Jobs in Dentistry
A lot of people are scared of going to the dentist, but others find their time in the dentist’s office so enjoyable that they decide to make a career of it. A dentist is the physician who treats and diagnoses problems found in a patient’s teeth and mouth tissues.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Dentist
Most dentists work in a clinic or private practice, treating patients primarily via appointment. Like general practitioners or family doctors who work in a practice or clinic setting, those physicians in the dental profession are likely to have fairly regular hours. A dentist’s average day seeing patients may include filling cavities, one of the most frequent jobs of a dentist, fixing chipped teeth, fitting a tooth implant, or removing a patient’s wisdom teeth.
General Requirements and Training
To become a dentist, you must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and graduate from an accredited dental school, a process that usually takes three to four years. Before dental school, at least two years of college are required. Applications to dental school are extremely competitive and most dental school applicants have a four-year undergraduate degree. After he has completed his training, a dentist must pass a written and practical exam in order to become licensed to practice.
After completing the basic scholastic requirements, a dentist can practice general dentistry or go on with his or her education to learn a specialty, which will require anywhere from two to six additional years of training. Specialists within the field of dentistry include orthodontists (who work with braces) and denturists (who work primarily with dentures).
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of dentists was $142,870, as of May 2008. Salary.com estimates the mid-50% earnings range of dentists to be $116,853 to $161,684.
According to Payscale.com, a dentist with one to four years of experience earns $84,498 to $124,407, while a dentist with twenty-plus years of experience can expect $100,868 to $187,113.