WORKING IN DENTISTRY – LIST OF CAREERS & JOBS IN THE DENTAL FIELD

dental assistant student

Dentistry is a branch of medicine that is concerned with the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, the maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures. Essentially, dentistry is directed at oral care and dental health maintenance. The field of dentistry offers various career options at multiple educational and professional levels. The physicians who practice dentistry are known as dentists, while their supporting team consists of dental assistants, Registered Dental Assistants, dental hygienists and dental technicians. Other types of dental jobs include dental laboratory technician and administrative office staff. Below is a more detailed overview of several career opportunities in the field of dentistry.

Mid-Level

Dental Assistant and Hygienist  Training

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants help dentists with various tasks like sterilizing instruments and equipment, taking and developing dental x-rays, taking impressions of patients’ teeth, and scheduling appointments. Furthermore, they prepare and guide patients throughout their procedures. There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. In most states, what you have to do to be a dental assistant or Registered Dental Assistant is to graduate from an accredited program and pass a state exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements. Dental assistant is a good career choice because the demand for these dental field jobs is continuously rising.

Dental Hygienists

There are a few other mid-level careers in the dental field, such as dental hygienist. A dental hygienist has more responsibilities than a dental assistant. The duties of a dental hygienist include cleaning teeth, examining patients for signs of oral diseases like gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care under the supervision of a dentist. Moreover, they also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree in dental hygiene. While all states require dental hygienists to be licensed, requirements vary by state. 

Recommended Reading: Pros and Cons of Being A Dental Hygienists

Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians1 or simply dental technicians is a further mid-level dental career you may pursue. These professionals manufacture dental prosthetics, such as bridges, crowns and dentures according to the specification sent by the dentist. There are four major disciplines in dental technology: fixed prosthesis, removable prosthesis, maxillofacial prosthesis, and orthodontics and auxiliaries. While there is no specific educational requirement to become a dental laboratory technician and many learn their skills on the job, aspiring professionals may also receive training from community colleges or vocational-technical schools.

Administrative

dental office manager working

Office Manager

There are also administrative dentist jobs. The office manager oversees the daily operations of the dental office. They manage staff schedules, train office staff, assess staff performance, oversee finances, monitor inventory and order supplies, among other things. The office manager essentially ensures that the dental office runs smoothly, so that the dentist and their staff can focus on patient care. There are no formal educational requirements for the office manager, although employers usually demand a high school diploma/GED and a minimum of medical/dental office experience.

Office Staff

The staff in a dental office assumes numerous administrative roles, including receptionists, appointment schedulers, and accounting and billing specialists. They also provide paperwork for new patients and are responsible for filing and retrieving patient information. There are no specific educational requirements to work as a staff member in a dental office, yet some schools offer, for example, dental receptionist certificates or training programs.

Doctorate Level

dentist working

General Dentist (DDS)

The position of a general dentist2 is comparable to that of a primary care doctor in medicine. The general dentist usually performs dental and oral health care prevention and maintenance services like teeth cleaning, fluoride treatments, cavity fillings and root canals. In some instances, the general dentist may also treat diseases of nerve, pulp and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. In order to become a dentist, one has to complete dental school and obtain a license.

Orthodontist

Orthodontists specialize on jaw alignment and positioning of the teeth. They use different methods and oral appliances to straighten and realign crooked or misaligned teeth. Braces, retainers and other devices are used to help correct patient’s teeth. Whereas most patients of orthodontists are younger as they are growing and their teeth are easier to move, adult patients do consult an orthodontist, too. An orthodontist has to complete dental school and go through two or three years of advanced specialty education.

Periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the care of the supporting structures of teeth that are known as periodontium, such as gums, the alveolar bone and periodontal ligament. Periontal diseases are usually a result of bacterial accumulation and inflammation. To become a periodontist, one has to complete dental school and obtain a postdoctoral certificate (three years or more).

