Is becoming a dentist right for me?

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What do dentists do?
Career Satisfaction
Are dentists happy with their careers?
What are dentists like?

Still unsure if becoming a dentist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a dentist or another similar career!

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How to become a Dentist

Becoming a dentist is a rigorous process that requires a significant amount of education and training. Here is a detailed description of the steps required to become a dentist:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree: The first step to becoming a dentist is to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. There is no specific major required for dental school admission, but most dental schools prefer applicants who have completed a degree in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry.
  • Take the Dental Admission Test (DAT): Before applying to dental school, students must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT is a standardized test that measures a student's knowledge and skills in areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, and reading comprehension.
  • Complete a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) program: After completing a bachelor's degree and the DAT, students must apply to and complete a four-year dental program at an accredited dental school. During the dental program, students will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the head and neck, oral health, and the diagnosis and treatment of oral health conditions. They will also receive hands-on clinical training, working with patients under the supervision of licensed dentists.
  • Pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE): After completing dental school, students must pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE), which is a comprehensive exam that assesses a student's knowledge and skills in various areas of dentistry.
  • Obtain a dental license: To practice dentistry, students must obtain a license from the state in which they plan to work. Licensure requirements vary by state, but typically involve passing a state-specific exam and meeting other requirements, such as completing continuing education courses.
  • Complete a residency program (optional): Some dentists choose to complete a residency program after dental school, which provides additional training in a specific area of dentistry, such as oral surgery, orthodontics, or periodontics.

Continuing Education and Certifications
Continuing education and certifications are essential for dentists to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in dental technology and techniques, and to maintain their license to practice dentistry. Here are some of the common continuing education and certification options available to dentists:

  • Continuing Education (CE) Courses: CE courses are available online, in-person, or through conferences, and cover a wide range of topics related to dentistry, including new technologies, procedures, and best practices. Many state dental boards require dentists to complete a certain number of CE hours every year to maintain their license.
  • Specialization Certifications: Dentists can choose to specialize in a specific area of dentistry, such as orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, or oral surgery. To become a certified specialist, dentists must complete additional education and training beyond dental school, and pass a specialty certification exam.
  • CPR Certification: Dentists must maintain a current certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to respond to medical emergencies that may occur in the dental office.
  • Sedation Certification: Dentists who provide sedation to patients during dental procedures must obtain certification in sedation techniques and management to ensure the safety of their patients.
  • Implant Certification: Dentists who place dental implants must obtain certification in implant placement to ensure the success and longevity of the implant.