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Dentistry is the area of study and practice related to treatment of the mouth and teeth. Individuals in this field will work with patients to maintain proper oral care, provide treatment for infection or cavities, and perform surgery and removal if necessary. Individuals in this field may also provide prescriptions in order to facilitate care.
Education and Schools
Individuals wishing to become dentists must first earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Upon completion, students are asked to take the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT), which must be passed in order to be considered by most dental schools. Once admitted, students will receive an education that may vary in length based on multiple factors, including if a specialty is being pursued and whether or not the dentist wishes to be able to teach. Individuals will earn a doctorate level degree, the name of which will depend on the type of study.
A curriculum will include:
- Local Anesthesiology
- Oral Care
Dental schools can be rated based on the success of their graduates, particularly whether or not the school’s students have high default rates on loans. High default rates mean a lack of successful dentists which can be equated to the education offered. Additionally, programs that offer assistance in residency placement and assistance in licensure examination preparation for a given state are of higher value.
Dentists are always in high demand, and as such job growth is expected to increase greatly over the next decade, particularly as population ages and healthcare becomes more commonplace. Oral health is important in overall health, and as this becomes more commonly accepted, the field is expected to continue its growth trajectory.
The American Dental Association is a professional organization the protects and promotes the interest of dentists who encouraging the maintaining of high standards of care among its dentists.
For additional information on a future in the dentistry field, read our comprehensive career guide on our blog which includes job duties, common treatments, educational requirements, dental specialties, and job outlook information for dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental lab technicians.