For young people who are considering careers in the dental field, it is a lot of work, but it could prove to be a rewarding and lucrative decision. According to Salary.com, the median expected salary for a dentist in the United States is just under $150,000 per year. If a student has good grades and enjoys school, dentistry not only pays well, but there a demand for more dentists.
When it comes to dentist school life, it typically takes about four years of education beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Some undergraduate institutions offer pre-dental programs, but completing one is not a prerequisite for admission to dentist school. However, a good dental school candidate will have a solid academic background in the sciences, particularly biology, physiology, and chemistry. Of course, completing, and doing well in, a pre-dental program not only helps to prepare students for dental school life, but it can strengthen their applications substantially.
Once students gain admission to a top dental school, the first two years will consist of taking courses that will teach them about everything from the very basics to the most advanced dental maintenance techniques. This will include the correct way to brush teeth, drilling and filling cavities, identifying tooth decay and gum disease, fixing broken teeth, etc. One of the most helpful learning experiences in dental school takes place through volunteering at dental practices and shadowing master dentists.
During the second two years, dental students will get experienced treated patients, while being supervised by a licensed dentist. This internship is basically the equivalent of a medical residency. Once the internship and subsequent exams have been completed satisfactorily, dental students are ready to take the final steps to licensure.
In order to obtain a license to legally practice dentistry, candidates must pass the National Board Dental Examination, which is governed by the American Dental Association. Since the test is taken once dental school is completed, it is actually possible for a candidate to be awarded either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and not be qualified to practice law. Of course, any student who makes survives dental school life should be able to handle the dental ADA’s exam.