do whatever you like, you can pursue any kind of continuing education, financial stability, job security, you will always be in demand, choice to run your own business as you see fit, respect (not really important but still nice to get a positive response from people you meet), opportunity to travel and take courses in exotic locales, tax deductions, and so much more. Of course, there are downsides too. I'll get into that if you're interested.

    Dental school requires discipline more than anything. My program was an intense four years... organization, perserverance, and hard work was the key. There are handfuls of people that I know that are smarter than me, but you don't need to understand quantum physics or molecular biology to be a great dentist. Enjoy your time in dental school. Get involved and have tons of fun. The friends that you'll make in there will likely be friends for life. When I get together with my dentist friends, we always joked about the stupid crazy stuff we did in school. No one remembers who finished first or last in the class.

    Feel free to email me and we can chat about any aspect of dentistry.

    Enjoy the ride!
     
  11. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Congratulations! When I was in medical school, we attended classes with dental students during our first year and part of our second year. It always seemed to me that the dental students were busier than we were (looking back on it, it hardly seems possible)!

    Several of my classmates were folks that had completed their DMD or DDS degrees and were pursuing the MD in order to do oromaxillofacial surgery. They were all terrific folks, and we had a lot of fun learning from one another.

    Best of luck to you...
     
  12. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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  13. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    How I chose dentistry..

    I had always been interested in medicine and had this not happened, I'd probably still be on the M.D. track right now.

    In school last year we had a job shadowing assignment, where we would go out, and observe someone in their workplace for six hours, etc. Conveniently, I was dating this girl last year and her dad is a dentist. So I decided to spend the day with him. To tell you the truth, I was not at all interested in dentistry going there, I was more trying to show this girl's father that I was an OK guy and trying to build some trust. But as it turned out, I really was interested in it. It's almost hard to put into words but it just felt right. I realized on that day that I understood the work involved in practicing dentistry and could see myself doing it in the future.

    However, I did not let just one day make up my mind for me. Since then, I've spent an additional 47 hours to the original 6 observing with dentists and specialists. In fact I'm spending another 3 hours tomorrow with an endodontist. Each observation experience has been extremely informative and reassuring that I've made a sound decision.

    Then there are all of the positive perks to being a dentist that lead me to know that I am making a wise decision in pursuing a career.

    The great majority of dentists are self-employed, meaning they get to choose how long, where, how often, and with whom they want to work.

    Unlike other medical professions, dentists really do not have on call time that would potentially keep them away from family and friends. If they do ever receive a problem call from a patient, they would be chair side for half an hour at the most.

    Dentistry is very hands on (exception oral pathology). This is what drew me toward medicine to begin with, I like working with my hands and directly with people. Unlike some specialties in medicine like radiology, I would always be working hands on. Even contrasted with family medicine, so many times patients come in describe their problem and you write them a prescription and leave. I do not want to spend my life seeing patients that have only come to you for a prescription for Viagra.

    The future outlook is very favorable. People are keeping their teeth longer now than they did years ago. More people are visiting their dentist on a regular basis than did in the past. There are less dental school graduates per year than there are projected retires.

    Job security is very high, my dentist has already offered me an associateship position available as soon as I get my degree. Also, dental practices are ranked very near the top of the list of businesses least likely to fail.

    I am sure there are more that just aren't coming to mind right now, but I am very enthusiastic about this career.
     
  14. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Mark: I can't disagree w/ anything you've mentioned as a perk of a career in dentistry except to say that many of these same advantages are present in medicine as well, depending upon the particular field chosen. This includes self-employment, excellent opportunities, amazingly high job security, the ability to spend a great deal of time with family/friends, the "hands on" factor, etc.

    Of course, it varies, but in my particular field of medicine, I lead a lifestyle which is comparable to that led by my friends in dentistry. Not knocking dentistry at all, just providing an analagous viewpoint...
     
  15. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    lets see, you can make an assload of money, and you never have to tell someone they have cancer or have to sign a death certificate. Good career choice.
     
  16. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Mark;

    It is awesome to see that you've carefully thought about this career choice. You are far more knowledgeable than I was going in. I have no doubts that you'll find what you're looking for.

    I went in because I wanted to work with my hands. I liked the sciences in school. I loved building Lego as a kid, and I am a bit of a perfectionist.

