Guess what everybody has at some point in their lives – teeth! We all need them cleaned and checked to make sure they’re in tip top shape. If you’ve seen someone who isn’t a big fan of oral hygiene…you know that’s not the way to go.
Fortunately, most people get that brushing is important. Did you know the average American spends more than a month brushing their teeth over a lifetime? If everyone’s putting in that much face time with their toothbrush, it’s important to have people who care working on those pearly whites.
Do you love helping people? Are you into oral hygiene? Then a career in the dental field might be for you! From becoming a dental assistant to running your own orthodontic clinic, we’ve laid out the 4 jobs you need to know about. You won’t be able to brush off your education though…we’ve got the drill below!
Dental assistants get to do all kinds of cool stuff. They’re responsible for everything from taking care of patients and taking x-rays to keeping records and scheduling appointments. You need to know the anatomy of the head and mouth, how to sterilize all the shiny instruments and how to run the front office like a pro.
Dental assistants are key players in the office, and now is a great time to get started on your education! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the need for dental assistants is expected to jump 25 percent from 2012 to 2022.
First impressions are like dental impressions – no one wants a bad one. That’s why dental assistants are so important! They’re often the first person you meet at the dentist’s office. Before you get started, you need to know your stuff. It’s important to learn everything you’ll need to do chair-side and at the front desk while you’re in school. An externship is another key part of your education. You’ll get hands-on experience and make some great connections in the industry! By the time you graduate, you should know the ins and outs of a dental office.
CAVITY. It’s a six letter word nobody wants to hear, but the reality is about 78 percent of Americans have at least one cavity by the time they graduate high school. Let’s face it, we all really want that “No Cavities” sticker, right? As a dental hygienist, you’ll work with patients to prevent those bad boys from showing up in your teeth in the first place.
If you’re a dental assistant who wants to bring home more bacon (as long as you brush after!) you might want to consider a career as a dental hygienist. It typically takes about two years to become a dental hygienist, and when you finish the program, you’ll have your Associate’s degree!
Before you start working in the real world, you’ll need to learn dental radiography and periodontology. By the time you graduate, you should be able to perform periodontal therapies like deep cleanings and know how to apply fluoride and fissure sealants. Another big part of your job is communication, so part of your education should include learning how to talk to your patients and colleagues in a way that’s informative and easy to understand.
Calling Dr. Smile! When you think dental office, you probably think of the dentist, right? Makes sense, since your dentist is part of pretty much every oral health decision you make. Chances are high you’ve seen a dentist at some point (we hope). They diagnose and treat issues with the mouth. Even though they mostly work with teeth they also focus on the gums, tongue, cheeks and roof of the mouth.
According to the BLS, the rate of job growth from 2012 to 2022 is faster than average, at about 16 percent.
While dentists make a lot of money, they have to go through a lot of schooling to get there. If you want to be a dentist you have to get a bachelor’s degree in a science related field and then apply for dental school. Once you’ve finished dental school, you typically have to do a dental residency for a few years before you can start your own practice or be part of a group practice.
If you’re cringing with flashbacks of braces and those oh so painful rubber band changes…we’re with you. But you wouldn’t have those sparkly, straight teeth you have today without an orthodontist! The word orthodontia comes from the Greek words orthos, meaning correct and straight, and dontia, which means teeth. If you want to build people’s smiles and don’t mind even more time in the classroom, you might want to become an orthodontist. These are fully qualified dentists who have specialized in orthodontia. They help people’s teeth and jaw line up correctly for cosmetic and health reasons.
The BLS says the profession is set to add more orthodontists from 2012 to 2022 at a rate of about 10 percent.
It takes about three extra years of schooling after you become a dentist to become an orthodontist.
Still smiling? Good! Any role in the dental world is an important one, it’s up to you to decide which path is the best fit for you.