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How to Become A Dentist:Elaborating the Right Steps

The path to dentistry may seem straightforward. Start with an undergraduate degree, enter dental school, then possibly residency or specializing, and then open your own practice. However, before even considering residency or specializing, you will be studying for eight years. Before fulfilling your ultimate goal of practicing as a dentist there are plenty of questions that you will need answering. we will cover all the necessary questions that you need answers to and will include details on the steps you can take in high school and college to reach your dentistry dream. It will also cover what you can expect from the dental school admissions process, as well as what is on the cards during your four years of dental school. We also look at what happens post-graduation.

Overview Of A Dentist ➤

Dentistry is a profession, which deals with all the health problems, which are related to mouth and teeth. It includes a gums problem. Now a day there is one more career option in Dentistry that is cosmetic Dentistry. In this dental specialist treats with  Venners, Lumineers, Bonding, Teeth Whitening, Gum Reshaping, Dental Implants, Caps and Crowns, Orthodontics. They also provide advice and guidance on, how to take care of oral hygiene, with tips on a few exercises related to oral healthcare.

Prosthodontics is the Dentist surgeons, They fill cavities, incase of decaying of the tooth, they perform every method, which is possible to repair damaged teeth, incase if a tooth is damaged, it is removed and in place of that, there are certain bridge methods, which are applied to fit artificial tooth in our mouth. Besides that, they are some dental specialists like Orthodontists, who treat with inequality of teeth, by putting retainers and braces for about 6-7 months, the duration of braces may vary according to the seriousness of the case. Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons, perform surgery on bones and gum’s diseases. Many Dentists specialize in roots, they are known as endodontists.  Those Dentists who perform work of analyzing and diagnosing dental diseases are known as pathologists. There are dentists who use radiology, special techniques, to analyze diseases of head and neck, due to any oral problem, these dentists are known as oral and maxillofacial radiologists.

Many other dentists prefer doing heath care services and give advice and call meetings to discuss dental problems issues. With other experts in this field, there are various non-profitable, companies, and associations that provide free health checkups, and free dental services for common people. There are many other govt, health services, in which, they are hired, for general dental checkups. There are various dental types of equipment, which are used by Dentists, for examples  Drills, mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, x-ray machine, Lasers, Digital scanners, etc, Other than this equipment, Dentists also use safety masks, gloves and glasses to be safe from infectious diseases.

Is This a Career for You?

Studying to be a dentist is a long and difficult path; it will require plenty of hard work and dedication. You should have the patience and diligence required for oral health work. Dentists also require excellent people skills in order to communicate effectively with colleagues and patients. In addition, you have to be able to work well with your hands and be detail-focused. dentistry is a well respected career choice, because Dentistry is such a challenging field and it takes so much to get there not everyone can do it so dentists are really valued community members and they're really well respected for having that huge accomplishment, according to us news dentists are ranked number 2 in best health care jobs, number 4 in best 100 jobs, and number four in best STEM jobs, as well as number 10 in best-paying, dentists have a lot of flexibility for the example you can own your own office or you can work as an associate dentist working in a clinic that is owned by someone else, you have a huge option in dentistry because there are nine specialties in dentistry so if general dentistry isn't floating your boat, you can change your mind and choose one of the nine specialties. you can choose your own pace- some dentists I worked with want a tougher schedule and they want to do root canals and crowns and extractions and some other dentists want to keep it simple and do exams and fillings and refer their patients out for more complex procedures, so as a dentist your schedule can be fast-paced or relaxed based on your preference, and based on the level of risk that you're comfortable with whichever route you go with there is still stimulating everyday work you practice creativity and you're with your hands and you restore people's health I love the fact that dentists are diagnosticians but they actually do the treatment themselves this is what I loved, but it might actually be someone else's reason for not choosing dentistry for example if you don't like working with your hands dentistry probably isn't right for you.

Steps to Becoming a Dentist ➤

The below steps give you a quick indication of what you will need to go through in order to become a dentist. Our full articles go into greater detail for each section.

1. Complete an Undergraduate Degree ➣

Majority of dental schools require you to complete an undergraduate degree prior to applying for dental school. However, some dental schools offer early acceptance programs. No specific degree is required for you to apply to dental school; however, dental schools require the completion of certain courses prior to admittance.
The most common pre-dental degree is a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

2. Complete Your Pre-dental Courses ➣

Some dental schools may have additional requirements beyond what is included in the pre-dental program, so it is advisable that you contact the dental school you wish to attend to make sure you have completed everything that is required.

