Do you want to learn what it takes to become a Dentist online? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a dentist fast.
The mouth is the window and the passage way into the human health. Many people today are enjoying excellent oral health and are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives. However, this is not the case for everyone because cavities are still the most prevalent chronic disease of childhood. Many people mistakenly believe that they need to see a dentist only if they are in pain or think something is wrong.
A dental visit means being examined by a doctor of oral health, called a dentist, capable of diagnosing and treating conditions that can range from routine to extremely complex. The field of dentistry involves the mouth, teeth, gums and related areas. The diseases relating to the teeth and gums can be indicative or indicators of some health issues. A dentist however will encourage and assist their patients in maintaining a healthy mouth by regular cleaning and routine check-ups.
Table of Content
- 1 What is a Dentist?
- 2 Duties of a Dentist and their Job Description
- 3 Professional Bodies and Associations for Dentists
- 4 Career Ideas and Sub-sectors in the Dental Profession
- 5 Benefits of Becoming a Dentist
- 6 Challenges Discouraging People from Becoming Dentists
- 7 How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentists?
- 8 Educational Requirements to Become a Dentist
- 9 Is Certification Needed to Become a Dentist?
- 10 Is it Possible to Acquire the Dentist Training Online?
- 11 Skills and Quality Needed to Become a Dentist
What is a Dentist?
A Dentist is a specialized type of Doctor , physician or a professional who provides oral health care and preventative treatment to patients. This means that a dentist works with patient’s teeth and gums, diagnosing and treating their tooth and gum problems or ailment, to prevent tooth decay and gum deterioration, and any other form of service.
Dentistry involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dental team involves the dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, dental therapists, etc. There are two types of Dentists namely;
- Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMA)
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Dentists are licensed professionals in the field of dental medicine to provide oral health care to patients. Some dentists are general practitioners, while others are involved in private practice. Those who have a private practice supervise the administrative parts of the business, including the accounting, personnel and facilities.
The general dentists are the primary dental care providers for patients of all ages. They can treat an entire family and care for their overall oral health, making sure that the diagnosis, treatment and overall coordination of services are ensured. General dentists also work with other dentists in making sure that the patients and their needs are well taken care of.
Duties of a Dentist and their Job Description
- Removes decay from teeth and fill cavities
- Repair cracked or fractured teeth
- Removes decayed teeth
- Straighten teeth to correct bite issues
- Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
- Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications
- Examine x-rays of teeth, gums, the jaw, and nearby areas for possible problems
- Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures, to fit patients
- Teach patients about diet, flossing, use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care
- operates technical equipment such as X-ray machines
- Keeps an accurate record of a patient’s dental structure
- Keeps up-to-date with developments in the dentistry profession
- works with a medical nurse and other health practitioners
- Conducts regular check-ups on patients.
- Performs minor surgical procedures such as a tooth extraction, and cleaning and polishing teeth.
- Encourage patients to practice good dental care by brushing and flossing and getting regular cleanings as these good habits can help prevent cavities and other tooth and gum diseases.
- Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
- Use masks, gloves and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.
- Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health.
- Diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.
- Formulate plan of treatment for patient’s teeth and mouth tissue.
- Use air turbine and hand instruments, dental appliances and surgical implements.
- Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.
- Advise or instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.
- Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.
- Writes fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.
- Fill pulp chamber and canal with endodontic materials.
- Remove diseased tissue, using surgical instruments.
- Analyze or evaluate dental needs to determine changes or trends in patterns of dental disease.
- Apply fluoride or sealants to teeth.
- Perform oral or periodontal surgery on the jaw or mouth.
- Eliminate irritating margins of fillings and correct occlusions, using dental instruments.
- Manage business, employing and supervising staff and handling paperwork and insurance claims.
- Bleach, clean, or polish teeth to restore natural color.
- Plan, organize, or maintain dental health programs.
- Produce or evaluate dental health educational materials.
- educating patients on oral healthcare;
- assessing treatment options and agreeing treatment plans with patients;
- carrying out agreed clinical treatments such as restoring teeth affected by decay and treating gum disease;
- maintaining patients’ dental records;
- recruiting, training and managing staff;
- managing budgets and maintaining stocks of equipment;
- keeping abreast of new developments through structured continuing professional development (CPD);
- Marketing services to potential clients.
