If we’re going to discuss about career opportunities in dentistry, our first item of course will be the general practitioner or the dentist. Your work as a general practitioner mainly involves the following:
- The removal of dental caries or decay from the teeth and filling up of the cavities;
- Tooth extraction which includes the administration of anesthetics
- Application of teeth sealants
- Treatment of gum diseases by performing gum and bone surgery which includes examination of x-ray results
- Take teeth impressions used as model for dentures to replace the extracted teeth
- Straighten teeth through prescription braces
- Prescribe medication when and where necessary.
However as a general practitioner, you have to specialize in any of the dental specialty education recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA) before you can perform other more complex dental services; and of course to earn higher dental income. One of the most common of this specialization is the orthodontist, considered as the highest paid of all dentists.
What is an Orthodontist?
This is the general practitioner who furthered his studies in dentistry and became a specialist in correcting or preventing misaligned teeth and jaws. The term misaligned includes cross bites, open bites, over and under bites and many more. The orthodontist makes a diagnosis for the treatment by taking an x-ray and taking a mold of the patient’s bite to determine the specific alignment of their teeth.
In high society places, the orthodontist is more commonly known as the cosmetic dental surgeon. They can be so highly in demand if the outcome of their dental works turns out fine since they will be endorsed among other members of the society which includes celebrities and movie stars. Hence they earn the prestige of being the highest paid in the dentistry profession.
Educational Requirements for Dentists
There are about 56 dental schools in the U.S. accredited by the American Dental Association where one can attend to become a dentist. To become accepted in any of these schools you should have at least two years of pre-dental education aside from a Bachelor’s degree in any science related subjects. However, you still have to pass the Dental Admission Test required by all dental schools as a pre-requisite for admission. Prior to being recognized as a dental graduate, all future dentists are required to achieve a certain degree of skill in various training or drill in order to graduate and become an accredited dentist.
After finishing the dentistry course, you still have to pass the licensure exam of a particular state in which you will practice your dentistry profession. Each state has its own licensing agency hence the written and practical exam will differ from state to state. Once you pass, you will become qualified to take and pass the National Board Dental Examinations as the final completion of your state licensing requirement. Passing all these licensure exams will now elevate you to the status of being a Licensed Dental Practitioner.
Job Outlook for Dentists:
US statistics show that out of the 161,000 dentists in 2006, a majority of them are general practitioners. The rest which was estimated to be 20% are engaged in the nine ADA recognized dental specialties. The 2007 salary survey showed that a salaried dentist earned a median annual salary of $137,630 or an equivalent hourly rate of $66.17. Dentists who are self-employed are recognized as having higher earning capacity.
Why Choose Dentistry as a Profession?
The dentistry profession is one of those careers that can afford to give the professional a balanced lifestyle. A dentist can be his own boss, set his own time schedule and maintain his own hours to provide a balance between professional and personal life. As studies have it a large number of practicing dentists today are expected to retire within the next 20 years thus the need for new dentists will be created.
If you’re a parent and you wish your son or daughter to have a well-paying and prestigious career in the future, you can orient your kids this early to aim for the dentistry profession when they grow up.