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How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dentist

How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dentist

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Dentist: A Quick Look
Median Salary $149,310 per year
$71.79 per hour
Entry-level Education Doctoral or professional degree (doctorate)
On-the-job training 1 to 2 year residency
Primary employers Computer systems design, Finance, Insurance, Companies Management
Number of positions (U.S.) 146,800
Job Growth (2012-2022) 16% (Much higher than the national average)
New positions (2012-2022) 23,300
How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dentist

This picture shows us the typical work a Dentist performs in his office. Our article will illuminate more details regarding this profession.

What Does a Dentist Do? Dentists serve as trained medical professionals who diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s teeth, gums, and other related areas of the mouth. They also provide advice on how to best care for your oral hygiene and how to maintain any dental implants. Read more

Salary According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and their findings from May 2012, Dentists earn a median salary of $149,310 per year or $71.79 per hour. Read more

Becoming a Dentist Professional Dentists must at least fulfill the entry level educational requirements. This profession requires a doctorate or professional degree with a specialization in dentistry from a certified Medical School. Also, dentists must possess a proper license to be allowed to practice; some requirements to become a licensed dentist vary from state to state. However, all states require the applicant to have graduated from an accredited dental school and passed the exams. Discover How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dentist in this most recent post. Read more

Job Outlook According to the BLS, the need for dentists will grow by a projected 16% from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all other occupations. Becoming a dentist is surely not a bad career choice in the next decade or so. Read more

Dentist According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dentist’s earn a relatively high salary at $149,310 per year as of May 2012. A median wage is a wage where half the workers in the given field earn less than that mark and the other half of the workers earn more. If you wonder how much a Dentist's salary can vary , according to the Bureau, the lowest 10 percent of Dentists earn just under $73,840. The highest earning 10 percent earn $187,200 or more. A Dentist's salary varies significantly depending on their experience, the location of their practice, the number of hours worked per week, and their specialty. The Bureau states that the median wages for all Dentist were as follows according to data from the BLS:

  • $187,200 or more for oral and maxillofacial surgeons
  • $187,200 or more for orthodontists
  • $169,130 for prosthodontists
  • $154,990 for dentists of all other specialties
  • $145,240 for general dentists
Most Dentists work full time. Some may work evenings and weekends in order to respond better to their patient’s needs.

How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dentist Before going to dental school, all applicants must complete at least a bachelor’s degree program. These programs almost always take four years. Then, the dental school takes an additional one or two years. If you plan to enter one of the nine possible dentist specialties, you must complete a one or two year residency program following graduating dental school. Following a successful residency, you can begin to practice. Dentists who want to specialize in general dentistry don’t need this additional period of training. Also, for the few dentists interested in teaching or working in research programs, they must spend an additional 2-5 years in an advanced dental training program. Many practicing dentists also invest some part time hours in teaching or supervising dental students in dental school clinics. As mentioned before, a candidate must graduate from a dental school followed by a residency program for those who want to specialize in a certain dentistry field. To get into the dental school, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree in a relevant pre-medical field. Most bachelor's degree programs will work as long as the program offers necessary science courses (such as biology and chemistry). Admission into a dental school can be pretty competitive. Holding a master’s degree in any science filed could provide a huge advantage even if it isn't formally required by the school. High school students interested in becoming dentists should take on courses in chemistry, biology, anatomy, physics and mathematics. Every state throughout the U.S. requires that Dentists become certified to practice within their respective state. The requirements for certification vary from state to state. However, they don't vary significantly. Most states require the applicant possess a graduate degree from an accredited dental school. Applicants must also pass a theoretical and practical exam. For specialized dentists, state certification requires that a dentist hold a license in that specialty. Licensing requires two to four years of additional training after dental school. In some cases, dentist to be must complete a special state exam. Sometimes, a postgraduate must complete a residency program which takes an additional two years.

Dentist Job Description A dentist’s job is to diagnose any teeth and oral cavity problems in a patient. They treat these issues using a variety of methods. Dentists also use many different kinds of machines and equipment such as x-ray machines, drills, mouth mirrors, forceps, brushes, scalpels, and probes. They use sophisticated computer technology such as lasers and digital scanners. Dentist must also use anesthesia as part of their normal responsibilities. Dentists also provide advice and instructions on how to use oral hygiene tools more efficiently. They also advise on how a person’s diet can affect their oral health. A private practice may require the dentist to perform bookkeeping activities, and to buy equipment and supplies. Dentists solve a wide variety of tasks and problems when diagnosing and treating teeth problems. Some of the tasks of a typical dentistry job include the following tasks:

  • Removing decay from teeth and filling cavities
  • Repairing cracked or fractured teeth, as well as removing teeth which are beyond saving
  • Straightening teeth to correct biting problems
  • Placing whitening agents on teeth, as well as sealing
  • Administrating anesthetic substances to prevent patients’ pain during the procedures
  • Writing prescriptions for antibiotics or other drugs related to their healthcare
  • Examining X-Ray for teeth, jaws, and nearby areas and identifying potential problems
  • Teaching patients about oral hygiene, diet, use of fluoride etc.

Job Outlook The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 16% for all dentist jobs between 2012 through 2022. That rate sits much higher than the average for all occupations (11%). The Bureau predicts a significant increase in the overall demand for dentists for a lot of reasons: the baby boomers will need extensive dental procedures and people are more likely to keep their teeth for a longer period of time (which means that they will also need more dental care throughout their lives) Studies continue to link oral health to the overall health of the body. In turn, this should increase the market's demand for dentists. Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening are also projected to become more popular in the upcoming decade. This is especially true with newer and less invasive procedures being released at the moment. New technologies will allow dentists to become more efficient allowing them to work on greater numbers of patients in shorter periods of time. The overall need for dentists likely won't be anytime soon. There are still some parts of the country where patients are in great need of dentists but don't have access to their services. According to the BLS, a significant number of dentists are expected to retire through the next decade. This will create an even greater need for new dentists to take their place.

 

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