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon provides surgical care for teeth, jaws and facial bones. Some surgeons also specialize in microvascular reconstruction (after neck and head cancer), craniofacial surgery and pediatric maxillofacial surgery (e.g., cleft lip and palate repair) or cranio-maxillofacial trauma treatment. To become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, one hast to complete a minimum of four years in a hospital-based residency program upon graduation from dental school.

Cosmetic Dentist

The cosmetic dentist focuses on aesthetic dentistry, which is aimed at improving the appearance rather than the patients’ health. They normally treat aesthetic issues surrounding a patient’s teeth, gums and/or bite. Common cosmetic dentistry procedures include teeth, veneers or the bonding of teeth. Cosmetic dentists normally practice as general dentists. It is important to note that the American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty of dentistry.

Additional Sources:

1 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/dental-and-ophthalmic-laboratory-technicians-and-medical-appliance-technicians.htm

2 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dentists.htm

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dental-assistants.htm

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm

http://www.snagajob.com/job-descriptions/dental-office-manager-job-description

30 thoughts on “Working In Dentistry – List of Careers & Jobs in the Dental Field

  1. Mariah Manzer

    Great article. 🙂

  2. Kim

    This is great!

  3. Andsen

    You are helping a lot of people to make a good decision on what they want to do in their Lives.thanks.

  4. keerthi

    I want job in operations side

  5. Laure

    Now, I really know what I can do in my dentistry career dream. Thank you so much for those details

  6. Dd

    Thanks for all this information it gives me a better sense of my career choice and which area i will want to choose and love.

  7. wizz yuwizz

    Thanks you every msh

  8. DIEGO

    I am 38 years old do you think I’m too old to become a dentist ?

    • Sharlette

      No

  9. Ngwoke Nonso

    I lv medical field. And i lk to become a doctor. Thanks for sharing this information. I will lk to know more on dis field,

  10. meme

    I am a dentist..I am 50 years old. I was away from dentistry for 14 years..Now I want to go back to my filed ..Do you think I can do it?…

    • Jennie

      Yes, life is short …

  11. Sk

    Why not…

  12. Nkambwe Umar

    I have got to know and I now want to upgrade

    • We would be happy to set up an appointment with you to talk more about these dental programs and enrollment. You can give us a call at 1-855-289-2171. Thanks for your interest in Carrington College!

  13. Nkambwe Umar

    Nice I have to upgrade

  14. Sharon Jones

    What’s the average cost of schooling to become a hygienist?

  15. Sharon Jones

    Forgot to ask, if you also have statistics for the number of grads getting hired? Or if I wanted to get hired at a dental clinic in Alaska if there was a clear path to that?

  16. bhumika patel

    i want to work as dentist and this give me a lot of good information and it will help me alot

  17. bhumika patel

    i want to work a dentist and this i a good information and it will help me alot

  18. Ravneet

    Hi,
    I have done BDS from India. I was wondering if I can go for dental hygienist license exam without doing dental hygienist degree in Canada or not? Please reply.
    Thank you.

  19. Sam Hickman

    That’s tuff

  20. Joanna Joan

    I am now 16 and decide to be a dentist as my occupation. I just want to ask how is the right path to really achieve this occupation in terms of type of courses that I have chosen in the college and how I can handle the problems if in fact that the dentist-based course has full thus if they move me to another courses that I don’t deal with totally.

  21. Saiful

    Hello
    I am saiful, I am from Bangladesh. I am a student of BSS Honurs final year. In the same time i am doing a per time job in a dental clinic under two qualified doctor, as a doctor assistance last 6 years. They are highly qualified as a dentists, on of them have M.S (Oral and maxilofacial surgery) and other doctor have DDS & BDS. So as a person i have lot of experience about dental assistance and equipment, now i want to do a better job in other country as a assistance..
    So…… is it possible????
    If is it possible it will help me to build a bright career……..

  22. Nyijaha Bridges

    this me out a lot thank you!! I am 13 years old and I think I just found my career!!!!!

  23. Nyijaha Bridges

    :))))

  24. luz

    Am a medical assistance how can I become Dental Laboratory Technicians ?

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