While you may already know that dentists help us keep our teeth healthy and strong, there are many other dental professionals and job titles involved in the dental field. If you’re interested in becoming a dental hygienist, dentist, or orthodontist, here’s what you need to know about common jobs in the dental field. Dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental lab technicians, and dental surgeons all work in the dental field with the main goal of keeping people’s teeth healthy and their smiles bright. Although they all do things that are related to dentistry, each position requires different training and certification levels to become employed in that specific field. Here’s what you need to know about the common jobs in the dental field.
Dental professionals are involved in every aspect of your dental health and treatment, from the care you receive from your dentist to the materials used by your hygienist to the dental assistants in the back office. If you’re planning on pursuing a career in dentistry, it can be helpful to know what kinds of jobs are available within the field so that you can determine which roles are right for you. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most common jobs in dentistry.
Common Jobs in the Dental Field
Being a dental assistant is the most common job in the dental field, requiring someone who is highly skilled and knowledgeable about the different practices of dentistry. Dental assistants work closely with dentists and other specialists in the field. They assist by providing support during dental procedures, setting up equipment as needed, making sure instruments are sterilized properly, handling patients’ concerns and questions during procedures, and assisting with insurance forms.
Dental hygienists perform preventative oral care for patients by cleaning teeth and teaching proper oral hygiene habits. Most hygienists must have an associate’s degree from an accredited school; their training focuses on applying knowledge of anatomy and chemistry to oral health issues. Dentists specialize in general or specialty dentistry.
Here Are The 8 Common Dental jobs:
1. General dentistry
General dentists are concerned with all aspects of oral health. These doctors care for teeth and surrounding tissues; diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases; place dental implants, and perform periodontally (gum) treatment. If you want to enter into general dentistry, you’ll need a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from an accredited dental school.
Are you interested in improving people’s smiles and dental health? Would you like to perform cosmetic dentistry for discolored or damaged teeth? Are you looking for an opportunity that allows you to build a lifetime of experience, knowledge, and skills? If so, general dentistry may be your ideal path. General dentists are concerned with all aspects of oral health, including the prevention and treatment of diseases.
Endodontists are oral health specialists who specialize in treating problems with a tooth’s root and pulp. Endodontics can include but are not limited to, root canal therapy and other tooth restoration procedures. If you experience pain in your teeth or notice discoloration (usually of the outside) of one or more teeth, endodontic treatment may be needed. Don’t wait until it’s too late—to see an endodontist now!
Commonly mistaken for a dental specialty, periodontics is actually a sub-specialty of dentistry. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in dental implants and gum disease. Your general dentist can usually refer you to a periodontist for treatment or for more complex procedures like surgery. Common treatments include scaling and root planing, tooth removal, and gingival grafts. To learn more about common treatments, check out our Periodontal Diseases Guidebook.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who specializes in preventing and treating problems with teeth and jaw alignment. This includes removable appliances such as braces, as well as non-removable devices like Invisalign or metal braces (also known as fixed orthodontics). Most people see an orthodontist for cosmetic reasons, but it’s also common for an orthodontist to correct bite issues that cause pain or discomfort. Orthodontists are essentially dentists with additional training after dental school. They must complete four years of undergraduate education, four years of dental school, two to three years of specialty training/residency, and then pass the state licensing exams before becoming certified as an Orthodontist.
5. Pediatric dentistry
A pediatric dentist treats patients with baby teeth and permanent teeth. In a pediatric dentistry practice, dentists may work with other health care professionals to help children improve their dental health and overall well-being. A successful pediatric dentist provides comprehensive services for infants, children, adolescents, and special needs individuals including people with autism or Down syndrome. As a board-certified general dentist, you can begin treating patients as soon as you’ve finished your training program. Here’s what you need to know about common jobs in dentistry as a general dentist
6. Oral surgery
While few might realize it, orthodontists are actually oral surgeons. Their expertise extends well beyond traditional orthodontics—in fact, they perform a variety of procedures, from fixing a broken jawbone or performing wisdom teeth removal to placing dental implants. This means that not only do you need a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), but also an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) residency! Where should you go? Look for a region with high growth potential and ample job opportunities so that your investment will be worth it. Many dentists choose either New York City or San Francisco for their residencies; however, there are many other great locations out there as well.
A prosthodontist is a dentist with a special focus on dental restoration, especially of teeth and mouth. To become a prosthodontist you will need to graduate from an accredited dental school and pass a specialty certification examination. Prosthodontists may offer cosmetic dentistry procedures such as crowns or other restorative treatments including tooth replacement or gum surgery. They might also pursue careers in teaching, research, or clinical practice administration. Typical salaries for prosthodontists are over $150K per year.
8. Emergency dentistry
Dentists who choose to work in emergency rooms usually have previous experience working with patients experiencing dental pain. Some may even hold positions like dentist or orthodontist during normal business hours but will go back on the call at night or on weekends for emergencies. Dentists with specialties like orthodontics or pediatrics are most sought after for emergencies because they are equipped with additional training and knowledge that other dentists lack. How much does an emergency dentist make? According to Dentist Salary, median pay is $177,000 a year, although some reported earning as much as $200,000 per year. Generally speaking, those working directly with patients make more than administrators.
A lot of people have no idea what they want to do with their lives, or how they can get started on their dream career path. The good news is that dental jobs are some of the most common jobs available today—in fact, according to 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, around 498,400 people work as dentists or oral surgeons in one capacity or another.
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So, are you interested in dental careers? If so, there are several things you need to know about getting started. Luckily, we just covered them for you. Now it’s time for you to get out there and find a job that fits your passion and skill set. We hope you found our guide helpful! Good luck!
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