    Other dental specialities that are not hands on: oral radiology, public health, and I'd even include orthodontics.

    Another thing I want to bring up is that dentistry requires problem solving skills. Dental school teaches you a set of skills and exposes you to a wide range of materials. Situations will arise that will not be straight forward and you must think on your feet to come up with solutions. It's fun it works. You look stupid if it doesn't.

    Jon Are: Some downsides for me:

    I am more technically focused than socially focused. Dentistry is every bit as much as a health profession as a business. It takes more than being gentle, caring, and pleasant to be successful. Doing good work alone won't cut it. If I wanted to run a top-flight practice, impeccable people/communication skills, business sense, marketing skills are vital.
    Dental school costs much as a house. The money people associate with dentists are earned after many years of owning your own practice. It can take a new grad years to pay off the loans, depending on parental support.
    Working in a small room, looking into a small space, and focused on an even smaller area can be taxing for some. Many dentists have neck/back pains. I also don't know why dentist have high suicide rates. Must be from their wives taking half of everything....
    Actual work itself is stressful at times. Some peoples' mouths are difficult to work on for various anatomic or psychological reasons. Kids can drive me up the wall.
    Emergencies tend to show up when you're running 20min behind. Then the extraction case I did three days ago will complain of pain, and I get the odd case where they'll try and scam codiene with that excuse.
    Insurance policies is mostly a blessing, but it can be a nightmare. Often people will let their policies dictate what they will get when their condition demands more. This mostly refers to cleanings. Individuals with periodontal disease requires more time and more complex treaments. Insurances covers what a healthy person needs and they don't want to pay anymore. In Canada, our medicare system has trained a culture of people to think that health care is free. And they extend that to dentistry. They turn down what their bodies need and go out and buy a Hummer. Ultimately, it is up to us to educated the public.
     
  17. Jeffrey Noel

    Jeffrey Noel Screenwriter

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    Mark, here's a recommendation that I thought would be helpful for every dentist: Make every patient use mouth wash before they sit in the dental chair. I'm sure that'd make your day a little bit better! [​IMG]

    I was actually going to pursue dentistry but teaching pulled me away. I need to be more active!
     
  18. Anders Englund

    Anders Englund Second Unit

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  19. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Angelo.M

    You're right many of those benefits are indeed a two way street between medicine and dentistry. However, the paper benefits that draw me more toward dentistry is that I am not dealing with life or death situations which will avoid me from certain emotional stresses. Also, as aforementioned being called in for emergency situations is much more rare. But finally, and probably most important to me now is that I'll be fully licensed to practice in 6 years because dentists do not have a mandatory residency.


    Ryan Tsang.

    What do you do in a situation where a patient is trying to scam you into writing a prescription for narcotics? Certainly you don't want to give them to them if they are just going to be abused, nor do you want a patient/client to be dissatisfied with your service. How do you differentiate between the true and fictitious pain complaints?


    Jeffrey Noel.

    Thats a trick I think I'll adopt from my orthodontist. He has mandatory brushing stations equipped with mouthwash and floss. Kinda helpful [​IMG]
     
  20. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Mark:

    Somehow, I knew you were gonna ask that, being as keen as you are.

    The first thing I look at is the condition that they have. Recent minor oral surgery, acute toothaches certainly warrant the use of mild narcotics. Other procedures do not: fillings, crowns, root canals. I keep the rxs small. I try to use alternatives first, such as ibuprofen, toradol, naproxen, Vioxx. A patient's history can tell you if he/she is likely to abuse the substance. If the pt asks for codiene to deal with a sensitive tooth after a filling, I denied them. If they insist that Tylenol 3 is only thing that works for them, I get suspicious. I might give it to such people once or twice, but if it becomes a habit, I will put my foot down. Proper record keeping is helpful from a legal standpoint. I don't Rx anything over the phone without having seen the patient first. I need to see clinical and radiographic causes for pain before I Rx narcs.

    There are times that I have to be firm with people. I explain things in detail and do my best to make them feel I have their best interests in mind. I will not accuse anyone of abuse. If after all that and they're still in my face, I tell them they'll have to find someone else. I've turned down requests to pull out perfect good teeth before.
    We are not obliged to treat everyone.
     

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