What does a dentist do?
Dentists provide all types of dental procedures. They identify and treat teeth and mouth problems and give patients advice on good oral practices. Their goal is to provide treatment to prevent future issues. They give patients information on brushing, flossing, using fluorides and other treatments, and diet. They perform many tasks such as examining x-rays, removing tooth decay, straightening teeth, filling cavities, repairing fractured teeth, and placing protective sealants on children’s teeth. They also perform surgery on supporting bones and gums to treat diseases of the gums. Dentists write prescriptions for medications and sometimes administer anesthetics. They also remove teeth and create models and measurements for replacements.
Dentists use many different tools and equipment such as scalpels, drills, probes, brushes, forceps, mouth mirrors, and x-ray machines. They also wear gloves, masks, and safety glasses to protect patients and themselves from infectious diseases.
What kind of training does a dentist need?
Dentists must earn a doctorate degree from an accredited dental school and achieve the designation Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). For acceptance into dental school, students must have at least 2 years of college education. Most students complete at least a bachelor degree before attending dental school. All dental schools require students to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Dental school typically takes 4 years to complete and includes classroom and laboratory instruction and practical experience.
All states require dentists to be licensed. Licensing requirements are usually having a degree from a dental school that is accredited and passing written and practical examinations. Candidates must also pass the National Board Dental Examinations.
What are the prospects for a career as a dentist?
Employment of dentists is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing demand for dental services will fuel job growth.
Job prospects are projected to be good, especially for new dentists who wish to take over work from older dentists. Job openings will also arise from thee need to replace dentists who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.
How much do dentists make?
As of September 2009, the middle 50% of dentists earned annual salaries between $116,990 and $161,875. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $185,447 (2).
A career as a dentist is an excellent choice for individuals interested in providing dental care to patients. Dentists must have great manual skills and diagnostic ability. Good judgment, manual dexterity, visual memory, and scientific knowledge are essential. Dentists must also have great communication, self-discipline, and a great business sense, especially when working in private practices.