What Education Do Dentists Receive? Dentists comprise a vital segment of the healthcare industry, offering basic and advanced dentistry services to one and all. Everybody should maintain good oral care habits and opt for regular check-ups to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Towards this end, dentists should possess the right academic qualifications and be competent enough to offer quality services to one and all.
According to the American Dental Association, the US had about 1,96,000 practicing dentists in 2015. ADA also forecasted that over 26,000 medical graduates were expected to join the profession in the years to come. We, the endodontists of Bryant Park Endodontics always encourage young aspirants interested in pursuing a career as a dentist.
In this blog, we outline the basics responsibilities of a dentist as well as the steps college graduates should take to become a certified dentist.
What are the responsibilities of a dentist?
Dentists shoulder the responsibility of furnishing efficient and safe dental services to young and old patients. As dentists, they specialize in diagnosing the gamut of oral problems and also capable of performing invasive and noninvasive procedures. These medical professionals can opt to specialize in nine distinct specialty or subspecialty areas classified under dentistry. Some of the specialties include ‘dental public health,’ ‘endodontics,’ ‘Pediatric dentistry,’ ‘prosthodontics,’ ‘oral and maxillofacial radiology’, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.’
While the majority of dentists practice independently, a significant proportion works as part of a team comprising of specialists.
Those aspiring to serve society as a dentist will have to earn an undergraduate certification. After that, the candidate will need to complete a dental program of four years duration, and also receive a doctoral degree in dental surgery or dental medicine. Many dentists prefer to specialize in a subspecialty related to dentistry like orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and prosthodontics.
Dentists intending to become a specialist in a specific subspecialty are required to complete a residency program. We inform college and university students that they don’t need to have any particular undergraduate degree to qualify for the 4-year dental course. However, science graduates who’ve completed a major in microbiology, chemistry, anatomy or biology have the edge over graduates.
A dentist must obtain a license before he or she can start practicing in any of the 50 US states. To receive licensure, the candidate has to clear a dental program approved by ‘The Commission of Dental Accreditation.’
Steps aspirants should follow to become a dentist
Earning a bachelor’s degree
Those aspiring to carve a career as a dentist, first have to earn an undergraduate degree in any discipline. Nevertheless, students choosing to major in a science subject such as biology or chemistry or opting for a pre-dentistry course are better suited to fulfill the stipulations. Students should note here that a good GPA score goes a long way in helping them secure admission in a reputed dental school.
Clearing the Dental Acceptance Test with flying colors
All aspirants have to qualify for the ‘Dental Admission Test’ organized and supervised by the American Dental Association. DAT is a computerized and standardized test consisting of 280 questions that candidates have to answer in a five-hour session. The different sections comprise ‘survey of natural sciences,’ organic chemistry, ‘general chemistry,’ ‘biology,’ ‘quantitative reasoning,’ ‘mathematics,’ and perceptual ability test,’ and so on.
Getting a Doctoral Degree for Licensure
Once a candidate clears the DAT exam with flying colors, he or she can apply to different dental schools for pursuing either ‘Doctor of Dental Surgery’ or ‘Doctor of Dental Medicine’ program. Both the courses are nearly similar with regards to syllabus and coursework. It is extremely for a student to select a study program that has the approval of the Commission of Dental Accreditation.
Completing an accredited dental program ensures that budding dentists will receive a license to practice as a medical professional.
Fulfilling Stipulations for Licensure to practice as a dentist
All potential dentists have to secure licensure from the respective state where they intend to set up their practice. The candidates have to clear two separate examinations-one written and another clinical-for obtaining a license. The written examination is monitored by ‘The Joint Commission on National Dental Examination’ while the clinical test is supervised by ‘state dentistry boards.’