What Does It Take To Become a Dentist?

Anyone interested in dentistry can look forward to a career in an engaging and challenging field that will allow you to work closely with patients to improve their oral health. Though it will require a little more of you academically, being a dentist is a stable career that will provide you with the skills you need to help people in a meaningful way. Because of the amount of schooling required, it’s important that you take academics seriously from an early age. Getting into a top undergraduate program will help you obtain admission to a high-quality dental school, which will help put you in a great position when it comes time to look for a job after graduation. If you’re considering a career in dentistry, keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become a dentist.

How should you prepare for a career as a dentist?

As is the case with many advanced degrees, becoming a dentist will require a lot of hard work and additional years of schooling after you complete your bachelor’s degree. Dental school is typically four years long, though there is one three-year program available. There are also a few schools that offer a combined program where you can finish your bachelor’s degree and complete dental school in a reduced time period.

It’s not a bad idea to start preparing for your career in high school if you know what you want to do. Given how competitive top colleges are, it’s important to have achievements on your academic resume, like completion of AP level coursework and graduating with honors. High schools typically expect a GPA over 3.5 to graduate with honors, while graduating with Latin honors in college can vary depending on the program you’re in.

What does it take to be successful in dentistry?

There’s a lot more that goes into being a successful dentist than just obtaining the required academic credentials to receive your license. One thing that’s particularly important is being able to help patients understand the importance of good oral hygiene and of addressing their dental needs in a timely manner. Most people don’t get routine dental checkups, so improving new patients’ health literacy is an important part of providing quality dental care.

While many dentists focus on routine procedures and offer a wide range of services, there are also several specialties within the dental field. Some of these fields include orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, endodontics, orofacial pain, periodontics, and pediatric dentistry. There can be overlap between these fields (for example, a patient who has an extraction may need cosmetic dental care like dentures or veneers afterward), but many dentists focus primarily on one specialization.

It’s a good idea to look at websites for successful dental practices, like this one for a dentist in Surprise, AZ. You can get a sense of how to present yourself to patients and advertise your services in a welcoming and accessible way. You should also make sure you communicate any insurance restrictions clearly on your website so that new patients can be prepared for the cost of their services.

A thorough education is essential for becoming a good dentist, though there are plenty of other areas where you’ll need to improve if you want to provide the best dental care to your patients. Keep in mind that careers in health care that deal with emergency medicine, which can include several dental specialties, can require a bit of a lifestyle adjustment. While dentists deal with time-sensitive procedures less frequently than other types of doctors, there are still cases where oral surgery requires you to come in late at night or on your day off. Though the journey to becoming a licensed and practicing dentist can be long, dentistry is both satisfying and profitable work that can make for a fulfilling career.

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