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Does Dental School Cost Too Much?

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DrPatel's picture
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Does Dental School Cost Too Much?

by Chris

 

84 votes from over 7 countries and the results are in.  I asked you how much debt you owed when you graduated dental school and the numbers were shocking:

Dental School Cost

Click to see full results.

Almost half of the voters (41 votes) claimed they owed more than $250,000 when they graduated.  That is simply astounding.  Second and third place were nearely a tie with dentists owing between $150-200 K and $200-250 K.

What are we to conclude from this?  I received a e-mail from a friend and fellow Curious Dentist who wrote:

“Good survey…I feel like the followup poll should be…do you feel satisfied with the amount of knowledge you acquired from the monster investment you needed to make in your dental education…personally I’m 250K+ in the hole…for that I could’ve gotten a decent house, maybe with a nice little yard and a pool…I don’t feel like my school provided me with updated information/updated clinical space/enough instructors to charge me that…”

She raises some great points.  Let’s ask if the cost is too high by breaking the question down into it’s elements:

(1) Is the cost too high for the quality?

Some of you may feel that your education was deficient compared with other dental schools.  Perhaps your clincal requirements were very low or you had to fight for a chair?  If that’s the case, you might be pretty upset if your school had a higher tuition than others.

(2) Why are some dental schools more affordable?

There’s a clear distinction between private schools and those which receive funds from the state.  And we can also consider the cost of living between urban, suburban, and rural settings.  But what are the other major factors that explain the difference in tuition between schools?

(3) Is there a correlation between cost and quality?

I think we can safely say that the cost of education is not directly proportional to the quality.  Just because you pay more doesn’t mean you are getting better academic preparation and will have more experience performing clinical procedures.  But do we see any trends between cost and quality?  Do more expensive schools tend to offer something that others don’t?

Stuck up on some case? Post your query on www.dentistrytoday.info

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drsnehamaheshwari's picture
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Does Dental School Cost Too Much?

NGO Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE) has sought Bombay High Court (HC) intervention to stop alleged non-compliance with Supreme Court (SC) orders regarding admission to private medical and dental colleges. Thursday, it had sent a notice to medical education secretary Iqbal Singh Chahal for allegedly issuing a corrigendum to exclude private unaided colleges from SC guidelines.

SC had ordered on May 8 last year that if all-India quota seats were vacant in a college, the state government should be informed and the seats allotted strictly on merit. It said "no college shall fill up seats in any other manner".

FFE claimed in its PIL the corrigendum "was in total violation of the apex court order" and sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Chahal. It also demanded managements of colleges that have not complied with the rules should compensate students who could not get admission due to this.

 

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Does Dental School Cost Too Much?

 

And that’s not all: In the study of prosthodontics there’s no stone or modelling wax available, which the students have to buy for Rs 200 as also students have to buy artificial jaws which cost around Rs 7,000 and artificial teeth which cost around Rs 5,000.

In periodontics department, the students have to buy fluoride application trays each of which costs Rs 50 and the curriculum quota demands ten fluoride applications, which would cost each student another Rs 500.

The situation has made each third year and final year student shell out nearly Rs 7,000 so far at the rate of an average Rs 150 per patient depending on the kind of dental restoration that is required; making studying dentistry an expensive proposition for the students unfortunate enough to be studying at a time when the government is seemingly in no hurry to procure the material.

The Dean of the Goa Medical College, Dr Ida de Ataide Noronha said that this is a temporary phase and should pass off once the government completes the tender process.

“This year the government has decided to go in for e-tendering. The process is delayed. As and when the clearance comes we will have the stocks,” she said.

Sources in the GDC have told Herald that the amalgam, which is an alloy of mercury with another metal, used for dental fillings called silver restorations, has been unavailable for more than six months now.

After the amalgam, which is used for the permanent silver restorations ran out, the students began using the GIC, which is used as a temporary filling and began calling patients back at a later date to complete the filling with the amalgam, hoping that on the later date, the amalgam would be made available. Now the students have to buy both the amalgam and the GIC for their patients.

However, it was not to be and soon the GIC too ran out leaving students with no option but to buy their own amalgam so that they complete the required number of amalgam restorations as is required by their syllabus.

Each student has to do around 50 small restorations or 30 big restorations and 30 GIC restorations to complete their quota of restorations as part of the course curriculum.

Each tiny bottle of amalgam costs around Rs 1800 and lasts for maximum 20 patients depending on how big the restoration is for each patient.

Herald has learnt that in a bid to offset costs, three students who are posted in the GDC clinics together per session combine costs to buy two bottles of amalgam. With each bottle costing Rs 1800, the student ends up spending Rs 600 per posting in the clinic or Rs 150 per patient given that they drill an average of three to four patients per session.

All these material are supposed to be procured by the government that offers dental restorations at the Goa Dental College free of cost for the State’s populace.

“It is proving to be too expensive for all of us,” a student told Herald on the condition of anonymity.

There are around 30-35 students in the third and fourth year of GDC. 

While the students say they have been specifically told they would not be reimbursed for the amount they spent, the Dean of the College insists that if the students submit bills they will be reimbursed.

“Yes, they will be reimbursed. All they have to do is submit bills of their purchases and they will be reimbursed,” Dr Ataide Noronha told Herald.

For now the inexplicable delay in issuing the tender to buy the material is bleeding the pockets of the students and their parents by the day.

A third year and final year student shells out nearly Rs 7,000 at the rate of an average Rs 150 per patient

A tiny bottle of amalgam costs around Rs 1,800 and lasts for maximum 20 patients.

 

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