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Dental Careers and Schooling Options

January 16, 2017 - Randy Sutton

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Dentistry generally focuses on the health and appearance of
the oral cavity including teeth, gum, jaws, and the tongue. It’s one of the
medical fields that have inspiring career options from dentists, dental
hygienist, dental assistant, dental technician and much more. Whatever option
you decide to choose, you will be required to undergo several years of formal


As a dentist, you will be required to diagnose and treat
problems related to patient̢۪s teeth as well as mouth tissues. You can either be
a general practitioner or you can specialize in specific area of dentistry such
as orthodontics, endodontic, periodontics, oral surgeon or pediatric

Being a fully certified dentist will require six years of
schooling, which includes at least two years in college and another four years
at an accredited dental school. If you
want to specialize, you might have to spend other two years after you graduate
from a dental school.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is
a rewarding and a growing career option. As a dental hygienist, you will be
working under a supervision of a dentist to provide preventative dental care.
As a dental hygienist, you might expect to spend more time with patients,
perform cleaning, and regularly examine patient mouth, teeth, as well as
assisting patients on good oral hygiene practices. These duties, however, will
vary with the state you intend to practice. To become a dental hygienist you
will require an associate degree, which mostly takes two years to complete.
Your schooling will include a lot of time in the classroom, lab, and a period
of clinical experience. You will also
need a license which in most cases requires you to be a graduate from an
accredited dental hygiene school.

Dental assistant

A dental assistant
will work alongside the dentist helping them with various tasks such as
sterilizing dental instruments, performing some of the patient care like taking
dental x-rays. A dental hygienist cannot carry some of the tasks performed by a
dental assistant. Laboratory and office duties such as scheduling appointments
are also some of the tasks a dental assistant performs.

There are several paths to becoming a dental assistant. In
many states, you will need to be a registered dental assistant which means
undergoing accredited programs as well as passing state exams. In some other
states, there are no formal educational requirements to be a dental

Dental laboratory technician

The dental technician is another rewarding mid-level dental
career you can pursue. The duties of a
dental technician are to maintain and improve patient health by fabricating
prosthetic and other dental equipment according to the dentist requirement.
This dental career option does not involve direct contact with the patient; therefore,
there are no stringent requirements in terms of schooling. Dental technician
can receive formal education and training through a two-year program in a
community college, technical or vocational school, or a dental school.

Dental Careers is indeed a rewarding, but it requires
patience, high levels of concentration, accuracy, methodological and scientific
approaches, eye for details, manual dexterity, as well as compassion to the
patients. If you think, you have these qualities then this is a perfect career
for you.

Randy Sutton