Career Detail


Dentist
“We say White is Right !”
Dentists diagnose and treat problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth, along with giving advice and administering care to help prevent future problems.
The Job
They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They remove tooth decay, fill cavities, examine x rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.
Work Environment
Most dentists are solo practitioners, meaning that they own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff.
College Majors
Biology, chemistry, Medicine, Math
Minimum Qualifications
All 50 States and the District of Columbia require dentists to be licensed. To qualify for a license in most States, candidates must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical examinations. All dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT).
Personality traits helpful for this career
Good business sense, self-discipline, and good communication skills are helpful for success in private practice.
Quick Facts
  • Most dentists are solo practitioners.
  • Dentists usually complete at least 8 years of education beyond high school.
  • Average employment growth will generate some job openings, but most openings will result from the need to replace the large number of dentists expected to retire.
  • Job prospects should be good.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of salaried general dentists were $142,870 in May 2008. Earnings vary according to number of years in practice, location, hours worked, and specialty. Self-employed dentists in private practice tend to earn more than salaried dentists.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
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H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
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