Dentist – Patrick Campbell

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Day in the life of
Dentist – Patrick Campbell

Patrick Campbell
United States Navy

My name is Patrick Campbell and I am a licensed, practicing dentist with the United States Navy.

I feel as though I have a few unique perspectives that I can hopefully provide to your readers.

1. The harsh reality of student loans

As a recently graduated dentist from dental school, I can speak about some of the crippling student debt many young dentists are currently experiencing. Dental school costs have been rising rapidly in recent history. According to the ADA, the average dental school student debt is approaching $300,000 (!!).

While it may be easy for some to see the work hours and salary of a dentist and think it’s all sunshine and rainbows, I think it is important to highlight the significant time and financial commitment it takes to get your DDS or DMD. It’s a great profession, but taking on a significant load of student debt should not be taken lightly.

I often worry that young students discerning their career solely look at salary to determine where they would like to focus their study. With dentistry, large debt loads will not allow new grads to purchase their new Mercedes as the stereotype often goes. During my undergraduate career when I was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, “I didn’t know, what I didn’t know.”

Although there still will be a large debt load, not many professions give 27-30 year olds the opportunity to be “CEO” of a 1 to 2 million dollar business.

2. Dental practice is practice

Also as a newly graduated dentist, I can speak about some of the struggles, frustrations, and stressors that one experiences when trying to learn to hone the craft of dentistry. Even after graduation, daily practice is full of learning experiences. It’s called “dental practice” after all!

On the flip side, there are great wins that you a dentist can experience daily. I believe that having the capability and skill set to get a patient out of pain is one of the most rewarding things about the career.

3. A whole range of opportunities

After dental school graduation, I took an unconventional approach to start my career. I am currently serving as an officer in the United States Navy – providing dental care to sailors currently serving our country.

Private practice is not the only path that dentists can take after dental school. I would argue that the dental profession opens so many doors to opportunities. Even after dental school, there are still so many paths I can take in this profession.

I recently started thinking more about the concept of being a “time billionaire.” I believe that dentistry affords professionals the opportunity to be in control of their time and reach financial independence at an early age.

In summary, here are some pros and cons of being a dentist:


  • Once you are established, you can have great autonomy in your career
  • The opportunity to own your business
  • The ability to work with people directly and improve their lives in small or large ways.


  • At least 8 years of schooling after high school
  • The highest tuition cost of all professional schools
  • Meticulous, often frustrating work
  • Difficult patients and procedures

Patrick Campbell
A licensed, practicing dentist with the United States Navy
Patrick also writes for The Eval, a weekly newsletter for dentists.

Patrick Campbell
United States Navy
I was a physical therapist aide for over a year before going to PT school. Now I am a physical therapist. As an aide, each day was slightly different. … Read More


examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.

Salary: $180830
Salary Rank: A
Education: Doctoral degree
Becoming One: Very Hard
Job Satisfaction: Very High
Job Growth: Very High
Suitable Personality: The Thinker

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