Careers in Dentistry
Be a Dental Professional
There are many careers in dentistry that dental students can take up once they finish formal education.
Dentistry is a highly appraised field; it is an important field that helps maintain people’s health. This is why being in the dental field comes with quite a prestige.
Most dental students go on to become dentists after receiving formal education and training in the field. However, what most people don’t know is that dental professionals don’t just include dentists.
There are other careers in dentistry that are available to dental students especially the newly graduated ones. Here are the common careers in the dental field.
What are Your Options?
There is a range of career options available under Dentistry.
- Be a Dentist
- Dental Assistants
- Dental Hygienist
- Dental Laboratory Technician
1. Be a Dentist
Most students who take up dental courses want to be dentists, and most of the time, they do go on to be dentists.
Dentists are important healthcare professionals because they can help people maintain a good oral health, and sometimes helps enhance a person’s quality of living and his or her appearance, in the case of cosmetic dentistry.
Dentists mostly have a balanced lifestyle unlike other professionals, and they receive quite a demand from the public. Dentists also do not have to seek employment because you can set up your own dental clinic and work independently. There is, however, a downside, since you’d have to put up a clinic with your own funds.
Dentists receive a high status in the society and are very important. If you are considering the dental field, you can also choose from various specializations and become an orthodontist, an endodontist, a cosmetic dentist, and so on.
2. Dental Assistants
Newly graduated dental students who cannot immediately set up their own practice can start with being a dental assistant.
Dental assistants are very important since they contribute greatly to the quality and the delivery of proper dental care. Being a dental assistant gives excellent exposure to all areas of the dental profession as you will be faced with varied situations and dental cases.
Dental assistants are responsible for assisting a dentist in conducting treatment procedures, taking dental x-rays, collecting patients’ dental history, preparing sterile dental instruments and equipments, and providing patient care, among some others. It also falls upon dental assistants to counsel and teach patients on how to properly maintain teeth. Dental assistants get a great jumpstart in their careers in dentistry through such exposure.
3. Dental Hygienist
You can also choose to become a dental hygienist.
A dental hygienist work closely with a dentist and plays an important role in maintaining proper oral care for patients. Dental hygienists have varying ranges of responsibility depending on state regulations.
Dental hygienists are responsible for taking dental x-rays, removing plaque from teeth surfaces, screening patients, counseling patients about good oral health and how it affects overall health, giving nutritional advice, evaluating patient’s treatment needs, and many others. Dental hygienists are also able to conduct dental treatments such as applying sealants and fluorides to help prevent oral problems.
4. Dental Laboratory Technician
Another one of the many important careers in dentistry is the dental laboratory technician.
The dental laboratory technician has a very comprehensive job; he or she will work closely with a licensed dentist and are usually instructed by these dentists. The job of the dental laboratory technician is mostly behind the scenes.
They are responsible for creating dentures, both full and partial, fixed bridges, crowns, veneers, and bracing appliances and splints. Thus, they work with waxes, alloys, stainless steel, plastics, porcelains, polymer glass, and other components used in preparing dental appliances. Without a dental laboratory technician, these dental procedures will be impossible.
Pursuing Dentistry Careers
If you are pursuing careers in dentistry, you must attend a dental school that has the necessary accreditation from the ADA or American Dental Association.
There are several of these schools in the United States. However, these schools also require you to have at least two years of pre-dental education such as a bachelor’s degree before you can start formal dentistry education. Before getting accepted into a dental school, you have to take a Dental Admissions Test or DAT first.
Careers in dentistry, especially the training and education that comes before, are quite competitive. However, the rewards that wait at the end of the education and training are quite worth the effort.
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