Essential Tips for Becoming a Dentist


Dentists are members of the healthcare profession that may not be as popular as medical doctors, but they are doctors just the same. The only difference is that they specialize in matters that pertain to the teeth and the oral cavity. If you don’t mind tinkering with the oral cavities of people you hardly know on a personal basis, then you’ve got it cut to be a dentist. Here are some tips to becoming a dentist.


Get a bachelor’s degree that is somehow relevant to the profession of dentistry

One of the most crucial things you need to do is to obtain a bachelor’s degree that is highly relevant to the profession of dentistry. It is important to get the facts, the principles, and the theories that will help prepare you for dentistry. You might consider a bachelor’s degree in the sciences such as biology since you will mostly be dealing with humans as your patients. Of course, if you can also excel in chemistry and physics, then this will also provide you with exceptional foundations. While you’re taking a baccalaureate degree, you might also want to participate in a dental mentoring program or even a dental school prep program.


Take and pass the dental admission test

Colleges and universities that offer a degree in dental medicine require their prospective students to take and pass a nationally-administered dental admission test. This helps lay the groundwork for evaluating your suitability to enter dental school. Of course, different schools may also have additional requirements such as your grade point average, letters of recommendation, and even interviews as well as a series of other tests.


Earn a degree in dental medicine

Earning a degree in dental medicine or even dental surgery typically requires about 4 years of coursework and clinical practice. The first two years are generally allotted to providing you with the correct theoretical knowledge that will help guide you in your practice of the profession. These can include anatomy and physiology of the human oral cavity, oral pathology, orthodontics, periodontics, pharmacology, dental anesthesia, and even radiology, just to name a few. The theories, principles, and concepts provided in the first two years of dental school life will pave the way to their application in a clinical setting beginning in the 3rdyear. The dental clinical rotation is where students get to apply the many principles and theories learned in the first 2 years. Here, they get to meet real patients, diagnose their oral health condition, and provide appropriate treatment, but under the guidance and supervision of licensed dental instructors.


Get officially licensed

Like medical doctors, dentists need to obtain a professional license to practice. The requirements for state licensure actually vary from state to state. However, you will need to pass the national examination provided by the national board of dentistry. The test is usually a 2-part exam that covers the fundamentals of the dental sciences, clinical procedures, and professional ethics, among others. The state’s dental licensing board will also require candidates to take and pass a practical examination. There may be other requirements which candidates for licensure may have to comply with.


Always consider specializing in a particular area

While some may consider being a generalist dentist sufficient, many would strive for specialization. For example, you may want to venture into dentofacial orthopedics, maxillofacial pathology, pediatric dentistry, or even dental public health, among others. Do understand, however, that if you do decide to pursue post-DDS or post-DMD education, it will usually take about 2 to 4 years of extra schooling plus a residency of about 1 to 2 years, depending on the program you wish to take. Only then will you be eligible to apply for licensure on this dental specialization.


Don’t stop learning

One hallmark of a true professional is his hunger for continuing professional growth. Successful dentists don’t rest on their DDS or DMD degrees or even their post-DMD or post-DDS specializations. They always stay up-to-date with the latest trends. They never stop learning. They typically enroll in a variety of certificate courses that will help them serve their patients a lot better.


These are just some of the things you have to do if you want to become a really good dentist. Like any profession, being a dentist is more about lifelong learning.

What You Need to Know About Hiring Dentists

For some people, choosing a dentist is as easy as picking the nearest and most convenient professional around the corner. However, it is more than that because he or she will be responsible for your overall dental care. And for you to achieve the right care for your pearly whites, you have to do a little research and a lot of weighing in on the factors that you should consider. Here are a few things you should know so that you can make an informed decision.


  1. Is dental care covered by your insurance?

Usually this is the first step because it narrows down where you will look if it is covered by insurance. If it isn’t, then you are free to choose any dentist you want.


  1. How far are you willing to go for a dentist?

Location is one of the most important factors because hiring a dentist and paying visits to them shouldn’t be a hassle. Moreover, getting a dentist that has a clinic far from you can only add to the list of excuses as to why you don’t want to go to them. However, you shouldn’t compromise quality with location. If your area doesn’t have good dentists, then it can be worth it to find someone that is a little far from your place especially when the dentists there are more experienced and better quality-wise.


  1. What time are their clinic hours? How does it work for emergency situations?

Aside from location, you should also look for a clinic that has convenient clinic hours. If you’re working, you can look for a dentist who is open until the evening so you don’t have to miss work just to go see a dentist. To add to that, you can also check if they can accommodate you during the times that you are free. If the dentist is always out, then he or she should be removed from your list because it’s only going to be difficult to schedule appointments.


  1. How much are their services?

When dental care is included in your insurance, this does not become much of a concern except when there are certain services that aren’t covered. But for practical reasons, looking at costs is a must, too. Some dentists charge high for their services but fail to deliver in terms of quality. Like location, you don’t have to compromise quality just because the dentist offers cheaply priced services. They can be affordable, yes, but if you have to keep coming back for your teeth to be fixed, then you might as well get someone that is a bit pricier. This is because you might spend more than what you’re supposed to (like more transportation expenses) if you keep coming back just to keep fixing your teeth.


  1. Are they up-to-date with dental advancements?

It is important that you consider this because it isn’t true that there are no dental advances. In fact, over the past decade, there have been numerous innovations in dental care especially since it is more and more aided with technology. One way to know if the dentist you’re eyeing is up-to-date is by asking them. Of course, before you do this, make sure that you have done your research so you can test whether what they are saying is true or not. Moreover, you can also tell if they are proactive with learning new techniques in oral care through the conferences they attend.


  1. Is their clinic clean?

Hygiene is very important when it comes to dental care. It’s just ironic to see a clinic that isn’t clean. If you ever encounter something like this, then it’s already a reflection of your dentist. A dentist’s clinic should be clean as any form of bacteria can easily spread and go to your mouth when the clinic is not kept well.

These questions are basic and if you have other preferences then you can add them to the things you have to consider. You can also ask your family and friends of some of their recommendations. It actually helps if you have someone to ask because they can give you more information about the dentist’s expertise, rates and services, and customer service. You can also click this link for dentist recommendations.