If you’re not totally sold on what you want your career to be, or you’re thinking about switching professions, you may want to consider why you should become a dentist. Though going to dental school will take time and resources, it could be one of the best decisions you make.
Certainly, the jokes always abound about people disliking dentists. However, dentists are getting more respect than ever. Plus, dentists have advanced tools and technologies to help make their services more comfortable and, in some cases, completely pain-free.
What are the other benefits of becoming a dentist? First of all, you’ll get to stay on top of the latest trends in dental care. Secondly, you’ll help people feel and look better day after day. Finally, if you decide to open your own practice eventually, you’ll be able to employ other dental professionals and serve your community.
Partially convinced that it might be a good thought to at least investigate the possibility of dental training? To read more about why you should become a dentist, continue through this article. You’ll find six remarkable reasons why dentistry might be the career you never realized you needed. Oh, and be prepared to be inspired along the way!
You Could Teach People About Dental Hygiene
Do you take your oral healthcare seriously? Unfortunately, many kids and adults don’t. Some weren’t told how to brush and floss properly growing up. Others had parents who didn’t make dental appointments a priority. Therefore, one of the reasons why you should become a dentist is that you can play the role of an educator.
Make no mistake: Teaching others about something as simple as gum disease treatment can literally save lives. Gum disease is an infection that will eventually destroy gum, teeth, and the jawbone unless it’s stopped. And the way to cure or manage gum disease is by getting diagnosed by a dentist. Treating gum disease isn’t something that can be done entirely at home, no matter what people might read on the Internet. But the disease has been linked to everything from some cancers to strokes. That’s why you could help someone protect their long-term health just by noticing signs of gum disease and assisting them in minimizing its effects.
In addition to talking about general and preventive care with patients, you can also work with them to understand how to keep their mouth sanitized when they have restorative prosthetics like dental implants, dentures, and dental bridges. It’s surprising that so many people who’ve paid quite a bit of money for restorative treatments don’t know how to keep their restorations functioning year after year.
If you’ve always wished you could play the role of a coach, teacher, and champion, you’ll love being a dentist. In fact, it might be one of the most compelling arguments why you should become a dentist. Sure, you can still coach your kid’s soccer games, too. But nothing beats being able to be a coach at work as well as at play.
You Can Help Individuals Feel Good and Smile Again
A smile says so much and means so much. What happens, though, when you feel like your smile is inadequate? Far too many teens and adults literally stop smiling and frequently report a correlating loss of confidence. It’s sad. Yet it’s also something that you could help patients avoid by showing them treatments to boost their smiles.
For instance, teeth whitening has become a wildly popular way to enhance a smile in just an hour. Though consumers may be wooed by over-the-counter tooth whitening products, those products are no match for the whitening solutions available to dentists. Professional teeth whitening relies on high-quality, very safe bleach that may be able to wipe away years of yellow and dark staining. This, in turn, makes patients feel like they can smile wide for the camera again.
Another way to improve smiles as a dentist is by referring patients to orthodontics to get braces. Today, braces aren’t just metal anymore. Clear braces that work with aligner trays have risen as a proven alternative to having a “mouth full of metal.” Both kids and adults appreciate being able to get straighter smiles without brackets. Additionally, newer types of braces can be about the same price as bracketed braces, which consumers like to hear.
Want other ways to revitalize smiles? One reason why you should become a dentist is that you’ll get to play around with cosmetic treatments like the placement of porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are extremely thin slivers of porcelain that are professionally bonded to the front of the teeth. They basically cover the teeth and help correct or minimize flaws. Of course, to pick the right shades of porcelain veneers, you’ll need a bit of an artist’s flair. Matching up veneer colors with a patient’s natural teeth can be fun and rewarding!
What happens if you get a patient with a lot of smile problems, such as missing teeth, crooked teeth, gum recession, and gum disease? You could end up performing what’s sometimes referred to as a “smile makeover.” These types of individualized treatments are custom created for the patient. And patients adore the way they look when everything’s finished.
You Could Work Exclusively With Children
Do you love to hang out with youngsters? As a medical professional, you’ll be able to not only be around kids and offer your pediatric dentistry services, but you’ll be able to have a direct impact on your littlest patients’ dental health for life.
Being a pediatric dentist doesn’t mean you’ll just work with toddlers and kindergarteners, though. You could end up working with kids until they go to college. Or you might even want to start a family dentistry practice specializing in pediatric dentistry.
