8 Reasons Dentistry Is Not For You (The Climb)

 I am not discouraging anyone from choosing this path but please think hard before you do so because once you're in, it takes a lot to leave (in case you ever wanna, touchwood). 
But if you're sure this is what you want, why even bother reading? 

To those who are already in dentistry, believe in what you chose.
If you really want to read, read at your own risk and just to make it clear, each of them should never be the stand alone reason you have for not wanting dentistry.

A song of inspiration: The Climb by Miley Cyrus (my Miley guilty pleasure). 

Something seems out of place... Oh screw it. 

Wonder if dentistry is for you? Don't know if you're on the right path? Hopefully these 8 reasons can help you clear some doubts.

1. You don't have the MONEY.

A course like dentistry is like a vacuum machine specifically made to suck money. Everything comes with a cost, for example, lab coats, tunics, carving tools, handpieces and burs, stethoscopes (yes THAT stethoscopes), articulator (for dentures), plastic teeth etc. These are the things that aren't included in the tuition fees and the cost weighs heavily on whoever is funding your studies. Of course, having a scholarship will be perfect and loan would be an alternative too but are you sure it is worth the debt? Think carefully.

2. You have a REALISTIC dream and you're not here by will.

If you're forced (even by yourself) to do this, remember even Nokia can break if you force it enough (Chuck Norris can do it). You might be doing this because your parents tell you to, because you think this could make your parents proud or simply because you feel obligated to take over their existing business as dentists. Whatever reason it is, although I believe in passion coming after skills (Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You, highly recommended), what's the point of doing something if you aren't doing it by will? You can force passion out of it in the end but the process will be extremely torturing and painful. It's only a matter of time before the tensed rubber band snaps and hurts you worse. Take some time to talk to and discuss with your parents. Be reminded, TALK, not SHOUT or ARGUE, TALK. Tell your parents what you really want to do and why you think you should do it. Act like an adult so that your parents can treat you like one and trust your decision.

3. You only want the CASH not the joy out of being a dentist.

For your own sake, stop tormenting yourself, or, do not ever start. There are plenty of other careers that can give you the same rewards with a much shorter studying period and less amount of studying, not to mention less debt. MOST dentists are capable of making such high revenue because they have to work under a lot of stress in the clinic, for instance, keeping up with scheduled appointments (especially with the Malaysian culture), being patient to patients who refuse to listen, preventing own infection when 'seeing' so many mouths on a daily basis (can't work when sick = no income), avoiding hurting patients when using a cutting instrument turning at at least 50,000 rpm (slow speed) and can go as high as 400,000 rpm (high speed) (hurt a patient? Goodbye work = no income), and out of the clinic. You need all four of your limbs to carry out your daily work competently. If by any chance one of your limbs cannot function normally (touchwood), you're bound to lose your work, that again, leads to no income. If money was your sole reason to become a dentist, please come up with a better one that can at least convince yourself.

4. You dislike MEDICAL sciences.

Don't think you can escape from medical sciences by choosing dentistry. There is still a good amount of time that you have to spend on studying medical sciences. Everything from biochemistry to immunology, you are basically learning things no different from the medical students with the exception that you still have to learn your own dental stuff, which means you actually still have to go through what a medical student does. You even have to see simulated patients and do history takings and physical examinations. To be honest, a lot of my friends and I hated those sessions. But we had no choice but to attend them because no matter how much we hated it those sessions are still compulsory. However, the pain is not constantly there. There are times you don't have medical lectures but you cannot forget anything you learnt or refuse to learn well because you need the basics to become a competent dentist.

5. Studying CONSISTENTLY is too much for you.

Thinking that a nine to five job with such high return is perfect? Think twice. Before you get to enjoy such luxurious life you gotta pay for it by burning the midnight oil A LOT. By a lot I mean non-stop. In one five year course you gotta learn biochemistry, human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, immunology, not to mention the human systems that combine them all and most importantly EVERYTHING related to the mouth and the teeth in DETAILS. Do not, ever, think dentistry as solely teeth-related. There are many aspects of human body that are connected to our mouth that need to be taken into consideration when treating patients and you must understand why. How? STUDY, STUDY and STUDY.

