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Which is better: Medicine or Dentistry


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Hey Guys. I want to either do medicine or dentistry at James Cook University. I was wondering if you could please list the advantages and disadvantages of both medicine and dentistry and tell in in your opinion which is better. This would really aid me in making my decision.

Any answers would be greatly appreciated :)


Neither is better, it is a matter of personal opinion and what appeals to your interests. Unless you want to be an OMF I think you should carefully consider the differences and understand it's not a "one or the other" situation.
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I am sure that many would echo the sentiment that there is no "better" choice.

However, as it seems that you are looking for factors to decide which is better *for you* in particular:

Shorter or equal length university course to med.
More scope for private practice right out of university (which = $$ especially in the short term). You are qualified to practice unsupervised when you graduate, but there is scope for further specialisation. Most do not end up specialising.
Your hours are usually the standard working hours - no night shifts, for example, and very few emergencies.
Also, it is arguably easier to get into based on the current supply/demand of applicants to places.

One of the ones that I have heard is that your patients don't speak back to you, heh.
It doesn't have as much scope for treating the whole person (but then again this is also true of many medical specialties).
It's also much harder to pursue a dental subspecialisation overall (though its probably comparable to the high demand medical specialties - dermatology, ophthalmology etc).
Also, generally, there is less support as a dentist as you will tend to be working in a practice rather than at a hospital.

Much larger scope of practice.
Many more choices in terms of specialisation and arguably more holistic treatment (treating the patient rather than the condition and getting to know them better) - though this also changes as you get more specialised.
At the highest levels of high paying specialties, pay is significantly more than for dentists, but it takes a while before you get there.
Also, potential to change into different fields of practice (for example, if one got tired of doing surgery, they could retrain as a radiologist, etc).
More support in the junior years of practice, especially at hospitals (though this is dependent on the hospitals that you train at) - if you don't know what to do you can call the registrar in the appropriate specialty for a consult, for example.

Longer duration of training, and a significant bottleneck for specialty training positions, especially high demand ones.
Often odd hours of practice - night shifts, weekend shifts, etc.
Less pay in the earlier years after graduation and little scope for private practice until you finish your fellowship (which is usually 5 to ... potentially even 14+ years AFTER you graduate from medical school).
You may get sent into areas of need if you can't find a job in a more "desirable" area - internships are a bit hit and miss sometimes and very few people want to uproot their life for the sake of work.

Hope that helps!