Dental School & What all the Fuss is About

After pulling out a grand total of 6 teeth + doing 13 tooth restorations in 12 days (doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it’s a lot), I have decided to take a break from this self-imposed marathon.

If only for today. So I can rant and write about it. Heh.

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Aside from the actual teeth-pulling or filling, we dental students also have to handle extensive medical history and roentgenographic (X-ray) takings and analyses — which take an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour. Not to mention the fussy details of setting up the damn dental chair  and other equipment for each and every procedure to meet International Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. (That wore me out just writing about it!) Which, when no assistant is at your disposal, will take a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes more depending on how finicky you actually are.

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To put things into perspective: In the 1980s, a dental student could pull out 6 to 10 teeth on three different patients in one afternoon (maybe more). Now, it’s a maximum of 1 or 2 teeth on ONE patient in ONE afternoon! THIS takes a BIG toll on time x productivity. But although I may be ranting now, I know that in some far-off future, I’ll be thankful for having highly-trained clinical instructors who are as particular-as-can-be on infection control standards.

Most Filipino dentists don’t even bother (and I say this for a fact). The mouth is one  of the dirtiest parts of the body after all. But hey, this is dental school — where you are taught to give the best, but are still counted as underrated. Oh yeah, this is how we roll at the bottom of the food chain.

So, in line with this stress rant, let me present…

"Five Myths About Dental School" that I'd like to debunk:

1. It’s easier than Medical School. Hell freakin’ NO!! I would trade my 3 lockers-full of dental armamentarium for a shelf-full of medical books any day! It’s much easier for me to just read + memorize than to actually read + memorize + DO. If medicine is all about hitting the books, Dentistry is about hitting the books AND mastering 7-10 different specializations, each with a gazillion different procedures. Arthritis, notwithstanding.

2. Dental School = Low Quality Work. I don’t speak for all dental schools, but at DMSF, we were taught only the best and are expected to perform on the same level as well. Much is taught, much is expected. Additionally, I don’t think many schools can beat our infection control protocols. That’s what we get for having an OC Chief-of-Clinics. Heh. Time-consuming, yes, but well worth it.

3. Free Means Lousy. This is similar to #2 but I just have to emphasize this as another myth. Just because most dental students work for free doesn’t mean we don lousy work. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth. Our work dictates our grade. Our grade dictates our eligibility for graduation. If that’s not enough motivation, then I don’t know what is.

4. Not smart enough for Medicine? There’s always Dentistry. Again, this is similar to #1 but needs a completely different entry, if only to address the common notion. I’ve heard it before, and even from our very own teachers who happen to be physicians (medical doctors). Ding dong! Well, here’s news for you buddy: Some dentists are ‘smarter’ than doctors. While some doctors are ‘smarter’ than dentists. Just like how some people are ‘smarter’ than other people. That’s human nature, ding dong! Then again, let me point out that no one should give anyone too much credibility for any kind of perceived intelligence. Just look at how the Philippine government runs. ’nuff said.

5. It’s cheaper than Medical School. THIS. Hahaha. This myth gives me the most LOLs. or LULz. Whichever you prefer. I have a brother who’s taking up Medicine (in fact, I was posed to take up Medicine myself but that’s another story for another post). Aside from the exorbitant tuition fees (PHP70k+ to 100k+ per semester), all he actually spends on are books, books, and more books. Dentistry on the other hand, has slightly less exorbitant tuition fees (PHP50k per sem), but are considerably offset by wallet-burning, bank account-robbing dental equipment and materials. It can range from as little as PHP10,000 to as much as PHP70,000++ per sem. No, this is not a joke. I actually know someone who spent almost PHP100,000 on dental supplies in one semester.


To end this overextended rant, let me just state the obvious: Dental school is no joke. 

No one, and I mean no one, should underrate Dentistry — or dental students for that matter.

To say that this profession is back-breaking and arthritis-inducing, is an understatement.

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Then again, I just might.

Nowadays, I occasionally find myself staring at blank walls, and zoning out in deep thought…

I didn’t sign up for this.

Nobody told me about the fine print.

What have I gotten myself into??

I’ve been punk’d!!!!”


  1. mikotoh said:

    bla bla bla…. typical Katerina Ranting …. even in your blogs I hear you rant…

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