Dentists are skilled professionals that are trained to work on teeth and treat health issues regarding the mouth. They are trained in various techniques and are capable of making diagnosis and performing numerous procedures.
What to Expect
Individuals wondering how to become a dentist would do well to first understand what the profession entails. A dentist does far more than peer into patient’s mouth. Dentists are highly skilled individuals that are capable of performing a variety of tasks all designed to treat and take care of the mouth, teeth, and gums.
Among many of their duties, dentist are able to;
- Instruct patient’s on proper oral hygiene
- Demonstrate proper dental care
- Remove tooth decay
- Straighten teeth
- Repair teeth
- Fill cavities
- Examine X rays and other diagnostic tests
- Remove teeth
Many fail to realize as they research how to become a dentist that these professionals are also responsible for making molds of teeth, replace missing teeth, and even handle anesthetics.
The tools at the dentist disposal vary according to the need and the procedure. Common tools such as mirrors, drills, and brushes are used for the routine dental procedures. These professionals also use lasers, X ray machines, and digital scanners.
Most dentists practice in private offices where they are also responsible for the administrative side of the business.
These dentists are responsible for;
- Ordering supplies and equipment
- Hiring additional staff
- Supervising staff
There are nine specialty areas in dentistry. When those interested in the field research how to become a dentist consideration must be given to these specialty fields.
These nine fields are;
- Oral surgeons
- Oral pathologists
- Oral radiologists
- Dental public health specialist
Education, Training, and Certification
The first step on ‘How to become a dentist’ is to gain license. It is required in the United States that all dentists hold a license. These licenses are usually gained from an accredited university.
It is required to hold a bachelor’s degree before seeking acceptance from a dental school. For those high school students that are wondering how to become a dentist it is best to start taking necessary courses and curriculum as early as possible. Courses in biology, physics, health, and chemistry are recommended.
Coursework heavy in science is generally thought to be best for those students wishing to become a dentist. Before acceptance in dental school potential students must take the Dental Admissions Test. Competition for entrance into dental schools is tough so it is important to do well on the DAT.
Once admitted, students will spend the next four years studying anatomy, biochemistry, and other clinical sciences. The last two years will have the student treat actual patients in preparation for having their own practice.
Skills dentists should have are;
- Excellent manual skills
- Good memory
- Excellent judgment
- Excellent manual dexterity
- Good communication skills
Dentists who aim to have a private practice should also have a good business sense as well.
General dentistry is the most popular field for these professionals with orthodontists coming in second. A good majority of dentist are involved in private practice. They prefer the freedom and flexibility of determining their own hours.
When considering to become a dentists one must understand that there will be a continued demand for these professionals. This is because there will be a need to replace dentists who are retiring. The public is also taking a greater interest in properly caring for their teeth. This is, in turn, creating a need for dentist visits well into their old age.
The salary of a dentist varies dramatically. The salary all depends on the location, type of practice, and hours worked. Dentists will also need to consider the cost of providing health insurance and other expenditures that small business owners are responsible for.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 �2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"