Dentists are doctors who perform preventative care and disease treatment on the teeth and gums. Cavities, fillings, extractions, and some oral surgery all fall under the purview of a dentist. There are two degrees that allow a person to become a dentist a DMA, or Doctor of Medical Dentistry, and a DDS, or a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Within these degrees there are a number of specializations that can be chosen, such as an oral pathologist, oral surgeon or an orthodontist, just to name a few. Becoming a dentist requires years of hard work and study, as the doctoral degree conferred upon a dentist is extremely comprehensive. Scottsdale dentist Dr. Manisha Javia recalls becoming a dentist as “very difficult, but ultimately extremely rewarding.” While becoming a dentist may be tough, many people choose this challenging and rewarding career path.
Deciding If Dentistry is Right for You
Before becoming a dentist, a prospective student must first decide if the career of dentistry is right for them. Dentists have enormous work flexibility, and are always in high demand. The work is rewarding for those who want to help people. The money isn’t bad either; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average yearly salary for a dentist is just over $150,000. Before deciding on dentistry though, a person must first evaluate if they possess the necessary skills in order to make it into and through dental school, as well as hold a successful practice. A studious mind and strong desire of book learning is required, as well as a love of things such as biology, chemistry, and other sciences. A person must be willing to help people, and accommodate them as best they can. Without the desire to help others, dentistry is a difficult career to maintain, and those who enter the field just for the money will find themselves wishing they had chosen differently.
Becoming a Dentist
Becoming a dentist involves passing dental school, which usually involves getting an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Most students choose a science, such as biology, as their undergraduate major, since it provides the best foundation for dental school. Students must be sure to maintain a high GPA and achieve a high score on the Dental Admissions Test in order to be accepted into dental school. Because of the high pay and flexibility of a dental career, admittance into dental school is competitive, and only the best students will be accepted. Extracurricular work or volunteering, such as working in a dentist’s office, can help a student get accepted to dental school. Students accepted to a dental school can expect to spend 4 years studying to become a dentist, before graduating and taking several exams to be licensed to be allowed to practice as a dentist.
Dentistry is extremely rewarding, but it is not for everyone. If you think dentistry is right for you, look at dental schools in your area and use their resources to determine exactly what path you should take to be admitted.