A dentist in general practice must dedicate years of study to prepare for a profession that requires patience, manual dexterity, communication skills, physical stamina and good eye-hand coordination. The demand in the United States may continue to increase until 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the level of pay makes it an attractive occupation. The British Dental Journal reports a demand as well with “68 percent of NHS practices” in England struggling to fill the vacant posts.
Dentistry offers essential services to an aging population and responds to research on oral health and overall well-being. Contemporary practice allows the replacement of teeth with permanent implants hygienically and safely. History reveals that the ancient Chinese and Egyptians used bamboo or copper pegs as tooth replacements. The practice of modern implantology shows an increase in innovations in the 60s and 70s in the United States. A remarkable advance occurred with the “threaded titanium root-form implant,” and innovations continue to improve the options for patients who need to replace a missing tooth.
Examining the Job Profile of a Dentist
Dental schools require students to hold at least a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on science courses. An application to a dental school usually requires students to take the Dental Admission Test that helps schools evaluate the potential for success. Once admitted, dental students pursue coursework in anatomy, anesthesia, periodontics and radiology.
Each dental student receives clinical experience with patients under the guidance of a licensed dental professional. Specialties such as implantology require candidates to train for two or more years that general practitioners do not need. As a doctor of oral health, dentists provide preventative and restorative procedures that protect patients from disease and tooth loss.
Anyone who chooses to study the complex dental field can receive the respect and prestige that goes with the status of earning a doctoral degree. The job profile for such professionals incorporates a high level of education and the ability to provide an essential medical service. The duties promote oral health, prevent pain and contribute to the overall well-being of patients.