Is Dental School Right for You?
If you're considering entering the world of dentistry, there are many things to consider before taking the plunge. While careers in dentistry can be rewarding and lucrative, not everyone is suited to the job. Dental work is neither simple nor easy, and you'd better be ready to put in lots of work if you expect to find success in the world of dentistry. Cleaning teeth and filling cavities, as you may have surmised, is not the most glamorous profession in the world. There are ups and downs, just as there are with any profession, and it is important to understand these if you are considering dental school.
Don't expect to take it easy in dental school. You will need strong grades and a background in the sciences to even be considered for the best dental schools in your area. Dentistry may be focused primarily on the mouth, but a thorough knowledge of biology and anatomy is still a requirement. If you are a natural in your science classes at the undergrad level, you are sure to be successful in dental school. However, if the prospect of memorizing scientific names and biological diagrams gives you an instant headache, you may want to consider other lines of study.
Consider your financial situation. Many students find themselves coming out of undergraduate studies with no money and a boat load of debt, which can make it difficult to finance further education. Dental school is not going to be cheap, and while career options after graduation offer a light at the end of the tunnel, you can expect to experience a significant financial strain from continuing your studies. Tally up tuition costs at several dental schools, and remember that living expenses must be factored into those costs as well. Think about how you are going to finance your education, or you are going to struggle in dental school.
Why do you want to go to dental school? If you are in this for the money, there are plenty of easier ways to make a living in the world. Be sure that you understand, right from the start, that dentists are not the world's most beloved doctors. Many people dread their visits to the dentist and patients like this can be difficult to handle. A dentist needs to have a steady hand and a delicate touch in order to be as inoffensive as possible to his or her clients. Dentistry is hard work and the efforts of dentists go unappreciated by many. If you plan to start a career in this field, there should be passion and drive behind your decision.
If you have your heart set on dental school, pursue your dream with confidence and determination. The road will not be easy, but it will be rewarding to those who give their all. Whether your undergrad studies come from the halls of Dartmouth or the virtual classrooms of UC online, start thinking about the future and preparing yourself for dental school. Only you can make this decision, and you'll need to make sure it is the right one.