Dentists enjoy a unique, diverse, technology-driven profession with numerous areas of service and expertise. Dentists are responsible for a wide variety of duties including (but not limited to): detecting diseases such as oral cancer, diagnosing and treating problems that affect the teeth, gums, lips and jaws, helping people have more attractive smiles through cosmetic dental procedures, and performing surgery to repair, restore and maintain teeth, gums and oral tissues. Dentists also educate their patients about good oral health care habits to achieve and maintain good oral health.
According to the American Dental Association there are TEN GREAT REASONS TO BECOME A DENTIST:
|Ten Great Reasons to Be A Dentist
- Service to Others: Help people maintain and improve their oral health, quality of life and appearance
- Balanced Lifestyle: Dentistry offers flexibility to balance professional and personal life
- Empower Your Patients: Give patients smiles they are proud to wear
- Technology and Research: Be involved with the scientific advancement of dentistry
- Be a Leader: Earn respect from your family, friends and community
- Prevention/Education: Be an educator on the importance of oral health
- Detect Disease: Treat oral health and detect disease " including cancer and cardiovascular
- Be Creative: Use your artistic and scientific talents
- Success Potential: With the aging population and increase in access to care, the demand and need for dentistry is on the rise
- Self-Employment: Own a dental practice and be your own boss
There are 9 ADA-recognized specialties in dentistry:Dental Public Health: Prevent and control disease. Promote dental health through organized community efforts.
Endodontics: Diagnose and treat oral conditions caused by problems with the dental pulp (i.e., root canals).
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Study the nature of diseases affecting the mouth.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Diagnose, surgically and otherwise treat diseases, injuries and defects of the mouth's tissues.
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Supervise, guide and correct the growth of teeth and facial bones.
Pediatric Dentistry: Provide both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
Periodontics: Diagnose and treat diseases of the gums.
Prosthodontics: Restore and maintain the oral functions, comfort, appearance and health of patients by restoring natural teeth and/or replacing missing teeth with artificial substitutes (i.e. dentures).
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: A new dental specialty. These specialists use imaging and associated technology for the diagnosis and management of a range of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws and related areas of the head and neck.
In order to become a dentist, although the steps may vary, you generally will need to do the following:
Earn a college degree and take pre-dental courses in biology, chemistry and physics.
Take and earn a good score on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).
Complete four years of dental school. An additional two years or more may be necessary if you choose to specialize.
Take and pass national board exams and state licensure exams.
Dental schools grant doctoral degrees in dentistry. Dental programs in the U.S. must earn accreditation from the American Dental Association every seven years.