Dental School Graduates Unprepared, Say 4 out of 5 Dentists

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Wrongful Discharge: Dental Survey Results

In this survey, we asked if dental school adequately prepares students for the real world. Four out of five dentists say that today’s graduates
aren’t prepared for the financial realities of practicing dentistry.
Only one in five feels that dental school does a good job.

Read the dentists’ comments for more insight into their thoughts.

Male versus Female Dental Practitioners

Gender played a minor role in a dentist’s evaluation of recent dental school graduates.

Urban, suburban and rural dentists

Geographic location also did not play a major role.

General dentists versus specialists

Specialists were more likely than general dentists to approve of the job Dental school is doing in educating students.

For more insight, check out these comments!

Dental school has never prepared students for the real world, but now the consequences for new graduates are a lot more serious. In past years, overhead was lower, patients and employees weren’t as litigious, fewer employees were needed, regulations were simpler, etc. Today, the system is not as forgiving. There is so much more to be aware of, and a slipup is going to be more costly.” (Orthodontist)

Dental school as business school

  • “Dental school needs really good business courses to help students get started in practice, even if they are going into an employment situation.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “Schools need extensive realistic practice management curriculum.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Most dental schools are giving some instruction in the economics of practicing dentistry, but it only scratches the surface.” (Indiana periodontist)

Dental schools are falling behind

  • “Dental schools are trapped in a time warp continuing to use the 20th century curriculum to educate practitioners of the 21st century.” (New York oral surgeon)
  • “Technology has certainly changed. Teaching and preparing has definitely not improved, or even changed.” (Florida dentist)
  • “It has not changed enough in at least the last 25 years. Clinically, dental students have just enough knowledge and experience to provide basic care and hopefully will understand that they need to continue to learn and develop their capabilities… There should be some basic business requirement in the pre-dental education, but I don’t see that there is room in dental school to cover this (running a business) in any but the most cursory way.” (Illinois dentist)

These kids today think they know it all

  • Dental schools have routinely produced graduates that fully believe that they know a great deal more than they really know. They are definitely not ready for private practice.” (Maryland dentist)
  • “The students now seem to have an entitlement mentality, i.e. 'I deserve a degree and a license because I spent so much on school.'” (California dentist)
  • “Young dentists I work with have trouble with diagnosis and treatment planning.” (Delaware periodontist)

Business training isn't within the scope of dental school

  • Today’s graduates are not prepared to start a business, but neither were we. Business sense is hard to get in a classroom setting. It’s like preparing for parenting: how do you know when you’re ready?” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “Schools do not, and probably cannot, prepare their students for the reality of the 'business' of dental practice.” (Kansas dentist)

New grads are too green

  • “Dental school prepares you for your board exams, not the real world of dentistry.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “No, recent grads are not ready for practice. Dental school has changed as now the focus is more on productivity than education.” (Ohio dentist)
  • “No. They are not ready for working world.” (Illinois dentist)

Problems with dental school

  • “Academically they are over-prepared and clinically they tend to be under-prepared.” (Missouri dentist)
  • “The major problem with dental school now is the same as with dental school 30 years ago. Dental students are not treated as colleagues in training, but are instead treated as inferior life forms.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “More techniques to be learned, more information to be familiar with, same amount of time.” (Indiana dentist)

Dental schools do a great job

  • “Dental School has tried to address issues of practice management, insurance issues, advanced restorative techniques including implants. periodontal surgery.” (Pennsylvania periodontist)

Disappointed by young associates

  • “I have gone through a few associates. I have a high-tech, high-end practice, and I try to show them all the tricks. They are not only clueless, but they don’t even try — poor confidence level out of school. They want to make the money but they don’t want to work the hours or try to learn the communication and practical skills that today's public demands…I think that in the future I’m going to charge a training fee!” (Michigan dentist)

Note: Survey sample included 171 respondents.

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