Dentistry or Medicine: Which Course/Career Should I Choose?

female doctor with an elder man patient

Choosing a career in healthcare is an exciting and rewarding decision, but it can also be overwhelming when deciding which path to pursue.

Two popular options are dentistry and medicine. While both fields share some similarities, there are also distinct differences to consider. This post will discuss the factors to consider when choosing between dentistry and medicine as a career path.


1. Education

Becoming a dentist requires completing a four-year dental program while becoming a physician requires completing a four-year medical program, a bachelor of medicine degree, or a bachelor of dental technology degree, followed by several years of residency training.

If you are interested in a more technical aspect of dentistry, consider pursuing a degree in dental technology.

Dentists focus on oral health and are trained in diagnosing and treating problems in the teeth, gums, and mouth. They are also trained to perform tooth extractions, root canals, and gum surgeries.

On the other hand, physicians are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions, from broken bones to chronic illnesses. They are also trained to perform procedures such as surgeries and prescribe medications.

If you are considering studying medicine, Malaysia offers a range of universities with world-class medical programs. In Malaysia, you can pursue a bachelor in medicine degree, which typically takes five years to complete.

The study of medicine in Malaysia provides comprehensive training in medical science and is designed to prepare graduates for the medical profession.


2. Work Environment

Dentists and physicians work in different environments. Dentists typically work in private practices, clinics, or hospitals, while physicians can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

There is the potential for long hours and being on-call in both fields.


3. Job Outlook

Both dentistry and medicine are growing fields, but the job outlook varies. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dentists is projected to grow by 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, while employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow by 4 percent.

While the difference in job outlook may seem small, it is important to consider the job market in your local area.


young asian male doctor in consultation with male patient


4. Salary

Salaries for dentists and physicians also differ. According to the same data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for dentists was $158,120 in May 2020, while the median annual salary for physicians and surgeons was $208,000.


5. Patient Interaction

Both dentists and physicians interact with patients, but the nature of the interaction differs. Dentists often have a more personal relationship with their patients, as they see them regularly for routine checkups and cleanings.

In contrast, physicians may have less frequent interactions with their patients, as they are often treating acute or chronic conditions.


6. Lifestyle

The lifestyles of a dentist and physician can also differ. Dentists often have more control over their schedules, which can lead to a better work-life balance. On the other hand, physicians may have more demanding programs and may be required to be on-call.

If you are considering a career in dentistry, it’s essential to note that the field is constantly evolving. Technology and research advances are continually changing how dental professionals approach patient care.

In recent years, digital dentistry has become increasingly popular, with the use of computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology revolutionizing the way dental prostheses are created.

As a dental professional, staying up to date with the latest trends and technologies is essential to provide the best possible care to your patients.

Similarly, the medical field is undergoing rapid change, with new treatments and diagnostic methods emerging every day. Medical professionals must stay informed and up to date on the latest developments in their respective fields to provide the best possible care to their patients.

Pursuing a career in medicine requires a passion for patient care and a dedication to lifelong learning.


woman talk to dentist in dental clinic


7. Passion

Finally, it’s important to consider what field you are most passionate about. Dentistry and medicine are rewarding careers, but they require different skills and interests.

Dentistry may be a better fit if you are passionate about oral health and enjoy working with your hands. Medicine is a better fit if you are passionate about diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions.


All in All

In conclusion, both dentistry and medicine are rewarding careers with distinct differences. The decision on which career path to pursue ultimately depends on individual interests, skills, and goals.

It’s essential to comprehensively consider all factors and conduct proper research before deciding. Regardless of which path is chosen, a career in healthcare can provide a fulfilling and impactful career.