Dentists work with patients to repair fractured teeth, fill cavities, remove tooth decay, whiten teeth, place sealants and educate on oral hygiene. They also perform oral surgery and can spot early signs of serious health conditions like diabetes.
The best dentists are people who love to help people, and they have a great bedside manner. They are able to explain dental procedures in a way that makes them easy to understand.
They’re compassionate, but also have a strong analytical skill set that allows them to think critically about their patients’ problems and provide solutions. They’re also creative, logical, and observant.
Educated and experienced, they also love to learn more about dentistry. They may take continuing education courses to advance their skills or become a specialist in certain areas of dentistry such as orthodontics and pediatrics.
What Are the Best Courses to Take in School for a Career in Dentistry?
During your undergraduate studies, choose a major that has a high level of science and includes biology, chemistry and physics. If possible, find a health professions advisor to help you plan your course of study and to identify opportunities for summer workshops that could enhance your academic experience and prepare you for admission exams and dental interviews.
Start thinking about how you’ll pay for dental school and work with your financial aid office to get on top of the application process before applications are due. Most schools award their financial aid packages based on the date of application, so make sure you don’t procrastinate in completing the paperwork.
Apply to dental schools in your junior year of college. Most dental schools will require you to complete an entrance exam before admitting you to the program. Your advisor can give you a list of programs and provide additional information about those that accept transfer students.
In order to be admitted into a dental school, you must meet all of the admissions requirements and complete at least four years of schooling. You’ll need to pass both state and national exams, and you’ll have to fulfill other professional requirements.
Be sure to choose a university that has a good reputation and provides a good environment for learning, such as the University of Florida, the University of Alabama at Birmingham or the University of Michigan. This is important because dental schools are highly competitive and have strict admission requirements.
The most successful students are those who have a solid academic record and strong personal qualities. They have the ability to work well with others, are creative, intellectual, and self-motivated. They’re observant and a good communicator, and they have a strong sense of responsibility to their peers and the community.
Taking an active role in your pre-dental club or a shadowing program with a practicing dentist is a good way to gain exposure to the field and develop relationships with potential classmates. Some pre-dental clubs have special events, such as mock interviews, that you can attend to get an idea of what life is like in the field.