Does the extra “D” in DMD make such a difference?


Choosing a career in dentistry or medicine requires a commitment that requires time, effort and finances. A sudden switch from one profession to the other is no small decision. What would inspire someone to make such a profound change?

Perhaps shadowing or mentoring within the field of dentistry sparked a new interest. The cornerstone of dentistry is something that almost every field of medicine lacks. Dentistry is science, medicine, biomechanics and art all coexisting in perfect harmony. I Surgeries that restore proper function, such as a heart stent, are internal procedures not seen in daily interactions with others. Procedures concerned with aesthetics such as botox, liposuction and breast augmentation, do not affect function. Restoring function and aesthetics is a challenge that dentists overcome everyday.

Medical school and dental school both take four years, but dentists can start practicing right after dental school. States like New York require a one-year residency before continuing into private practice. According to the American College of Surgeons, a general surgery residency must last at least five years. The fastest route to complete a medical residency is primary care, family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Even those residencies last at least three years.

Choosing dentistry can bring many other benefits. The long hours working at a hospital can be avoided as a general dentist. You can be your own boss. This could mean that you don’t work weekends, or be on call and have to run to the hospital at a moment’s notice. This freedom gives you more control over your life, peace of mind and more time to spend with family.

Dentistry provides a stable annual income that on average is greater than most medical specialties. In fact, an article from the American Dental Association titled “2009 Survey of Dental Practice Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry” found that all new independent dentistswho graduated from dental school in the last ten years had an average net income from their primary private practice of $205,550 in 2008. New independent dentists in incorporated practices averaged $210,310.

An article published in 2010 in the journal Academic Medicine titled “Economic Impact of a Primary Care Career: A Harsh Reality for Medical Students and the Nation” found that the average starting salary for a PC physician including family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine is $130,000.

Dentistry is a great profession that can be rewarding and provide the independence and means to live life as one chooses. If dentistry brings you happiness, then all the other benefits it provides will just be icing on the cake.

~Francesco Piccione, Nova Southeastern ’17, member, chapter organized dentistry committee

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Francesco Piccione

Francesco is currently a D2 student in the Class of 2017 at Nova Southeastern University's College of Dental Medicine. Despite going to dental school in South Florida, he was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore for his undergraduate degree. He is currently serving as a member of ASDA's Organized Dentistry Committee at NSU CDM, and looks forward to writing and getting more involved with ASDA in the future!

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  1. This is a really good insight! Thank you 🙂

  2. Seems like the extra D does make a difference when it comes to pay!

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