6 years ago on October 21, 2015
As I rode a bus this morning, I saw a Mercedes Benz with a golden “MD” plate in front proudly saying that a doctor owned it. Which got me thinking: “Why are there no luxury cars with plates that says it belongs to a dentist?”
That thought raised another question: “Why are doctors richer than dentists?”
Is it because doctors are smarter?
You probably think that doctors are smarter than most people, including dentists.
But, according to Case Western Reserve University,  the average GPA for students admitted to med school is 3.5 while the average for dentists is 3.3.
Simply put, students who get into med school are not that much smarter than those who took up dentistry.
Is it because it’s harder to become a doctor than a dentist?
To become a doctor, you’d have to spend at least 8-11 years going through med school then perfecting the specialization you’d like to practice. If you want to be a dentist, you’d go through roughly the same 8-10 years in school and specialization.
This means that the path towards being a doctor is not necessarily harder than the one that leads you to become a dentist.
Is it because there are fewer doctors than there are dentists?
Studies show there’s a troubling shortage of medical professionals in the Philippines making their expertise in high-demand.
According to a WHO report , there are 12 doctors for every 10,000 Filipinos while there are only 6 dentists for the same number of people. This means it’s harder for Filipinos to find a dentist’s services as compared to a doctor’s. Making dentists more “in-demand”.
But are doctors really rich?
According to PayScale.com, Filipino dentists have an average annual salary of only P244,167. An income that puts it smack within the middle class bracket.
But surprisingly, doctors do not fare that much better. The same survey also shows that doctors have an annual median salary of only P363,775. Hardly what you can call a rich man’s pay.
But like all professions, some have the talent, privilege, connections, luck or any combination to earn much more than their average counterparts.
In the latest report released by Dentist Salary Big Mac Index, the highest paid dentists earned P8,000,000 per year. A big sum for most of us but pales in comparison to the best paid doctors.
Another report shows that orthopedists, made on average, P19,000,000 annually according to this year’s MedScape  survey. More than double what the highest –paid dentists make.
Dentists have gotten a poor reputation as being a lower-paid, less-talented version of their medical counterparts. But the effort, skill and expertise needed to become a dentist is not at all different or less difficult from the challenges of being a doctor. A fact which is supported by figures showing that, on average, both dentists and doctors are compensated just about the same.
If you want to be rich, you can do it by being both a dentist or a doctor. However, being a highly-specialized doctor gives you a better shot at being wealthy.
So the next time you see a doctor in the hospital, just remember that it’s more likely that he got there riding the bus instead of a Mercedes Benz.
Medix. Your Digital Clinic Manager.
Sign-up now at www.medix.ph