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Dentist

Job Duties

Dentists deal with physical problems involving teeth or mouth tissue. They diagnose, prevent, and treat these problems, removing decay, filling cavities, examining x rays, placing protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straightening teeth, and repairing fractured teeth. They perform corrective surgery on gums, replace missing teeth, and give instruction to patients concerning diet, brushing, flossing, and using fluoride. They use many types of equipment, such as x ray machines, drills, and instruments such as mouth mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. In order to protect themselves from infectious diseases, they wear masks, gloves, and safety glasses.

Most dentists are general practitioners and are responsible for a wide range of dental procedures. Others specialize in one particular area. Orthodontists straighten teeth using braces and retainers; oral surgeons operate on the mouth and jaw; pediatric dentists work with children; periodontists treat gums and supporting bones; prosthodontists replace missing teeth with crowns, bridges, or dentures; endodontists perform root canal therapy; public-health dentists promote good dental health through education; oral pathologists study oral diseases; and oral radiologists diagnose diseases in the head and neck.

Job Skills

Dentists should have good visual memory, good special judgment, well-developed manual dexterity, and a scientific aptitude. Those who start a private practice need to have good business sense, self-discipline, and good communication skills.

Income

In 2002, dentists earned a median annual salary of $123,210. Earnings varied depending on experience, location, and specialty. Self-employed dentists earned more, on average, than salaried dentists.

Training and Education

Dentists must be certified in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. Most State licenses require graduation from one of the 55 dental schools accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation and the successful completion of an examination. In order to be accepted into a dental school, students must have at least 2 years of college-level predental education, but most have a bachelor's degree. Applicants must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), scores from which help determine an applicant's admission, along with grade point average, recommendations, and interviews. Competition for admission to dental programs is high. Dental school usually lasts 4 academic years, and upon graduation, students are granted the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or the equivalent Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Employment

In 2002, dentists held about 153,000 jobs. About 2 in 5 were self-employed. About 80% in private practice were sole proprietors, and 13% belonged to a partnership.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of dentists is expected to increase more slowly than the average. Demand for dental care will rise, due to the aging baby-boom generation and the large number of retiring dentists. However, more dentists are expected to hire dental hygienists and dental assistants to help meet this demand. Dentists are expected to provide more services that relate to preventing the loss of teeth, rather than dealing with dental problems as they arise.

For more information on becoming a dentist, please see our directory of schools offering Medical Training


Dentist Training

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            Dental Assistant
            • Offers career placement assistance services to recent graduates.
            • Approved to accept international students who wish to study in the United States.
            • Programs include Medical Office Specialist, Medical Assistant, Dental Lab Technician, and Healthcare Administration.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
            • Main campus is located in Van Nuys, California, north of Los Angeles.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Dental Assisting
            • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
            • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
            • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
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            • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
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            Certificate - Dental Assistant
            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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            Dental Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
            UEI College , El Monte
            • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
            • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
            • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
            • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
            • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
            • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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            Dental Assistant
            Brightwood College , Bakersfield

            About Brightwood College

            Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

            About Education Corporation of America

            Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

            Dental Assisting
            • Offers medical and cosmetic programs, including dental assisting, massage therapy, cosmetology, esthetics, and more.
            • Features a public salon and spa where students may get real-world experience.
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            Platt College , Ontario
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            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
            • Offers special tuition pricing for Veterans, Active Duty Military and spouses/qualifying dependents of all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserves.
            • Works closely with an advisory board from the medical community to ensure that their curriculum, equipment and instruction are current.
            • Allows students to complete assignments on the go with its Blackboard Learn mobile app.
            • Gives online students live student support for technical or course questions.
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            Medical Specialties (AOS)
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            Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science
            • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
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