I personally love teeth! They are multipurpose and adds to our daily routine without a doubt. Some may say that dentistry is the form of the healing arts and sciences that are devoted to maintaining oral health. 

It is a rather diverse health profession, offering opportunities to become a successful, highly respected member of the community. Most times, dental education opens up many professional opportunities. Other than private practice, many dental school graduates can choose other dental career options including working in hospital emergency rooms, conducting advanced laboratory research, teaching future dentists or maybe go about voyaging the world with international health and relief organizations.

“A person usually has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.” J. P. Morgan. So if you are looking for a rewarding career in health care with a competitive salary and a sustainable work-life balance, dentistry may be for you. But with those not being enough for valid reasons, here are some others:

  • Want to help people
  • Prefer the end result – compared to art, science research, musician, TV and film
  • Never ending relationships with patients/working with people
  • Encourage an artistic side
  • The money – financial independence
  • Career independence
  • Love of dental science
  • To indulge in dental research, academia or dental specialties
  • Doing things with your hands
  • Professional recognition

Dentistry Career Options:

There are many stimulating career options. Aside from private practice, excellent opportunities exist in teaching and research, careers with government agencies or in industry.

Personal Practice: Many dentists work either in solo private practice or in partnerships with other dentists. Out of the lot most of the private practice dentists own their practices.

Scholastic Dentistry: An academic dentistry career combines teaching, research, community service and patient care. Teaching staff work in a very intellectually stimulating and exciting academic environment. There are excellent career opportunities for academic dentists at this time.

General Health Dentistry: This career focuses on community settings rather than private practice. Promoting dental health, developing health policy and preventing disease are the major roles of a public health dentist. Plenty of opportunities exist in research and teaching within public health dentistry. The U.S. Public Health Service offers dentists an opportunity to provide dental care in unique cultural environments (e.g., an Indian Reservation, Coast Guard base, or Federal Prison).

Exploration: Research careers offer opportunities to generate new knowledge and be on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries that ultimately impact patient care, a few of the most recent research improving patient care includes lasers in surgery, implants to replace damaged bone and computerized x-rays. Many researchers are faculty at universities while others work in federal facilities, such as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), www.nidcr.nih.gov, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), www.nih.gov, or in private industry. For research this career requires an advanced degree or additional training beyond the dental degree.

Global Health Care: Dentists provide services to populations abroad and work for such agencies as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Many volunteer to take dental aid people in third world countries.

Health Center dentistry: treat patients with medical conditions and disabilities alongside physician colleagues, often in operating rooms and emergency departments. They usually have a strong interest in medicine and collaborative care and have spent a year or more training in a hospital-based setting after dental school.

Working Conditions:

Roughly 90% of all dentists are engaged in delivery of care through private practices. Dentists spend approximately 36 hours per week in their practices, of which approximately 33 hours per week is spent treating patients. However, there is still flexibility for them to determine the number of hours per week they choose to work.

The latter 10% of dentists teach in dental education programs, conduct research and/or deliver care in the Armed Forces, the Indian Health Service, the U.S. Public Health Service or other clinical settings. Dentists engaged in teaching, research or related positions generally work regular 40-hour workweeks

The assertion that oral health can have a serious impact on systemic health, drives the expansion of new professional opportunities each year. So if you want to be a part of this great movement, consider dentistry.