Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     



Some people fear going to the dentist like the plague. Who really wants someone to poke and pick at their teeth? Yet try and think about it from the dentist's point of view. They are employed to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. Dentists are your friends, not your enemies; it is important to remember this.

In the past few decades, dental technology has improved people's teeth so that their teeth last longer and remain healthy into their senior years. With toothpaste, flossing, electric toothbrushes, and regular visits to the dentist, people can now keep their teeth healthy and strong.

Dentists, also called doctors of dental surgery (DDS) or doctors of medical dentistry (DMD), diagnose, treat, prevent and control dental and orofacial disease. Dentists also clean people's teeth and educate them about healthy teeth and gums care and treatment. They fill cavities, scrape off plaque and help treat gum disease. Some dentists specialize in such areas as oral surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral pathology or oral radiology.

Dentists work as the head of a health care team. They usually have a dental hygienist and assistant to help them with patient education and care, and a receptionist to maintain patient records and schedule appointments. Dentists use delicate hand tools and power-driven precision tools. They are required to use safety glasses, masks, gloves, and proper sterilization and disinfection techniques to prevent the transmission of diseases to themselves and their patients. Safety precautions must also be observed to avoid radiation, from x-ray machines.

Dentists advise patients about the care of their teeth and if necessary, refer them to specialists. They diagnose teeth and gums with problems such as cavities, broken teeth, periodontal disease and other forms of disease. They use special tools including mirrors and picks and take x-rays to detect various problems. Their goals are to prevent tooth decay and disease or treat such problems before they get serious.

With better dental hygiene practices, more people are maintaining their teeth longer and they are more concerned with preventing dental problems. Prevention, including proper brushing and flossing, has become very important. The more one brushes and flosses, the less painful one's next visit to the dentist will be.
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Advanced Care Paramedic
arrow Anesthesiologists
arrow Animal Care Worker
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
South University, Online Programs
As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.
Programs Offered:
  • Healthcare Management (BS)



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Dentists must have good health, eyesight, and good finger and manual dexterity. They must have a gentle, delicate touch and a good degree of mechanical aptitude and ability. They require great interpersonal skills, and can communicate with all of their patients, trying to make them feel more comfortable. They also have the ability to understand and handle many different types and ages of people. Successful dentists enjoy doing precise work with tools and equipment, and helping people.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Examine patients' teeth, gums and surrounding tissue to diagnose disease, injury and decay and plan appropriate treatment
  • Help to prevent dental diseases
  • Fill teeth and make other tooth repairs
  • Restore, extract and replace diseased and decayed teeth
  • Perform oral surgery, periodontal surgery and other treatments
  • Clean teeth and instruct patients on oral hygiene
  • Perform corrective work such as straightening teeth
  • Treat diseased gum tissue
  • Design bridgework, fit dentures and provide appliances to correct abnormal positioning of the teeth and jaws, or write fabrication instructions or prescriptions for use by denturists and dental technicians
  • Supervise dental hygienists, dental assistants and other staff
  • Most dentists work eight-hour days during the week, but in order to meet patient time constraints, some may also work weekends and evenings. After hours emergency care is sometimes required; depending on the dentist's specialty area. Dentists perform most of their work sitting down, often in uncomfortable positions. Dentistry may be a high stress occupation due to working with people who are in pain and are often afraid of them.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Most dentists work in private practices or they may be employed in hospitals, clinics, public health facilities or universities. Directly upon graduation, dentists may engage in private practice, however, these days, partnerships with established dental practitioners and group practices are becoming increasingly popular. Better opportunities exist in smaller towns and city centers where the market has yet to be saturated. Some dentists work for governmental health services.

  Long Term Career Potential  
With experience and a growing clientele, dentists may decide to branch out and open up their own practices. Career possibilities outside of dental practice include working as dental educators, researchers, administrators, or sales representatives for dental supply companies. Some may also decide to move into more creative or artistic positions. Many just move into specialty areas, such as cosmetic dentistry, or become surgeons.

  Educational Paths  
Dentist are required to take at least two years of pre-dental university studies, yet in most cases, they receive a bachelor of science degree. The next step is to obtain a degree from a recognized dental program.

Dentists must be licensed to practice dentistry. Contact the regulatory authority in your jurisdiction to obtain detailed information about licensure, registration, and fees.

The Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) measures a person's potential for academic success in dental school. It is usually administered to students who have completed at least two years of university or college-level courses in biology and chemistry. It tests a person's reading ability, knowledge of chemistry and biology, manual skills and ability to understand and interpret three-dimensional drawings.

Tuition for dentistry school is usually quite high, so one should expect to pay quite high rates. Also, dentistry is one of the hardest university programs to enter. Therefore, you should make sure you have extremely high marks in order to even be considered for acceptance.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
South University, Online Programs
As a student at South University, Online Programs, you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.
Programs Offered:
  • Healthcare Management (BS)

Grand Canyon University
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
Programs Offered:
  • M.B.A.: Health Systems Management

Southern California Health Institute
Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Assistant Program

Baker College Online

Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

Programs Offered:
  • Nursing (Post-licensure) - Bachelor

Stratford Career Institute
Earn Your Diploma from Home!
Programs Offered:
  • Fitness & Nutrition

Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Public Health

Colorado State University-Global Campus
CSU Global - Healthcare Admin & Management
Programs Offered:
  • Master - Healthcare Administration and Management
  • BS - Healthcare Administration and Management

Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

Programs Offered:
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner

National Holistic Institute
National Holistic Institute offers the finest massage therapy training programs in the nation. In as little as 8 months, get the skills to be a massage therapist & have a career you've always wanted.
Programs Offered:
  • Massage Therapy/Therapist

American Career College

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.

Programs Offered:
  • Dental Assisting

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2017 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.