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Dental Careers - Dentistry Education

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Dental Careers - Dentistry EducationDentistry: Dentistry involves the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the mouth, teeth, gums, neck and jaws. People who practice Dentistry are called Dentists. The health care provided by Dentists contributes to the general health of the patient, and Dentistry Professionals can be vital in the early detection of disease such as systemic conditions and cancer.

Today Dentists are highly skilled in new technologies such as cosmetic procedures and dental implants which make Dentistry a highly challenging and rewarding career. There are several other professionals who aid in oral health and work closely with Dentists allowing dentists to focus on the more complex tasks. These professionals include: Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists and Dental Technicians.

Types of Dentist: Dentists may practice in a variety of environments including, hospitals, outpatient clinics, Dentists Offices, Schools etc. Dentists who work for their own private practice must also carry out a number of administrative tasks and supervise Dental Assistants, Dental Therapists and Receptionists.

The nine types of specialist dentists are:

  • Endodontists. Specialize in root canal treatments.
  • Maxillofacial Radiologists. Use imaging technology to diagnose disease in the head and neck.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Operate on the jaws and mouth.
  • Oral Pathologists. Study and diagnose oral disease.
  • Orthodontists. Straighten teeth with braces and retainers.
  • Pediatric Dentists. Specialize in working with children's teeth.
  • Periodontists. Specialize in gum disease.
  • Prosthodontists. Replace missing teeth with bridges, crowns or dentures.
  • Public Health Dentists. Work to promote preventative dentistry in the community.

Dentistry Education: Dentist. To become a Dentist you need to pass an accredited degree program in Dentistry and obtain a license from the state in which you wish to practice. The American Dental Association's (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation provides accreditation to schools that meet its strict requirements.

Many dental programs require that students have a minimum of 2 years in college before admittance. Many dental students have a bachelor's degree before entering into a dental school. All dental schools require applicants to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Dental school programs usually last 4 years.

Subjects studied include: anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, and physiology. During the last 2 years, students work with patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Graduates from dental school are awarded with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Other Dental Careers:

Dental Assistant: A Dental Assistant performs patient care duties under the supervision of a dentist. Dental Assistants can also perform administrative and laboratory tasks. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) within the American Dental Association (ADA) is the accreditation body for Dental Assistant Programs. Programs cover subjects such as dental assisting skills and theory, preclinical instruction and also consist of supervised clinical practice.

Most Programs are 1 year in duration, where successful students graduate with a certificate or diploma. Some Community and Junior Colleges offer 2 year programs where students will graduate with an associate degree. Having a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for enrolling in a Dental Assistant program.

Dental Hygienist:
A Dental Hygienist is licensed to perform clinical tasks in a Dental Clinic. Many dental practices only hire a dental hygienist to work one or two days per week. Over one half of dental hygienists in the U.S. work part time which makes this a flexible career for many. Other Hygienists choose to work in more than one dental office to make up a full working week.

To become a qualified dental hygienist you must complete a degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited school. You must them complete the licensure requirements of the state in which you wish to work. Having your high school diploma is a prerequisite for enrolling in a Dental Hygiene program. If you are interested in a career as a dental hygienist you should take high school courses in chemistry, biology and mathematics. The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) provides accreditation for suitable Dental Hygiene Programs.

Typical subjects studied in a Dental Hygiene program include: physiology, anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, nutrition, histology (tissue structure), radiography, periodontology (gum disease), dental materials, pathology, clinical dental hygiene, and social and behavioral sciences.

Dental Technician: A Dental Technician or Dental Laboratory Technician manufactures crowns, bridges and dentures for a Dentist. The Dental Technician receives an image or mould of the patients mouth and bases the fixture on this. To become a fully qualified dental technician takes 3 to 4 years in college. Programs are available through Vocational, Technical, Community and Junior colleges.

Find a Health Education School: Use the red search box in the menu above, to find health / dentist schools and colleges in your area that offer dental education programs.

Below is a list of some of the various types of health career fields:

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