- Advise and instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and
- Analyze and evaluate dental needs to determine changes and trends in patterns of dental disease.
- Perform oral and periodontal surgery on the jaw or mouth.
- Remove diseased tissue using surgical instruments.
- Manage business, employing and supervising staff and handling paperwork and insurance claims.
- Plan, organize, and maintain dental health programs.
Equipment and Tools Used by a Dentist
Examination instruments (which are used for better visual access during treatment and dental examination). Examples are:
- Dental explorer (sickle probe)
- Periodontal probe
- Straight probe
- Mouth prop
- Dental mirror
- Cheek retractor
- Cheek retractor
- Tongue retractor
- Lip retractor
- Dental anesthesia
- Dental syringe
Dental hand pieces:
- High speed air driven (also known as an airotor),
- slow speed,
- friction grip,
- Surgical hand piece.
- Straight hand piece with a sharp bur.
- Dental laser
- Dental torque wrench
- Spoon excavator: This is used to remove soft carious decay.
- Half hollenbach: This is usually used to test for overhangs or flash.
- Straight – bevels
- Bin Angle
- Flat plastic
- Ball burnisher
- Beavertail burnisher
- Cone burnisher
- Pear shaped burnisher
- Cone burnisher
Pluggers (also known as amalgam condensers)
- Amalgam plugger
- 49 plugger.
- Gracey curettes
- Removable prosthodontics
- Fox plane
- Willis gauge
- Bunsen burner
- Wax knife
- Le cron
- Wax carver
- face bow
- Narrow and wide, straight and curved luxators
- Couplands elevator
- Warwick James elevator
- Cryer elevator
- Periosteal elevator
- Root-tip pick elevator
- Potts elevator
- Cogswell-A elevator
- Distal end cutters
- Brakete holder
- Band busher
- Band Seter
- Hemostat/Mathieu pliers
- Hedstrom file
- Endodontic explorer
- Apex locator
How to Become a Dentist Online – A Complete Guide
Facts, Figure and Labor Market Situations for Dentist
In the United States
- The Dentists industry has a relatively low level of capital intensity. In relation to each dollar spent on labor, an estimated $0.04 is equally spent on capital in 2015.
- The wages account for 37.8% of the industry revenue, which can be attributed to the personalized nature of services and the use of trained professionals to provide many services.
- Dentists require a high level of training and must also receive a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school, as well as a state license.
- In the year 2012, dentists held about 146,800 jobs while some dentists own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of dentists will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2022.
- It also estimated that the employment of dentists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022.
In the United Kingdom
- It is estimated that about 8,672 dentists have qualified overseas. Despite this fact there is still a shortage of dentists, especially in rural areas of Scotland where less than 40% of patients have access to a dentist.
- About 24,000 dentists work as general dental practitioners in about 11,000 GDP practices while the vast majority work as self employed, which is a more tax efficient way than working as a salaried dentist.
- Usually practices operate Monday to Friday from 9am until 5.30pm. However there are practices which are open until late, around 8pm. Some are also open on Saturdays, usually until 1-2pm.
- The average working week for a dentist is 38-40 hours. The majority of practices in the UK are mixed, which means they often times provide both private and National Health Services (NHS) treatments.
- Dentists in England and Wales who treat NHS patients do so under contracts linked to the achievements of Units of Dental Activity (UDAs). The implication of this is that they have an annual fixed contract which is payable in 12 monthly payments, but they need to deliver a specified number of UDA’s. Working within the NHS gives stability and a guarantee of income.
- NHS dentistry in the United Kingdom is intended to ensure that dental treatment is available to the whole population. However, unlike medical care, charges are made to most people. Most dentists in the UK, unlike most doctors, do private work and many do not do NHS work.
- There are currently over 9,000 dentists in Ontario. Employment for this occupation is expected to grow more rapidly than the average for all occupations in the immediate future as more job openings will be created each year from the need to replace dentists who retire.
- The demand for dental services can be attributed to several factors, such as population growth, improvements in oral hygiene which allows elderly people to keep their teeth longer, and public awareness of the importance of dental health.
- The nature of dentistry is also changing with a greater emphasis on cosmetic procedures.
- In the 2004 survey, it was estimated that 58% of the profession in Ontario practiced in the City of Toronto, which thus makes Toronto, a highly competitive and concentrated market. From results of the survey carried out by the CDHA, 92% of dental hygienists work in clinical dental hygiene and 72% work for a single employer.
