Even though they can be viewed as scary sometimes, dentists aren't bad people. In fact, they're quite essential to maintaining good health. Dentists are responsible for diagnosing and treating all sorts of problems that affect your teeth, gums and other parts of your mouth. So if a tooth is hurting, you know who to call.
While most dentists are general practitioners, there are quite a few different specialty dentists that are worth mentioning, such as, orthodontists, endodontists, periodontists, and the list goes on and on. In addition, many dentists work less than 40 hours a week. What a sweet deal!
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.Duties
Dentists typically do the following:
Dentists use a variety of equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. They also use lasers, digital scanners, and other computer technologies, such as digital dentistry.
In addition, dentists in private practice oversee a variety of administrative tasks, including bookkeeping and buying equipment and supplies. They employ and supervise dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians, and receptionists.
Most dentists are general practitioners and handle a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in 1 of 9 specialty areas:
Dental public health specialists promote good dental health and the prevention of dental diseases in specific communities.
Endodontists perform root-canal therapy, by which they remove the nerves and blood supply from injured or infected teeth.
Oral and maxillofacial radiologists diagnose diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging technologies.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head, performing procedures such as surgically repairing a cleft lip and palate or removing impacted teeth.
Oral pathologists diagnose conditions in the mouth, such as bumps or ulcers, and oral diseases, such as cancer.
Orthodontists straighten teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces or other appliances.
Pediatric dentists focus on dentistry for children and special-needs patients.
Periodontists treat the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as crowns and bridges, or with removable fixtures, such as dentures.
Dentists must be licensed in the state(s) in which they work. Licensure requirements vary by state, although candidates usually must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical exams.Education
All dental schools require applicants to have completed certain science courses, such as biology and chemistry, before entering dental school. Students typically need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter most dental programs, although no specific major is required. However, majoring in a science, such as biology, might increase one’s chances of being accepted. Requirements vary by school.
College undergraduates who plan on applying to dental school usually must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) during their junior year. Admission to dental school can be competitive. Dental schools use these tests along with other factors, such as grade point average, interviews, and recommendations, to admit students into their programs.
Dental school programs typically include coursework in subjects such as local anesthesia, anatomy, periodontics (the study of oral disease and health), and radiology. All programs at dental schools include clinical experience in which students work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist.
Completion of a dental program results in one of three degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), and Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD). In 2015, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 60 dental school programs.
High school students who want to become dentists should take courses in chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, and math.Training
All nine dental specialties require dentists to complete additional training before practicing that specialty. This training is usually a 2- to 4-year residency in a program related to their specialty. General dentists do not require any additional training after dental school.
Dentists who want to teach or do research full time usually spend an additional 2 to 5 years in advanced dental training. Many practicing dentists also teach part time, including supervising students in dental school clinics.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Dentists must be licensed in the state(s) in which they work. All states require dentists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. Most states require a dentist to have a degree from an accredited dental school and to pass the written and practical National Board Dental Examinations.
In addition, a dentist who wants to practice in one of the nine specialties must have a license in that specialty. Licensure requires the completion of a residency after dental school and, in some cases, the completion of a special state exam.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Dentists must have excellent communication skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists.
Detail oriented. Dentists must be detail oriented so that patients receive appropriate treatments and medications. They also must pay attention to the shape and color of teeth and to the space between them. For example, they may need to closely match a false tooth with a patient’s other teeth.
Dexterity. Dentists must be good at working with their hands. They work with tools in a limited area.
Leadership skills. Most dentists work in their own practice. This requires them to manage and lead a staff.
Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills, including the ability to keep accurate records of patient care, are critical in both medical and business settings.
Patience. Dentists may work for long periods of time with patients who need special attention. Children and patients with a fear of dental work may require a lot of patience.
Physical stamina. Dentists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for long periods.
Problem-solving skills. Dentists need strong problem-solving skills. They must evaluate patients’ symptoms and choose the appropriate treatments.
Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.
As you move along in your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. Using our career map, a dentist can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as office manager, progress to a title such as practice manager and then eventually end up with the title practice manager.
Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.
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Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service
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Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Dentist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.
Learn How To Write a Dentist Resume
At Zippia, we went through countless Dentist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.View Detailed Information
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The mouth is the window into human health. This course provides an overview of dental medicine to engage, educate, excite and assist you in improving the oral health of your patients and members of your community. We will review topics in dental medicine including scope of the field, what to expect in function, and some of the many ways that dysfunction may present for different patients. This will include discussions of mouth, jaw, and tooth anatomy, pathology, and treatment. We will talk about...
Implant Dentistry is one of the most dynamic and rapidly developing areas within oral health care. In spite of increasing popularity of implantology, it is a relatively new discipline within dental education and remains limited to post-graduate courses offered by dental schools in many parts of the world today. With the vision to help dental practitioners gain clinical understanding of implantology and an opportunity to provide implant treatments to their patients, the Faculty of Dentistry of HK...
The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.1% of dentists listed dentistry on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and detail oriented are important as well.
Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a dentist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Michigan. Dentists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $185,813. Whereas in Wisconsin and Rhode Island, they would average $160,920 and $159,244, respectively. While dentists would only make an average of $157,875 in Michigan, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.