Why Choose a Career in Dental Medicine?
Dentistry offers many opportunities, challenges and rewards. It is a rapidly changing, expanding profession. The Doctor of Dental Medicine is part of the primary healthcare professions on the front line of disease prevention and wellness.
Dentists are often the first health care professionals to recognize and identify a wide variety of diseases, ranging from hypertension to oral cancer. They diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth, gingival tissue, tongue, lips and jaws. These oral diseases often reveal other health issues that may require a follow-up with the patient’s family physician.
Dentists utilize new technology such as computers and magnetic resonance imaging in diagnosing patients..
Dentists improve patients' appearance by using a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures. These services can make patients feel better about their smiles. To repair, restore and maintain the teeth, gums and oral tissues that have been lost or damaged by accidents or diseases, dentists perform trauma surgery, dental implants, tissue grafts and laser surgery.
The work goes beyond the dentist chair as dentists teach good habits for good health by educating their patients, as well as the general public, on how to achieve oral health and prevent disease. They interact with people of all ages, cultures and personalities. The dentist's typical day is diverse and interesting.
A good dentist also possesses creative talent. Dentists are artists and in order to brighten one tooth or realign an entire jaw, dentists must have an artist's aesthetic sense to help their patients look their best.
Dentists provide an essential health care service. They are highly respected within the community. Dentists are skilled, conscientious, civic-minded individuals who work with community leaders, educators, other health professionals and government officials. They often volunteer services to school health programs and to elderly, handicapped or poor citizens, demonstrating a selflessness that is a hallmark of professionalism.
Dentistry allows you to be your own boss. Dentists can balance their personal and professional lives to meet their individual needs and desires. Dentistry provides opportunities in a variety of private and public settings including private practice, teaching, research, public health and administration.
The average income of a dentist is in the highest 8 percent of U.S. family income. The demand for dental care will continue to grow. The number of older adults who are keeping their teeth longer is increasing. They are more aware of the importance of regular dental care and require more dental services. Geriatric dental care and the greatly increased demand for newer services, such as cosmetic dentistry, will also contribute to this growth.
A career in dentistry is personally fulfilling. Dentists perform an important public service to help people maintain their health and appearance. To serve the present and future oral health needs of their patients, dentists enjoy the challenge of a lifetime of learning. Tomorrow's dentists will be at the cutting edge of high technology, making the practice of dentistry even more exciting and rewarding than it is today.
Dentistry offers minority students exceptional career opportunities. The need for dentists from minority groups is very strong. Dental care may be accepted more readily when the dentist has knowledge of the patient's language and insight into their cultural background. Career opportunities for women in dentistry are also particularly good at this time.
There are more than 140,000 active dentists in the U.S. today. Most dentists practice general dentistry, giving them the capability of providing comprehensive care to a wide variety of patients. Some dentists choose to limit their practices to one of the nine recognized dental specialties.