What Do Dentists Do

Dentists are trained medical professionals who deal with problems relating to a patient’s teeth, gums and other parts of the mouth. They provide medical advice and instructions on oral health and the diet choices which affect it.

Following is a list of the typical duties of a dentist:

  • Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
  • Repair or remove damaged teeth
  • Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
  • Administer anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
  • Prescribe antibiotics or other medications
  • Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures
  • Teach patients about diets, flossing, the use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care

Types of Dentists

Most Dentists are general medical professionals who deal with problems relating to a patient’s teeth, gums and other parts of the mouth. They provide medical advice and instructions on oral health and the diet choices which affect it.

However there are list of the typical duties of a dentist:

  • Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
  • Repair or remove damaged teeth
  • Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
  • Administer anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
  • Prescribe antibiotics or other medications
  • Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures
  • Teach patients about diets, flossing, the use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care

To perform their routine tasks, Dentists use different kinds of equipment, including x-ray machines, mouth mirrors, drills, brushes, scalpels and probes. They also use digital scanners, lasers and other advanced technologies and equipment.

Requirements to Become a Dentist in the US

The requirements to become a dentist in the US are three-fold:

  1. Education
  2. You will need at least a 4-year long DDS or a DMD to enter this field, after completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute.

  1. Training
  2. If you have chosen to specialize in a particular field of dentistry, you will be required to complete additional training before you can begin practicing in that field. This would typically be a 2 to 4 year long residency in an accredited program for the specific specialty. At the end of this training, you will typically receive a certificate or a master’s degree. General dentists do not need to get this training after completing dental schools. Specializations for dentists are discussed in this article later on.

  1. Licensing
  2. This is a mandatory requirement for those who want to practice dentistry in any state of the US. To be licensed, candidates will have to pass the written National Board of Dental Exam, along with a state or regional exam. Dentists who want to practice in a particular area of the field will require a license in that specialty.

How to Become a Dentist in the US

If you are considering getting into this field, the following information on steps to become a dentist would be of use to you.

  1. Education
  2. You will need at least a 4-year long DDS or a DMD to enter this field, after completing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institute.

  1. Training
  2. If you have chosen to specialize in a particular field of dentistry, you will be required to complete additional training before you can begin practicing in that field. This would typically be a 2 to 4 year long residency in an accredited program for the specific specialty. At the end of this training, you will typically receive a certificate or a master’s degree. General dentists do not need to get this training after completing dental schools. Specializations for dentists are discussed in this article later on.

  1. Licensing
  2. This is a mandatory requirement for those who want to practice dentistry in any state of the US. To be licensed, candidates will have to pass the written National Board of Dental Exam, along with a state or regional exam. Dentists who want to practice in a particular area of the field will require a license in that specialty.

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  • Legal Support Workers
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  • Total , all Occupations
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Job Title2015 Median Annual IncomeJob Growth
Police Officer$74,95011%
Police Officer$74,95011%
Police Officer$74,95011%
Police Officer$74,95011%

How Much Can I Make as a Dentist in the US?

As per 2018 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dentists earned $156,240 per year, and $75.12 per hour as median income. The lowest ten percent in the field earned less than $72,840 and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000. The highest paying industry for dentists was offices of dentists, paying $161,610 in median salaries, followed by outpatient care centers that paid $146,530.

Dentists working as oral and maxillofacial surgeons earned $208,000 or more, as did orthodontists.

Job Outlook for Dentists in the US

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the growth in the field of dentistry at 7%, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This demand is driven by the aging population.