My Career Path: Dentistry

Dentistry “is a branch of medicine which deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the teeth, gums, and mouth” (“Dentistry”, para.1). The profession is highly regarded to be of the essence in the sustenance of the overall good health of individuals. Dentists or dental practitioners are the ones who practice dentistry and they usually receive assistance from dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, or dental therapists; thus, they normally work together as a team to meet the needs of their patients. Dentistry is a career path that has attracted people from different backgrounds.

For one to become a dentist, one needs to have attained the basic requirement of at least eight years of education after completing high school, and after graduating from a dental school, one needs to get a license to enter into general practice or choose to proceed further with another two to six years of additional learning for specializing. Someone interested in pursuing a career in dentistry has to finish a Bachelor of Science degree, which often follows a pre-dental or pre-medical track and pays more attention to science subjects such as chemistry and biology. After the four-year program, the individual is required to get a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from a credited dental institution, which also takes four years. The American Dental Association requires that for one to be admitted to a dental school, he or she must have prior coursework in the science subjects. Usually, after graduating from dental school, the majority of dentists prefer to enter into general practice for some time before deciding to specialize in one of the branches in dentistry.

Dentists’ salaries have increased significantly, making the profession to be one of the best-paying career paths for several individuals. Upon graduating from dental school, dentists expect to earn an annual income of about $64,000. However, this usually increases depending on one’s experience and the type of dentistry one is involved in. According to Education-portal, the average annual salary for dentists, in general, is $123,000, dentists, all other specialists, is $150,000, dental assistants is $35,000, and dental hygienists is $60,000 (last section). In general, those who have specialized in one of the areas of dentistry earn more than their counterparts do. Nonetheless, it is important to note that several dentists are usually self-employed. Thus, the amount of their salary depends on the number, and categories, of patients they attend to.

Within dentistry, there are several optional career choices that one can pursue and are recognized by the American Dental Association. These are “general dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, and endodontics” (American Association of Dental Examiners, 46). Orthodontics treat unattractive crooked teeth or poorly aligned teeth, oral surgery deals with the surgical procedures of teeth problems, periodontics deal with the problems related to the gums and the structures around the teeth, and prosthodontics use structures such as dentures and bridges to restore the normal teeth functions. In addition, oral pathology diagnoses the ailments that affect the oral and maxillofacial tissues, pediatric dentistry specializes in the treatment of dental problems of children, and endodontics concentrates on root canal therapy on teeth whereby the malfunctioned pulp is removed. Thus, a person desiring to venture into this profession must be ready to work together with other specialists in the field and possess the ability to perform thorough intricate work constantly.

Works Cited

American Association of Dental Examiners. Composite. Chicago, IL.: The Association, 1989-. Print.

“Dentistry.” Wearedentistry.com. We Are Dentistry, 2010. Web.

Education-Portal. “Dentist Education Requirements and Career Information.” Education-Portal.com. 2011. Web.