- The average hourly wage of dental hygienists has however risen since the 2011 survey.
- In 2006, about 50 overseas trained dentists sat for exams to become registered and practice in Australia, and this number grew to over 200 in 2012. Hence, about 250 new dentists entered the workforce annually and 300 per year from 2006 to 2010.
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Dental Workforce 2011 report also showed that between 2006 and 2011, the number of dentists employed in Australia increased by 22.4% from 10,404 to 12,734.
- It is estimated that about 11,200 dentists work in Australia, with average weekly hours of 40.23; and also an average of 2,700 dentists work in Victoria (24.1%).
Professional Bodies and Associations for Dentists
United States of America
- Academy for Sports Dentistry
- Academy of General Dentistry
- Academy of Operative Dentistry
- Academy of Interdisciplinary Dentofacial Therapy
- Academy of Laser Dentistry
- Academy of Osseointegration
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
- American Academy of Dental Hygiene
- American Academy of Dental Practice Administration
- American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry
- American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics
- American Academy of Implant Dentistry
- American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics
- American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics
- American Academy of Orofacial Pain
- American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
- American Academy of Periodontology
- American Academy of Restorative Dentistry
- American Academy for Oral Systemic Health
- American Association for Dental Research
- American Association of Endodontists
- American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
- American Association of Oral Biologists
- American Association of Orthodontists
- American Association of Public Health Dentistry
- American Board of Forensic Odontology
- American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association
The United Kingdom
- British Dental Health Foundation
- Care Quality Commission (CQC)
- Association of Dental Implantology UK (ADI)
- General Dental Council (GDC)
- The British Dental Association (BDA)
- General Dental Council
- NHS – Public Healthcare Dentistry
- British Orthodontic Society
- Dental Practitioners’ Association
- The Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)
- Orthodontic Technicians Association
- British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy: BSDHT
- The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO)
- Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC)
- National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB)
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Dentistry
- University of Western Ontario, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
- University of British Columbia, Faculty of Dentistry
- Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentisty (ACFD)
- Ontario Dental Association (ODA)
- Canadian Dental Association (CDA)
- Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada
- Canadian Association of Orthodontists
- Canadian Dental Association
- Royal College of Dentists
- Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario
- Australian Dental Association Inc.
- The Dental Hygienists’ Association of Australia Inc.
- ADIA Australian Dental Industry Association
- The Dental Assistants Professional Association
- Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA)
- Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency
- The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
Impact of Internet Technology on the Dental Profession
- In the dental office these days, tasks and activities can be scheduled and done on the computer, tablet or phone. These are things that can be done even effectively at any position of the dentist office.
- In addition, it becomes easy to save or store patients’ information and retrieve them whenever the need arises.
Career Ideas and Sub-sectors in the Dental Profession
- Private Practice: Many dentists work either as a sole private practice dentist or in partnerships with other dentists. The majority of private practice dentists owns their practices and bears the risks and gains.
- Academic Dentistry: This type of dentistry career combines teaching, research, community service and patient care. Faculty members work in an intellectually stimulating and exciting academic environment.
- Public Health Dentistry: This career focuses on community settings rather than private practice. The major roles of a public health dentist are the promotion of dental health, development of health policy and prevention of disease. Numerous opportunities exist in research and teaching within public health dentistry.
- Research: Research careers offer opportunities to generate new knowledge and be on the cutting edge of scientific discoveries that ultimately impact patient care. Some of the latest research improving patient care includes lasers in surgery, implants to replace damaged bone and computerized x-rays.
- International Health Care: There are dentists who provide services to populations abroad and work for agencies like 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 dentists volunteer to bring dentistry to aid people in third world countries.
- Hospital Dentistry: The hospital dentists ensure the treatment of patients with medical conditions and disabilities alongside their physician colleagues, often in operating rooms and emergency departments. Hospital dentists 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.
Benefits of Becoming a Dentist
- Dentists are well-paid medical professionals
- Similar to doctors, dentists typically hold a high status position or prestige in their communities
- There is autonomy, that is, dentists can either be self-employed or partners in a bigger practice.
- Opportunity to serve, that is, dentists can take satisfaction in serving others and helping improve patients’ health.