It’s worth noting that plenty of pediatric dentists focus at least part of their career on working with special needs kids and adults. If you have always been able to give, give, and give some more, those qualities might be reasons why you should become a dentist who concentrates on kids with disabilities and other health concerns.
Imagine how proud you would be if one of your young patients told the rest of her first-grade class that her dentist told her that she should brush twice daily, just like the American Dental Association says!
You Could Specialize Further
In terms of why you should become a dentist, you should definitely think about potentially taking your career to the next level through specialization. Dentists need to undergo basic schooling, but lots of them decide that they want to hone in on an aspect of dentistry that excites and challenges them.
As an example, you might be driven to go on and become an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons, as their name suggests, perform surgeries, most often including wisdom teeth removal and the removal of other teeth. They may also end up working on anything from jaw surgery for patients with TMJ disorder to throat surgery for people with sleep apnea.
Now, you’ll have to think long and hard about the type of specialty that you think will work for you. Not every dentist is well-suited to handle all specialties. Let’s say, for instance, that you don’t really have a fascination with the movement of teeth. Would becoming a specialist in orthodontics really engage you intellectually? Probably not. At the same time, you might want to add a specialty to your practice to encourage different populations to come for consultations.
One of the biggest benefits of specializing, and a reason why you should become a dentist for those seeking a comfortable lifestyle, is that you might be able to command a larger salary than if you remained a general dentist. Though money isn’t everything, it can be a huge motivator. Sure, you’ll have dental school loans to pay off first. But once you’re established in your career and have built a reputation for excellence, you’ll be able to enjoy a lucrative paycheck.
You Could Work for a Nonprofit
Of course, you don’t have to be lured by a tidy salary. Some dentists aren’t. They’d prefer to work for a nonprofit full-time or at least part of the time. To them, running something like a nonprofit dental clinic is more of a reason why you should become a dentist than being able to drive a new car, buy a big house, or go on expensive vacations.
Take one Southern California dentist as a great example of how a nonprofit can make a serious dent in inadequate dental treatment. He started a nonprofit many years ago in his community to help veterans and those without access to dental care. His organization, called Homeless Not Toothless, has assisted tens of thousands of individuals in avoiding the debilitating loss of their smiles. Plus, none of them have had to pay a dime.
How much time does this full-time dentist devote to the cause that’s become his passion? By all accounts, he spends multiple hours each week working on the mouths of people who can never hope to repay him financially. Yet he doesn’t care. If you asked him why you should become a dentist, he may say so you can do something good for humankind. And by all accounts, he’s done more than his fair share.
To be sure, he has some rules. He won’t accept someone for general cleaning, let alone something more involved, like a consultation for a tooth replacement solution such as dentures, unless they are sober and leading a drug-free lifestyle. This “carrot” helps encourage the homeless in his community who want to better themselves to clean up, get the dental care they need, and finally get back into the workforce.
Here’s the real beauty of Homeless Not Toothless: It’s spurring other professionals to follow suit. Who knows? You might be one of the countless other dentists who does something similar so you can give back and provide happy and healthy smiles.
You Can Manage Your Own Business
While you don’t have to start out by opening your own dental office, you may want to in the future. Many dental practitioners first learn under a more seasoned dentist’s wing. Then, they take what they know and hang out their own shingle a few years down the road.
Being an entrepreneur takes a certain amount of fortitude, it’s true. Yet it can be quite rewarding to know that you’re in control of every aspect of your dental practice. From designing the interior of your office to make everyone comfortable, to figuring out the services you’ll offer, you can have a hand in each element of successfully founding a company.
Should you take business classes in advance of going to dental school? Honestly, if you’re already in college and you’re wondering why you should become a dentist on the business end, you might want to at least take a few business ownership workshops. Getting a little knowledge ahead of time on everything from reading a financial spreadsheet to constructing a business plan will be extremely helpful. Even if you don’t end up managing your own dental practice, you’ll never feel like learning more about corporate ventures was a waste.
How to Get Started on Becoming a Dentist
Intrigued about why you should become a dentist? Your best bet is to start gathering more information. Go on websites and find out what dental schools are looking for in terms of new candidates. Make sure you also see if you can shadow a practicing dentist in your area. You’ll get a much better sense of the day-to-day rhythm of a dentist if you walk through a week side-by-side with one!
When you’re ready to apply to dental schools, be certain to visit your top picks in person, if at all possible. Just like you did for your undergraduate colleges, you’ll want to make sure that the dental schools you apply to will be the right fit for what you need.
So, is dentistry in your future? Only you can decide. But if you say yes, you can be sure it’ll be something to smile about!