Required and Recommended Pre-dental Classes ➣

Required- chemistry, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Statistics
Recommended- Biochemistry, Biology, Inorganic or general chemistry, Organic chemistry, Physics, Calculus, English
Lab required- Biochemistry, chemistry, Calculus
English, Cell biology, Microbiology, Statistics
If you are still in high school, then it would be worthwhile reading our article of the steps you can take now.

3. Take the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT) ➣

Before you apply to dental school, you will need to complete the DAT. As admission to dental school is so competitive, it is important to do well in this test.
Majority of students will take the DAT during the junior year of their undergraduate degree.
The DAT is a timed multi-choice exam, conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA). It will measure your general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability.

The DAT consists of six sections ➣
  • Perceptual Ability,
  • Reading Comprehension,
  • Quantitative Reasoning,
  • Biology,
  • General Chemistry, and
  • Organic Chemistry

4. Apply to Dental School ➣

When applying to dental schools you can apply directly to each desired school or alternatively, you can use the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS). This is a centralized application processing service. They will send a single application to the dental schools specified by the applicant, for a fee. Most schools participate in AADSAS, which simplifies the process considerably. Your undergraduate grades score on the DAT, recommendations, and interviews are considered in the admission process.

5. Attend Dental School ➣

Once you are accepted, you will attend dental school for the next four years.
The curriculum can broadly be divided into three broad areas:
i. Basic health sciences
ii. Application of these health sciences
iii. Practice management

6. Take Your Board Exams ➣

part 1. National Board Dental Examination

The first part of the NBDE tests the cumulative knowledge you have gained over the first two years of dental school and the exam includes sections on gross and microanatomy, biochemistry and physiology, microbiology and pathology, and dental anatomy.

part 2. National Board Dental Examination:

You will take part 2 of the NBDE in your final year of dental school. The second part of the NBDE takes part over a two-day period. It is a 16 hour written test covering operative dentistry, pharmacology, prosthodontics, oral surgery and pain control, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, oral pathology, and radiology, behavioral science, and public health and safety.

The Clinical Board Examination:

It is also in your final year that you will prepare for the clinical board exam. The exam will take place at the end of the year once you have passed a series of mock exams provided by your dental school.
This examination will test to see whether you are is competent to practice dentistry without supervision.

7. Graduate with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) Degree ➣

To be licensed to treat patients, you will need to graduate from a four year accredited dental school, pass both parts of the NBDE, and pass the clinical board examination.
After graduation, approximately 20 percent will specialize in one of the nine specialties approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
A portion of graduates will do at least one year of residency, read more about General practice residency (GPR) and Advanced education in general dentistry (AEGD) here.
While the rest of the dental school graduates will start earning money.

8. Consider Specializing ➣

Specialties have to be formally recognized by the America Dental Association (ADA) and meet the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists.
There are currently nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA.
i. Dental Public Health
ii. Endodontics
iii. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
iv. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
v. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
vi. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
vii. Pediatric Dentistry
viii. Periodontics
ix. Prosthodontics
Additional training is required when you specialize, which can range from 12 months to six years.

9. Consider Residency ➣

Some states require that you complete a residency after graduation from dental school and before you start practicing. However, even though your state may not require you to complete a residency, it can be very beneficial for a young dentist.
The dental residency lasts one year, with the option to continue for a second year. Some programs will last two years from the start.
Residency programs allow a dental school graduate to:
further enhance their skills in the traditionally defined disciplines of dentistry,
enable a young dentist to increase their speed and refine their technique,
the opportunity to learn from the attending dentists, and
manage comprehensive dental treatment plans and manages them according to the patient’s medical condition.

10. State License ➤

Most states in the U.S. will require dentists to obtain a state license before they can practice. The majority of the time there is a written and a practical section in order to obtain the license. The written portion, in most states, could be satisfied by completing your NBDE.
You will then be ready to practice dentistry.

Roles And Responsibilities ➣

Dentist’s work full of dedication and hard work. A Dentist provides, oral care and educates people about the proper routine care, that should be taken in order to avoid having, yellowish, improper teeth. Besides being taking care of oral diseases, a Dentist should also pay attention, to the other needs of there patients. For example – Atmosphere, hygiene in the hospital. The person who performs this activity is also known as dental hygiene.