- Variety of Choices means that dentists have choices when it comes to specialties and work environments.
- A dental career provides a certain amount of flexibility.
- A dentist has a favorable future.
- There is excitement on the job and never a dull moment.
- A dentist gets the chance to offer real, concrete solutions and actually fix things for people.
Challenges Discouraging People from Becoming Dentists
- One of the disadvantages of becoming a dentist is that it can be physically demanding and stressful.
- Another disadvantage of becoming a dentist is that you will typically have to work long hours when you first start out.
- Being a dentist can be hazardous in some cases as it can lead to severe neck and back pains.
- A dentist is exposed to rigorous on-call emergency dental duties even after office hours.
- A dentist could be exposed to dangerous germs and bacteria from decayed or mismanaged teeth.
- Dentistry requires a very good deal of blood; hence, dentists are likely to be exposed to contraction of illness or disease accidentally.
- Becoming a dentist requires many years of schooling and training.
- A dentist has to deal with bad breath, stinky people and decayed mouth sometimes.
- The work of a dentist can be challenging, and tiring due to long hours spent with patients.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentists?
Generally, it takes about four years to become a dentist. Therefore, dentists must complete a bachelor’s degree, pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), and complete four years of study to in order to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine. Furthermore, they must obtain licensure from their state board of dentistry to practice in the profession.
Dental school takes four years to complete at full-time status, so those who complete a bachelor’s degree first will be in school for eight years. Those who do not finish a bachelor’s degree first or who complete a combined bachelor’s and doctoral degree program may take less time to finish their studies. After graduation and licensure, a dentist can begin to attend to patients.
Educational Requirements to Become a Dentist
In the USA
- The first step is the completion of an accredited 4-year bachelor’s degree program which includes both general education and major coursework.
- Program of study may focus on such classes as biology, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, physiology and human genetics. An aspiring dentist will take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) after earning the bachelor’s degree to ensure he or she is prepared for dental school training.
- The dental school should be fully accredited by the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. Dental school usually lasts four years, and it leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.
- The first two years of dental school program will be dedicated to classroom study and laboratory projects while the final two years of the program focuses on gaining clinical experience under the supervision of practicing dentists.
In the UK
- The first essential requirement to practice as a dentist is to have an approved degree in dentistry (BDS or BChD).
- Entry to the course usually requires high grades at A-level/Higher in chemistry, biology and physics or mathematics. The course is a combination of academic education with theoretical and practical training in all aspects of dental practice.
- Courses including a pre-dental/foundation year exist for candidates without science-based A-levels or equivalents which normally last for 30 weeks.
- However, graduate entry to dental school is possible. A 2:1 in a science-based first degree is usually preferred. Graduate entry courses usually last for five years, but accelerated four-year courses are available for candidates with a 2:1 or better in a degree with a large element of biology or chemistry. (BDS).
To qualify as a dentist in Canada, at least two years of undergraduate studies, followed by four years of dental school and another three years for specialties such as periodontics is required.
- The cost of the four-year program, which includes books and tuition, as well as clinical fees and equipment, can range from $40,000 to about $220,000.
To qualify as a dentist in Australia, prospective candidates are to choose either the Bachelor of Biomedicine or the Bachelor of Science as the first degree.
- They must undertake anatomy, physiology and biochemistry as part of their studies. Furthermore, they must choose the Doctor of Dental Surgery to qualify as a dentist.
- The most common path to follow to become a qualified dentist is to gain the required University Admissions Index mark (UAI) to gain entry into a degree in dentistry such as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S), Bachelor of Dental Science (B.D. Sc), Bachelor of Dentistry (B.Dent) or Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science (B.O.H.D.Sc).
- There are no differences between the training provided by each of these courses. In Australia there are only seven institutions that provide dentistry courses to train professional dentists.
- Registration to practice a dentistry job in Australia requires proof that you have successfully completed an accredited university dental degree and evidence from the Dental Board of the state or territory that you intend to reside and practice in.
Is Certification Needed to Become a Dentist?
- In the USA
After the completion of a dental degree from an accredited school, an aspiring dentist must pass both written and clinical portions of the National Board Dental Examination which may be administered by each state. The results of the examination help state boards assess the dental qualifications and knowledge of biomedical and dental sciences of the candidates.