6. Your results ain't good ENOUGH even though you've studied consistently.
Not trying to be mean because honestly, high achievers are literally all over the place in dental schools. The environment can be intolerantly stressful if good results aren't always your kind of thing (no offence). You gotta keep your grades up constantly and make sure you pass every exam, even with dozens of resits (if you have resits). However, if you think you can become immune to the stress and do not mind all sorts of 'that experience' either because you are really determined to become a dentist or because you don't know what else you can do, by all means go ahead.

7. You hate the hand work, not LAB.

In dentistry, you gotta learn some of the work of a dental technician. At that time, lab can become quite a heavy burden, I know, and give you the false impression that you hate the work. My ex-seniors once told us that at one point, we're gonna get very VERY sick of lab as she saw how excited we were when we finally had our first lab session. But lab work is not what you are going to do for the rest of your life because you're preparing to become a DENTIST. You simply have to know what should be done in the lab because as a dentist you're the leader of the whole dental team. Only a leader who knows what his team mates are doing makes a good leader. So if it is the lab work that you hate and not what you have to do as a dentist (just like what you always see in the dental clinic, e.g. scaling and polishing, drilling and filling, root canal, braces, etc.), fret not. You won't have to do them anymore right after you graduate. The other way around? Bless you.

Hey that's me doing wax carving!

8. You're only AFRAID to change.

Believe me when I say most people are afraid of changes (you most probably already knew). No one knows what lies in the future and the slightest change in life can plausibly turn everything upside down. You are afraid to tell everyone who knows you're doing dentistry that you are going to quit, you are afraid of people's judging eyes when a high achiever like you who have always wanted dentistry suddenly don't want it anymore, you are afraid to choose wrong because you can't afford another mistake, you are afraid to let people down, you are afraid... There are so many different things to be afraid of but are you sure those are what will really happen or are they just in your mind? Maybe they will but does it really matter? Remember, crises are what we make of them (a quote I love from Mouth 2013 Fall issue by the ASDA). Don't be scared when you're making a change because it is your action after that decision that matters. If you have more than one reason to support your decision, don't let your mind impede you from reaching your dream. 

Choose wisely.

Thank you for reading, see you in the next post!


  1. Love what you wrote. Felt that way at times too. Nevertheless, do enjoy your journey up ahead. And glad that you were brave to step out of what you thought wasn't right for you :)

    1. Hey E.Looi (yes I know who you are), you're up so late! Haha! Anyways, really thank you for reading! And for the encouragement too. ❤️ Enjoy what you chose okay? ❤️

  2. Enjoyed the read! Certainly have some talent in writing too! Good on you for making the right decision and following your passion. Good that you realised it early too. Absolutely agree with you, dentistry is not for everyone. I'm sure at least you did enjoy the time spent in IMU and the friends that you made. All the best in your accounting career! At least next time you'll be spoilt for choice if you need some dental work done! ;)

    1. Hi Jonlet! Really glad you enjoyed it! :) Thank you! :D

  3. omg, i'm changing from accounting to dentistry and you are going the other way round!!!! hahahas

    1. oh man, u make me doubt my choice :((( TT

    2. Hi Gleenicee! HAHA! That gives us something in similar :D Are you going into dentistry soon? Remember those reasons are solely based on my personal experience and observation and do research more or discuss with your parents or a counsellor if you have any doubts regarding your choice. I wish you all the best! :)

  4. Number 3 is a very good point and one that applies to so, so many career paths - the passion needs to be there, not just the desire for a good income! Great post :)


  5. Amazing post, I agree with all the points especially with the one that people start studies only for money - my uncle works at medical university and 90% of people who starts to study medicine - they did that only for money. It's a little bit sad especially that medicine should be done for people, not for money.


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