How to Become a Dentist: What You Need to Know

vergis-eva-author.jpg  Freelance content writer and blogger.

  WWS contributor


There are some important things you should know about dentists' training and practice.


Have you ever wondered about what it takes to become a dentist? These professionals help people from all backgrounds with dental healthcare and tend to earn a very good living in the process.

Sounds good so far?

It is important, however, to understand that becoming a dentist is a very time-consuming process. It requires your full commitment to become a fully trained and qualified dentist able to competently diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth.

These professionals spend years training as dentists before practicing. For example, dentists will typically go through four years in an undergraduate program, followed by another one, two, or more years of postgraduate dental training and supervised practice.

Completing this rigorous training process comprising of years of schooling, exams, and training enables them to practice dentistry at the highest professional level.

The rewards of working and studying hard in this field can truly pay off.


A Rewarding Career


According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of dentists is projected to grow 3% from 2019 to 2029, with the median annual wage for dentists being $164,010 in 2020.

Because dentists are so essential to the function of society, they tend to have very strong job security and are always in demand. Per the BLS, the demand for dental services will actually increase as the population ages and as research continues to link oral health to overall health.

The education path to become a dentist can be fulfilled in a number of ways. Some will complete a bachelor's degree in a related subject before applying to a doctoral program in dentistry. However, the typical level of education you need to enter this occupation is professional or doctoral degree. Someone holding a doctorate in dentistry is usually referred to as a DMD and will hold the title of "doctor."

Some dentists have their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff , while others have partners in their practice. Still other dentists work as associate dentists for established dental practices.


Finding a Vocation


Some people discover a vocation for dentistry when they are still very young or in high school. These persons often complete a dual bachelor-doctorate degree program that allows them to finish a bachelor's degree and doctoral degree within seven years.

To prepare for dental school, many students will tend to study a subject that will prepare them for a scientific career as undergraduates, such as biology, physics, or chemistry.

While subjects such as biology, physics, or chemistry tend to be very rigorous, studying these subjects will help would-be dentists prepare for the hard work required in dental school and in the practice of dentistry.


Importance of Work Experience


During undergraduate studies, many learners and future dentists will "shadow" a local practicing dentist to see what the work of being a dentist is like. They will also probably devote time outside of their undergraduate studies to prepare for the dental and medical school admissions exam.

To gain admission into a good doctoral program, students will need to achieve good grades and complete a Medical School Admissions Test with a satisfactory score. This may sound like an intimidating process, but hard work really helps to determine a person's final score on this test.

Study hard and be prepared; while the also embracing the right approach and attitude and you will do great!


Making the Cut


After completing a rigorous doctorate program in dentistry, would-be dentists will usually need to register with a countrywide dental board. This board of dental professionals is tasked with ensuring that high professional standards for dentists are maintained throughout.

To continue practicing dentistry, professionals will often be required to have their certification renewed each year. To do so, these professionals are required to complete at least 60 hours of continuing education between each renewal of their certification.


Helping Patients in Big Ways


This rigorous training and qualification process ensures dentists are well equipped to do the best job that they can for their patients. But it also helps the general public to know that dentists are up to the task and up-to-date on the latest developments within the field of dentistry. It builds confidence that qualified dentists are capable of handling even the most complex issues that patients may have.

Public confidence in medical and dental professionals is very important. This is why dentists must learn so vigorously over the course of their careers. For this reason, a good work ethic will definitely be an asset and an important component of any aspiring dentist's career.


Beyond Dental School


After graduating from dental school and gaining certification within their field, dentists will begin the task of looking for employment. Fortunately, employment prospects are very good for dental professionals. It might take a bit of searching, but most newly minted dentists tend to find employment fairly quickly after graduation.

Still other dental school graduates opt to start their own dental practices. These dentists take on the risks of business ownership; they will be responsible for keeping everything in their office up to date and running smoothly. However, they will also more likely reap the most benefits of owning your own business – they can set their own hours and salary, while also being their own boss!


Summing Up


When considering a career in dentistry, it is always advisable to ask local dental professionals about their experiences and training within the field before taking your first steps toward this deeply meaningful career. These professionals will advise accordingly on different aspects of the practice, from grades you need to succeed to the amount of work you'll have to do to stay competitive.

Above all else, enjoy your training and practice! As s dentist, you will earn very well, ease many patient’s pain, and fill society with more happier people with beautiful smiles. In the professional world, that’s truly worthwhile.

Vergis Eva is a freelance content writer and blogger who has written articles for several renowned blogs and websites covering various topics, including about dentists in Indooroopilly.