Dentist Career Description
One of the more lucrative careers in the healthcare profession is that of a dentist. General practitioners are your community, school or company dentists who can treat nearly all dental problems. Apart from general practitioners, a dentist career has specialization opportunities as well.
- An oral dental surgeon performs restorative work in cases of accidents.
- The orthodontist specializes in straightening misaligned or crooked teeth with braces. Periodontists treat gum problems,
- Prosthodontists replace lost tooth with an artificial one.
- General practitioners who specialize in public dental health who work in ministries as social workers who develop dental care programs.
- A few practitioners work full time in the teaching profession though many are known to do so on the side.
- There’s also a small percentage who work in pharmaceutical companies to lab research to develop dental products.
Education and Licensing
A dentist career can take from 6-8 years of academics after high school. You need to complete 2-4 years of college before entering dental college accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) with most completing a 4-year baccalaureate degree. Then you need to pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) to get to a dental college. Upon graduation you either get a doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of dental medicine (DDS) affixed to your name. Those you want to specialize need another 2-4 years of training.
Like doctors, a dentist needs to pass a state board exam to be able to practice. After getting a license, most would prefer to set up a private practice or work established dentist to work up a clientele, while others get salaried positions in hospitals, pharmaceuticals and government agencies. Whether as general practitioners or specialized, dentists can command a median salary of $180,000 annually.
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