Careers In Dentistry

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Okay now, who likes science? Who also likes working with their hands? To be politically correct, I will also ask, who likes helping people? If you answered yes to all of these and you are a student of any age, you might want to consider a career in the dental field. The following article will highlight 4 positions in the field that anyone can aspire to attain.

The first one is the dentist. To become a dentist, you need a bachelor's degree with a strong science foundation, biology, chemistry, physics and math being crucial. To be admitted to dental school, which lasts 4 years, requires high grades in college and a competitive score on the Dental Aptitude Test (kind of like a dental SAT). After graduating from dental school you must take a licensure exam required by the state that you want to practice in. If you want to become a dental specialist than 2 or more extra years of schooling are needed. Specialized dental fields include:

  1. Orthodontists who straighten crooked teeth and malaligned jaws with braces and other appliances.
  2. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons extract teeth as well as care for problems associated with jaws and facial structures.
  3. Periodontists care for a patient's gums and bone that supports the teeth.
  4. Pediatric dentists care for the needs of children.
  5. Oral pathologists help diagnose tumors and other lesions of the mouth.
  6. Endodontists treat the nerves inside of teeth when they become infected.
  7. Prosthodontists specialize in the replacement of teeth.

The next dental professional is the dental hygienist. They help people prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy gums by cleaning teeth to remove tartar, stains and plaque. They review a patient's health history and chart the condition of the person's teeth and gums. They also teach proper brushing and flossing techniques. Hygienists must complete a two year certification program or a four year college program. Good grades in high school are needed to apply for admission.

The dental assistant is the next dental team member. They keep the practice running smoothly. They greet and dismiss patients as well as assist the dentist during all phases of treatments, including the taking of the necessary x-rays. The assistant many times help prepare the patients so they will be comfortable during treatment Community colleges and vocational schools offer dental assisting programs.

One final member of the dental team is the dental laboratory technician. The technician follows a dentists prescription to make and repair dental appliances, including dentures, inlays, crowns, and bridges. They make these appliances using wax, plaster plastic and ceramics and metals from impressions taken of a person's mouth or teeth. Many technicians learn their craft on the job, while others take a certified training program. The work is extremely delicate and time consuming but good dental technicians are and will be always in demand.

For anyone out there reading this who might be interested in a very rewarding profession that will always be in demand, please consider the dental field. You won't be sorry.