Being a dentist can be an exciting and rewarding career. If you think you might like to become a dentist, the following tips will provide you with information about preparing for an education in dentistry.
Find out more about dentists by volunteering in a dental office and learn some of the aspects involved in being a dentist as well as different dental procedures performed by a dentist.
If you are still in high school, math and science are important subjects to focus on. It would also be helpful to enroll in college prep classes. Chemistry, liberal arts, biology and algebra are college prep classes that would be helpful to you.
In college, you don’t have to major in science, however, you must complete the pre-dental science requirements in the United States. Recommended college courses are biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, physics and general biology.
In the United States, an undergraduate degree is recommended before dental school. The majority of students in dental school have had 4 years of college.
Find out about different dental schools and the requirements for admission of each. Most dental schools will offer you valuable information about what you should do to prepare for a career as a dentist.
Links to schools in the US and other countries are here at the main site:
A Day in a Dentist's Life:
On a typical day a dentist may:
remove decay from teeth and fill cavities;
apply sealants to teeth;
treat gum disease by performing surgery on gums and supporting bones;
take impressions of teeth in order to make models that will be used to make dentures to replace missing teeth;
Here are some duties performed by dentists who work in the nine specialties:
Orthodontists straighten teeth using devices that apply pressure, i.e., braces and retainers.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth and jaws.
Pediatric dentists treat children.
Periodontists treat gums and the bone supporting the teeth.
Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with dentures, bridges and crowns.
Endodontists perform root canal therapy.
Public health dentists work within communities to promote good dental health.
Oral pathologists study oral diseases.
Oral and maxillofacial radiologists use imaging technologies to diagnose diseases in the head and neck.
Educational Requirements for Dentists:
To become a dentist one must attend a dental school that is accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). To be accepted into one of the 56 (as of 2004) dental schools in the U.S., one must complete at least two years of predental education. Most dental school applicants have a bachelor's degree. All dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). There is a great deal of competition for admission to dental school.
Other Requirements for Dentists:
After graduating from dental school, one must be licensed by the state in which he or she wants to practice. Individual states or licensing agencies administer written and practical exams which dental school graduates must take in order to become licensed. Candidates may take (and pass) the National Board Dental Examinations to fulfill the written part of the state licensing requirement.
Earnings of Dentists:
Salaried dentists earned a median annual salary of $129,920 in 2004. Many dentists, however are self employed, and earn considerable higher salaries.
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