Health care providers offer a wide range of services, but those with interest in dental care, addressing dental and oral health problems specialize in dentistry and hoping to get employment at a dental practice. Dentistry is a sensitive filed and therefore those practicing needs to be highly trained to handle both mild and severe dental problems and have a deep understanding of the entire mouth anatomy, including lips, gums, jaws, and teeth.
Building a career as a dentist is a lucrative opportunity compared to many kinds of health care providers. In fact, in 2018 the average salary of a dentist in the U.S. was $156,240 with some specialists such as oral and maxillofacial surgery and orthodontists earning upward of $208,000 annually; This is a statistics by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, when it comes to enrolling in dental school, it’s often not that simple. The cut-off points are so high and since the field requires a high level of training, sometimes not many students manage to get through.
There are 66 accredited dental schools in the U.S. Consider that all these dental school clinics are different when it comes to admission requirements and criteria for admitting applicants, it’ll be important to understand what each institution wants to help you choose the right one and improve your chances of being accepted.
Skills Dentists Need to Develop for a Successful Business or Career
Hands-on dental training is critical to building a successful dentist career. Dental schools exposes students to the real-world experience of dental care, and bringing them up to speed with the current technology in dentistry. Professionalism in this field is key and aspiring health care providers need to conduct themselves in a more emphatic and compassionate to patients.
This is particularly essential if you’ll be looking to run your own practice whereby you’ll be more than just the owner and dentist, but also a business manager who looks to market a dental firm. In addition to offering oral health care, dentists also offer health education and therapy to patients with a range of mouth and dental-related issues.
Understanding the Different Types of Dental Degrees
You have array of specialization possibilities when it comes to pursuing a career in dentistry from a graduate degree in both general and specialized dentistry. But the two main types of dental degrees are essentially the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and the Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD); the difference is only the name, otherwise, they all perform the same functions.
The two types of dental degrees usher you into the fundamentals of general dentistry whereby you’ll get to learn the whole dental anatomy, oral cavity, and nutrition. Here you’ll explore more about oral diseases, prevention, dental procedures, and overall dental healthcare. You’ll be briefly introduced to more specialized dentistry which will help you develop interest in particular dental care. Some of these dental healthcare specializations include:
These are dentists for kids and in addition to their DDS or DDM degree, they are also accredited with a certificate or a master’s degree in pediatric dentistry. The course and training are designed to help children with different dental conditions.
Oral and Maxillofacial Specialist
When it comes to surgery of the mouth, jaws and teeth, an oral or maxillofacial surgeon is the type of dentists to go to. Depending on the diagnosis made by your primary dentist, you might be recommended to this type of dental surgeon for specialized surgery, although they also perform other general dental surgeries. For you to become one, however, earning a certificate or master’s degree in this specialty is a prerequisite. You’ll know the types of oral diseases and the best way mode of treatment, either medication or surgery depending on specific patient’s conditions. This specialty also offers you the opportunity to specialize further into the pathology or radiology side of it.
An orthodontist specializes in treating a range of tooth disorders including cracked teeth, impacted and chipped teeth. You’ll be equipped with skills of fixing teeth misalignment using special devices or surgery.
Other specialized dentistry include, periodontics, prosthodontics and endodontics which focus on treating jaw and gum diseases, replacing missing teeth and performing root canal.