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Become A General Dentist

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Working As A General Dentist

  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $95,000

    Average Salary

What Does A General Dentist Do

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:

  • Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
  • Repair cracked or fractured teeth and remove teeth
  • Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
  • Administer anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
  • Prescribe antibiotics or other medications
  • Examine x rays of teeth, gums, the jaw, and nearby areas in order to diagnose problems
  • Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures, to fit patients
  • Teach patients about diets, flossing, the use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care

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.

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How To Become A General Dentist

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.

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Do you work as a General Dentist?

Average Yearly Salary
$95,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$95,000
Median 50%
$190,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Dental Care Alliance
Highest Paying City
Amarillo, TX
Highest Paying State
Wyoming
Avg Experience Level
5.6 years
How much does a General Dentist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a General Dentist in the United States is $95,498 per year or $46 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $190,000.

Real General Dentist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
General Dentist (Clinical Director) Familia Dental Amarillo PLLC Amarillo, TX Jun 24, 2016 $250,000
General Dentist Smilebuilderz, LLC Lancaster, PA Feb 12, 2016 $238,138
General Dentist Family Centers, Inc. Greenwich, CT Jun 24, 2016 $208,700
General Dentist Family Centers Inc. Greenwich, CT Jun 13, 2016 $208,700
General Dentist New England Family Dentistry PC Lawrence, MA Sep 09, 2015 $208,700
General Dentist Smilebuilderz LLC Lancaster, PA Jan 11, 2016 $200,000
General Dentist-Orthodontist Dexter Dental LLC Elgin, IL Aug 25, 2015 $200,000
General Dentist Familia Dental Ros LLC Roswell, NM Aug 28, 2015 $197,662
General Dentist Decatur 2012 LLC Decatur, IL Aug 27, 2016 $197,600
General Dentist Familia Dental Las Cruces LLC Las Cruces, NM Aug 28, 2015 $197,600
General Dentist Familia Dental Clovis LLC Clovis, NM Sep 22, 2016 $197,600
General Dentist Familia Dental Ros LLC Los Chaves, NM Sep 22, 2016 $197,600
General Dentist Julie D Tran DDS LLC Alexandria, VA Jun 17, 2015 $146,090
General Dentist Julie D Tran DDS LLC Alexandria, VA May 13, 2016 $146,090
General Dentist Coast Dental of Nevada Inc. Las Vegas, NV Sep 15, 2016 $144,212
General Dentist Ruparelia Dental PC Monahans, TX Apr 14, 2016 $144,000
General Dentist Ruparelia Dental PC Pecos, TX Jan 25, 2016 $144,000
General Dentist Best Smiles Family Dental QC LLC Davenport, IA Sep 17, 2016 $144,000
Dentist, General Smile Leasing, PLLC Nacogdoches, TX Jan 09, 2016 $144,000
General Dentist Perfect Dental, LLC Taunton, MA Jul 14, 2015 $143,732
General Dentist Khehra Dental Corporation San Jose, CA Jun 01, 2015 $118,959
Dentist, General Northland Dental Partners, P.C. Chanhassen, MN Jan 09, 2016 $118,604
Dentist, General Crusaders Central Clinic Association Rockford, IL Aug 29, 2016 $117,915
General Dentist Professional Dental Alliance Cleveland, OH Jan 15, 2015 $117,582
Dentist, General Crusaders Central Clinic Association Rockford, IL Aug 15, 2016 $117,520
General Dentist The Children's Dental Center of Greater Los Angeles Inglewood, CA Jan 09, 2016 $117,394
General Dentist Columbia Dental PC New Britain, CT Mar 16, 2015 $117,300
General Dentist Mt. Holly Family Dentistry NJ Jan 05, 2015 $116,730

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Top Skills for A General Dentist

  1. Dental Procedures
  2. Composite Restorations
  3. Oral Hygiene
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed general dental procedures including surgery on adult and pediatric patients.
  • Involved in dental examinations and oral hygiene procedures.
  • Gained experience in presentation of complex restorative treatment plans and improved my knowledge and expertise in surgical procedures.
  • Perform all aspects of general dentistry- including endodontics, oral surgery and restoration of dental implants.
  • Provided Initial therapy for mild to moderate periodontal disease and also adopted usage of local antibiotics for indicated cases.

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Top 10 Best States for General Dentists

  1. Alaska
  2. North Dakota
  3. New Mexico
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Maine
  7. Delaware
  8. Iowa
  9. Michigan
  10. New Hampshire
  • (14 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (15 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (113 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)

General Dentist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 4,330 General 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.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch General Dentist Resume

View Resume Examples

General Dentist Demographics

Gender

Male

44.2%

Female

42.2%

Unknown

13.6%
Ethnicity

White

45.7%

Asian

19.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.1%

Black or African American

8.9%

Unknown

8.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.0%

Hindi

6.0%

Russian

5.6%

Korean

4.8%

Portuguese

4.8%

French

4.4%

Arabic

4.0%

Vietnamese

2.0%

Mandarin

2.0%

Chinese

2.0%

Urdu

2.0%

Ukrainian

1.6%

Italian

1.6%

Gujarati

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

German

1.2%

Polish

1.2%

Dutch

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Armenian

0.8%
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General Dentist Education

Schools

New York University

11.7%

City College of New York of the City University of New York

10.1%

Howard University

6.9%

Boston University

6.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.1%

Tufts University School of Medicine

6.1%

University of Southern California

5.5%

Temple University

5.2%

University of Pennsylvania

5.0%

Nova Southeastern University

4.9%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.1%

Columbia University

3.4%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

3.3%

Baylor College of Dentistry of Tx A&M Health Sci Ctr

3.3%

University of California - San Francisco

3.2%

University of Florida

3.1%

Loma Linda University

3.0%

Meharry Medical College

3.0%

University of Detroit Mercy

2.9%

University of Louisville

2.9%
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Majors

Advanced Dentistry And Oral Sciences

48.8%

Dentistry

18.1%

Medicine

11.4%

Biology

5.3%

Dental Assisting

5.0%

Business

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Public Health

1.0%

Clinical Psychology

0.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

0.9%

English

0.9%

Psychology

0.6%

Microbiology

0.6%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

0.5%

Chemistry

0.5%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.4%

Management

0.4%

Physiology And Anatomy

0.3%

Elementary Education

0.3%
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Degrees

Doctorate

53.6%

Other

19.2%

Bachelors

11.6%

Masters

7.0%

Certificate

5.6%

Associate

1.9%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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Top General Dentist Employers

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