According to the American Dental Association’s principle, there are certain roles and responsibilities of a Dentist. Some are as follows:-
1. Make use of dental software, while keeping records and other details of the patient.
2. To guide and motivate children, to eat proper food, and to educate them on how overeating of sweets, chocolates can be harmful to them. While handling kids, you should be patient, and use tricks, without using harsh treatments, so they may able to understand, the importance of taking care of there gums.
3. You must ask parents, to motivate their kids to do brushes and to clean their teeth regularly, in routine, i.e. two times a day. You can also make them aware of certain flavored, toothpaste available in the market, especially for kids.
4. The dentist should be clear, with the patient, about the disease, he or she had.  You should, give proper guidance and provide all the options, he can take. For example: – showing every range of braces, a patient can wear, in order to straighten his teeth, so that he can treat that disease within his budget.
Some Additional roles, while practicing as a Dentist, a person should take care of the followings:


  • Dentists should to proper registration of the patient, and should keep a proper record of each one.
  • He can hire dental nurses, and other dental assistance, if necessary.
  • He should be able to work as a team member, with coordination and cooperation.
  • He should treat people, who are unregistered, if there is any kind of emergency.
  • Dentists are required to meet certain policies, standards, and procedure, in order to work in a hospital.
  • If A dentist is on private practice, he should be able to manage staff members and maintain disciple, in order to meet office production goals.
  • He should be taking care of, lab fees, supplies, Employee overtime hours, Recruitments, office budget, and other financial matters.

Salary ➣

Even though it shouldn’t be the driving force when making the decision to pursue a career in dentistry, it definitely is one of the benefits of dentistry as a reputation for high salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentists made a median annual wage of $156,240 and $75.12 per hour in 2018. The top ten percent of dentists made greater than $195,200 per year. The overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for dental services will increase as the population ages and research continues to link oral health to overall health. From the total number of Dentists working, 12% of them entered specialization courses, other work under experts as a trainee. A large proportion of Dentists, practice in there own private clinic. Many of them work under private and govt. offices. They usually work 6-7 hrs a day, and six days a week. Some aged Dentist also works part-time. Salary for fresher starts from $58.56 per hour, i.e. annually average salary of a fresher is $124,250 per year. Experienced Dentists can earn on an average of $85.70 to $ 90.00 per hour, annual salary can go in between $107k to $208k per year. To gain knowledge and experience. Earnings vary according to the number of years in practice, location, hours worked, and specialty.

There are much other employment, benefits for a Dentist in the context of the following ➣

  • Vacations
  • Sick Time
  • Insurances
  • Employee heath incentives
  • Education
  • Holiday pay
  • Retirement Plans
  • Social Security

Other Helpful External Resources

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
Phone: 312–440–2500

American Association of Public Health Dentistry
3085 Stevenson Drive
Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62703
Phone: 217-529–6941
Fax: 217–529–9120
Email: info@aaphd.org

American Association of Endodontists
211 East Chicago Avenue
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60611-2637
Phone: 800-872-3636
Fax: 866-451-9020
Email: info@aae.org

American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
One Urban Center, Suite 690
4830 West Kennedy Boulevard
Tampa, FL  33609
Phone: (813) 286-2444
Fax:  (813) 289-5279
Email: Clarita@ABPath.org

American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
214 North Hale Street
Wheaton, IL 60187
Toll-Free: 1-888-552-2667
Phone: 630-510-4552
Fax: 630-510-4501
Email: info@aaomp.org  

American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
3085 Stevenson Drive
Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62703
Phone: (217) 529–6503
Fax: (217) 529–9120
Email: admin@aaomr.org

American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
625 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 1820
Chicago, IL  60611
Phone: (312) 642-0070
Fax:  (312) 642-8584

American Board of Orthodontics
401 North Lindbergh Boulevard

Suite 300
St. Louis, MO  63141-7839
Phone: (314) 432-6130
Fax:  (314) 432-8170
Email:  info@americanboardortho.com

American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
325 East Washington Street
Suite 208
Iowa City, IA 52240-3959
Phone:  (319) 341-8488
Fax:  (319) 341-9499

American Board of Periodontology
Executive Director
877 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard
Suite 111
Severna Park, MD  21146
Phone:  (410) 647-1324
Fax:  (410) 647-1260
Email:  staff@abperio.org

How to Become A Dentist: Elaborating the Right Steps How to Become A Dentist: Elaborating the Right Steps Reviewed by swapee dee on February 11, 2020 Rating: 5
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