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Becoming a Dentist: What to Know About the Industry

Most people will have no time to go for dental visits, having busy schedules that leave no space. Dentists were seen as doctors for teeth, and as a doctor, the only time you wanted to see one was when you didn’t need one. Visiting a dentist was seen as an unpleasant and painful experience, and as a result, whole generations of kids grew up with an aversion to dentists.

Time has passed, and dentistry has evolved, incorporating new techniques and numerous advancements. In today’s environment, dentists are no longer seen as tooth doctors dishing out the pain but rather as medical professionals who help you with your dental needs.

Dentistry is a rapidly growing and advancing field of oral medicine. This article will give a brief overview of dentistry, with specific attention given to studying dentistry and the various career paths available to dental school graduates.

Dentists defined

So, what exactly is a dentist?

Oxford defines a dentist as “a person qualified to treat the diseases and conditions that affect the teeth and gums, especially the repair and extraction of teeth and the insertion of artificial ones.”   What is fascinating about this definition is that it emphasizes qualifications, treatment, and the actions performed.

Despite COVID-19, dentistry has demonstrated fairly consistent results, and analysts have attributed this to the fact that dentistry is an essential service.   In 2020, there were 182,418 dental businesses in America, and the total value of the dental market was $128 billion.

What dentists do

Dentistry is a five-year course, and when you look at the extensive range of functions that dentists perform, it becomes obvious why the training and education are so extensive.

Typically, a dentist will remove tooth decay, fill cavities, and repair damaged teeth. In the performance of these functions, they will implant sealants and clean teeth with whitening agents. Dentists will also administer anesthetics, prescribe antibiotics, diagnose problems, examine x-rays, make models for dental appliances, and teach patients about dental care.

Dentists are also trained in dental equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. They also use advanced technology such as lasers and digital scanners.

The advantages of studying dentistry

One serious advantage of studying dentistry is that you develop skills that are internationally recognized. Dentists are always in demand, and since teeth work the same way from one person to the next, a dental degree can overcome barriers and give you access across international borders to anywhere in the world.

There are a wide range of job opportunities available to dentists and a wide range of workplaces they can be performed. For example, dentists may also work in surgeries, laboratories, hospitals, or community dental services.

How to study dentistry

Dentistry is a five-year degree course culminating in a Bachelor’s Degree in dentistry. There are four types of Bachelor’s degrees:  Bachelor of Science in Dental (BScD), Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent), Bachelor Degree of Dentistry (BDS), and Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc).

After achieving the Bachelor’s degree, dentists must then achieve a Doctorate. There are three types of Doctorate degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Dentistry courses cover a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. The dentistry courses will also include practical aptitude sections such as recording medical history, conducting dental examinations, orthodontics, and anesthesia use.

Once these courses have been completed, dentistry students can then specialize. These specialized areas include pediatric dentistry, dental prosthetics, dental radiography, and radiology.

While dentists represent the top line in that they have the most advanced academic qualifications, for those interested in working in the dental industry without a dentistry degree, the best option is to work as a dental assistant. The licensing arrangements regarding dental assistants differ from state to state. For example, the training to be a dental assistant can comprise ten weeks of practical training courses in Michigan. In New York, Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) certification is required.

Dentists, like physicians, are highly qualified professionals; they are literally tooth doctors. They are essential as any healthcare professional. People should consider going to their bi-yearly dental visits to maintain their oral hygiene. Dental health is as important as any part of a person’s well-being.

Dentistry has come a long way over the years as an industry. Today’s dentists are highly qualified professionals in the practice of dental procedures and the use of specialized dental equipment. Dentistry, although highly specialized, is also a growing industry that offers its practitioners numerous and advantageous career opportunities.

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