Is Dentistry the Right Career for You? | Dentistry is a highly important healthcare industry, which means it can also be an appealing career option for those with a keen interest in good oral hygiene. As a dentist, you can work to make a key difference in the lives of patients while also developing your own career and working to build your own skills.
What is Dentistry?
Maybe you’ve considered dentistry as a career, but you’re not fully sure what it entails or what your options are. Dentistry is a field of medicine within the healthcare industry that deals with patients’ good oral hygiene practices, teeth maintenance, gum health, and disease prevention. This profession deals with both the study of oral hygiene and the active treatments involved with oral hygiene.
The Role of a Dentist: What Does a Dentist Do?
There are many different roles within dentistry, and all are vital. A dentist may not be able to provide sufficient care or complete a treatment without a dental assistant’s assistance, for example. Regarding a dentist themselves, what does this role entail?
Dentists are medical practitioners; they are doctors of oral health. If you’ve had exceptional oral hygiene, you may only have visited a dentist for a regular checkup in which your dentist will look over your teeth and gums to make sure everything is how it should be health-wise. However, a dentist’s role is so much more than that. A dentist is responsible for checking the oral hygiene of a patient, but also responsible for administering treatment, performing dental surgeries, ensuring the health of a patient by offering tailored oral hygiene advice, and also working for disease prevention, whether of the gums, teeth or other areas of the mouth.
What are the Different Branches of Dentistry?
While the above is a general overview of what a dentist can be expected to do, many different specialties could see your primary role being slightly different and have a more specific focus.
The different branches of dentistry are:
- Orthodontics. This focuses on the study and treatment of misaligned teeth or jaw problems and most commonly associated with treatments such as braces and retainers.
- Pediatric dentistry. This focuses on treating the oral hygiene of young people, usually infants to teens.
- Periodontics. This focuses on the study and treatment of the supportive tissue of the teeth.
- Prosthodontics. This specialty can see you fixing teeth, such as replacing missing teeth and helping tooth problems with bridges, dentures, or implants.
- Oral surgery. This focuses on any surgery relating to the mouth, teeth, and jaw.
- Oral pathology. This specialty relates to the diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases.
- General public dentistry. Perhaps the most well-known specialty, this will see you treating patients for regular checkups and providing dentistry services to the general public.
- Oral radiology. As a dental radiologist, you would be required to study radiographic images to determine any health conditions relating to the mouth, teeth, neck, and jaw.
Working for an Employer vs. Opening Your Own Clinic
One of the great aspects of planning to become a dentist is the freedom to choose how you’d like to work. As a dentist, you can work as an employee for a healthcare provider, service, or clinic. Alternatively, you also have the option of opening your own clinic and becoming your own boss, if that is your career dream. Therefore, for those passionate about dentistry and are keen entrepreneurs aspiring to their own business, opening your own practice is always an option.
This is particularly beneficial if you have one area of study you’d love to concentrate on, such as being skilled in orthodontics or cosmetic dentistry. Opening your own clinic can be more demanding than simply finding an employer, but you can reap the rewards as long as you make a proper business plan and plan out your marketing strategy. You can read this blog from the best orthodontist marketing experts agency for some ideas.
Key Skills a Dentist May Need
Alongside your primary medical qualifications and dental study, many key skills will be of use to anyone wanting to become a dentist. You may naturally have these skills or look to hone these skills for the right career.
- Being a people person. As a dentist, you will be working with patients every day, as well as other key medical staff, so enjoying working with people will be a huge benefit
- Communication skills. As a dentist, you will need to communicate with your patients efficiently to explain treatment plans, advice, and other medical information to help them with their oral health.
- Ability to work under pressure. Although dentists work regular appointments, you may run into dental emergencies or oral health complications with patients. A working day as a dentist can be a stressful one based on the manner of procedures, so working well under pressure is always helpful.
- Patience. You may meet demanding patients, patients who neglect their oral health, or even internal systems not working. Patience will always be a benefit within any medical profession, and dentistry is no different.
The Benefits of Becoming a Dentist
While becoming a dentist can be a demanding career option, there’s no doubt that there are many key benefits and reasons why it might appeal. Some of these might include:
- Truly making a difference in the lives of your patients. After all, oral hygiene matters, and you can work to provide the best service for your patients’ health.
- Enjoy a flexible working schedule. This is particularly applicable if you open your own clinic and can then pick and choose your patient appointments and the working hours you’d like to undertake.
- Work on the frontlines of healthcare. If you’re passionate about oral health and have always had a keen interest in it, becoming a dentist will see you putting that natural interest to good (and professional) use, meaning you can enjoy working in that environment every single day.
Does this sound appeal to you? If so, dentistry could certainly be the right career for you.