Your online link to news and information on dentistry and oral health in Canada.
Dentistry is one of the most rewarding professions to pursue. Through education, diagnosis and treatment, dentists provide the public with an essential health service. Research is continuing to show that the link between oral health and general health is strong.
Before applying to dental school, you must determine whether it is the right career choice for you, what the educational and training requirements are and what opportunities a dental degree can offer you beyond the scope of general practice.
What you may not realize is that dentistry is an artistic as well as scientific profession.
Ask yourself these questions:
The scope of a dentist's work is much broader today than ever before. Dentists are oral health experts. They have the skills, training and expertise to know how the health of your teeth, gums and mouth relate to your general health.
Today's dentists do more than drill and fill patients' teeth; they perform a wide variety of procedures and functions. Though some dentists specialize or develop expertise in particular areas, the number and range of services that dentists provide has steadily grown.
The typical dentist is involved in:
Dentists treat and interact closely with people of all ages and personalities. Each patient has unique problems and concerns, so the dentist develops and carries out unique treatment plans for each individual. As a result, the dentist's typical day is diverse and interesting.
The practice of dentistry involves a strong artistic element. Much of dentistry is a detailed craft involving careful, precise handwork. Whether the task is to brighten one tooth or realign an entire jaw, dentists must have an artist's esthetic sense and technical ability to produce the best possible results.
Dentists rely on intelligence and experience to determine what is best for all patients. Dentists constantly make creative decisions in the development and implementation of treatment plans for their patients. They must consider a number of complex factors before they can make these decisions.
Because dentists provide an essential health care service, they occupy a highly respected position within the community. A Patient's oral welfare, and much of their total well-being, is in the dentists hands.
Because they are skilled, conscientious professionals, dentists earn the respect and appreciation of their patients and fellow citizens. They have opportunities to work as community leaders, educators, physicians and government officials.
Dentistry, perhaps more that any other branch of medicine, offers professional flexibility. Most dentists enjoy independence and the flexibility that goes along with the independence, by establishing private practices on their own or in a group. Private practitioners can work either full-time or part-time and have the freedom to choose their own hours. Thus, they can easily structure their personal and professional lives according to their individual needs and desires.
In addition to solo and group practices, dentistry provides opportunities to work in a variety of other avenues: city, provincial and federal government agencies, such as public health departments; community non-profit and educational agencies; research programs sponsored by universities, foundations and corporations and armed forces programs.
Income is an important consideration in selecting a career. Traditionally, dentists have earned a more than adequate income. In fact, dentistry can provide considerable financial security.
Dentistry is an evolving profession. The need for professional dental services will remain strong in the years ahead, even though changing patterns in dental disease will affect the nature of dental practice. Thanks to fluoride and improved dental techniques, tooth decay is declining, especially among children and teens. However, periodontal disease continues as a serious threat, affecting three out of four adults.
Tomorrow's dentists will meet public oral health needs with advanced techniques, including vaccines that fight tooth-decay, new anxiety-relieving methods and sophisticated materials and procedures to enhance appearance.
At the same time, the population is living longer and more people will keep their own teeth longer, so the demand for preventive and restorative services will increase, while the need for extractions and "false teeth" will decrease.
One of the most notable benefits of a career in dentistry is personal fulfillment. Dentists perform an important public service while helping people look and feel healthier and more attractive.
Dentists provide many services, including:
The more you know about the practice of dentistry, the more certain you can be about your decision. If you would like to learn more about pursuing a career in dentistry, talk to dentists in your community and/or ask to visit a dental office. The dental society in your area, or a local dental school, may also be able to direct you to other sources of information.