What does a dentist do?
Dentists are responsible for diagnosing and treating various ailments of the teeth and gums, and for educating people in order to prevent such ailments. Dentists provide tips on brushing and oral hygiene, and general advice on keeping healthy teeth and gums. They also provide instruction on food and diet as well as other aspects of dental and oral care. The duties of a dentist include removing tooth decay and plaque, treating tooth and gum infections, filling cavities, straightening teeth, repairing damaged teeth and preparing dentures for missing teeth. Dentists can also perform corrective surgery on the gums to treat various diseases. Most dentists establish their own private practices, while a significant number of them work for large hospitals and clinics. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentistry is the second highest earning profession in the country.
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What are the branches of dentistry?
Dentistry is divided into 9 branches:
Orthodontists work on straightening teeth through braces and other devices, maxillofacial surgeons operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth and gums.
- Pediatric dentists focus on treating various ailments in children.
- Periodontists focus on treating the gums and the bones supporting the gums.
- Prosthodontists work with prosthetic devices and replace missing or damaged teeth with dentures and other artificial fixtures
- Endodontists perform root canal therapy.
- Oral pathologists diagnose and treat numerous oral diseases and oral radiologists use x-rays and other technologies to identify abnormalities in the mouth, neck and head.
Dental clinics also employ dental hygienists and assistants who assist the dentist in his day to day functions, and advise patients on proper oral care. In order to start working as a dentist, students must have had education from an accredited school and past licensure requirements.
How do I enroll in a dental college? What programs are offered?
Students can choose for a number of programs offered by a dental college, and choose an area of specialization which appeals to them. Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the school is accredited by the American Dental Association – as of now, almost 60 such schools exist in the United States. The degrees offered include bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in dentistry. To enroll in the 4 year long Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) program at an accredited dental college, applicants must have at least 2 years of pre-dental college level education after high school, preferably in a related field, such as medicine, health administration or biology. However over the past few years the majority of the students enrolling in the BDS programs already have full bachelor’s degrees in a field of science or healthcare. Students must also take a ‘Dental Admissions Test’ or DAT, before they are admitted to college.
What are some of the courses taught in dental colleges?
Students enrolled in a dental college take courses in biochemistry, anatomy, dental morphology, material science, oral pathology, dental clinic practices, orthodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. In addition to these, students learn oral radiology, pediatric dentistry, oral diagnosis, operative dentistry and endodontics. Students are also taught microbiology, immunology, physiology and pharmacology and learn how to treat dental emergencies. For professional dentists who already hold a BDS degree and want to increase their qualifications and specialize in one the branches of dentistry, dental colleges also offer the ‘Doctor of Dental Surgery’ (DDS) degree. Employment prospects for dentists are expected to increase by 16% over the next decade, mainly due to the large number of dentists who will be retiring in the next few years; and the time is ripe for you to enroll in a dental college and acquire a qualification that will greatly improve your lifestyle.