After this, one may become licensed to practice both general and specialized dentistry. The fee for licensure and first registration is around $377 and the fee for a limited permit is $105. However, the fees are subject to change.
- In the UK
The General Dental Council (GDC) is the organization that regulates dental professionals in the UK. Hence, all dentists and dental care professionals must be registered with the GDC and licensed to work in the UK. Temporary registration allows dentists who are not eligible for full registration to practice dentistry in the UK in supervised posts for training, teaching, or research purposes only for a limited period. Temporary registration will not allow dentists to work in general or private practice, or in community dental services.
Temporary registration is granted for a minimum of 84 days and a maximum of 365 days at a time and may be renewed by means of application, for up to a maximum of 1826 days (5 years). Registration or license fee depends on the month of application. The fee ranges between £222.51 to £1,038.34.
- In Canada
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) is the regulatory body for dentist practice in Ontario. The College ensures the protection of the public’s right to quality dental services by providing leadership to the dental profession through self-regulation.
To practice dentistry in Ontario, internationally educated dentists must hold a General Certificate of Registration or Specialty Certificate of Registration and meet the requirements set out by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. The National dental Examination Board of Canada regulates the fee for licensing dentists and the fees range between $30 to $1100.
- In Australia
One must be registered in the particular State in which he or she intends to practice. Registration requirements vary from State to State, but the only persons immediately entitled to apply to be registered as dentists are persons holding the qualifications of Bachelor of Dental Surgery/B Dent or Bachelor of Dental Science from the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom universities. Registration will not be granted to a foreign graduate until he or she is a resident in the State and is holding a visa approved for employment.
Dentists holding qualifications different from these are required to undertake the examination conducted by the Australian Dental Council, under the auspices of the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR), in order to be eligible to apply for registration. The examination is held fifteen times each year. The cost of application is $610.
Is it Possible to Acquire the Dentist Training Online?
There are some core professions that do not offer online courses. The dentist profession is a different ball game entirely. Yes, it is possible to become a dentist by taking online courses, in choice areas or degrees. After this, one must obtain certification from the necessary regulating bodies.
Career Opportunities Open to Dentists
- Pediatric Dentist/Pedodontists: is the oral health care provider who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the dental problems of children from the age of one or two to early adulthood.
- Periodontist: this is the oral health care provider who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the soft tissues of the mouth (the gums) and the supporting structures (bones) of the teeth (both natural and man-made teeth).
- Prosthodontist: this is the oral health care provider who specializes in the repair of natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth on a much larger scale than the general dentist.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist: A radiologist is the oral health care provider who specializes in the taking and interpretation of all types of X-ray images and data that are used in the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.
- Oral Medicine: this is the specialty of dentistry that provides for the care of the medically complex patient through the integration of medicine and oral health care including oral cancer, lichen planus, candidiasis, and aphthousstomatitis.
- General Dentist: A general dentist is your primary care dental provider that diagnoses, treats, and manages your overall oral health care needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, and preventive education.
- Dental Public Health Clinics: these are clinics that promote dental health through organized community efforts.
- Endodontist: these are dental specialists concerned with the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the human dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth.
- Oral Pathologist: An oral pathologist is the oral health care provider who studies the causes of diseases that alter or affect the oral structures (teeth, lips, cheeks, jaws) as well as parts of the face and neck.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: this type of doctor is the oral health care provider who performs many types of surgical procedures in and about the entire face, mouth, and jaw area.
- Orthodontist: this is the oral health care provider who specializes in diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusions, of the teeth and surrounding structures.
Skills and Quality Needed to Become a Dentist
There are dentists who do not have the basic requirements needed in skills and quality to practice. This deficiency could cause a setback to a larger extent. In order to become a successful dentist, and be seen as a professional in the field, a dentist must be equipped with certain skills necessary in the daily discharge of his or her duties.
Some of these are:
- A good Communication skill with patients and other health practitioners
- Patience, especially in dealing with patients
- A thorough and methodical approach in handling health related issues.
- Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
- Good ethical grounding on the profession
- Team working skills with other health workers and staff.
To be a successful dentist, one must be able to properly manage both the clinical and practice management aspects of the profession. One must be equipped and up to date on the practices of the profession. In addition, one must be financially liberal in terms of cost to patients. It is equally important to make the office environment welcoming and conducive for patients and the members of staff.
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