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Dentistry is the health profession dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and injuries involving the teeth and oral cavity. While some people have the perception that all dentists do is fill cavities, the work of a dental professional concerns much more than just treatment of carious lesions on teeth. In addition, general dentists frequently perform root canals, extract teeth, create crowns and bridges, place implants, construct dentures, treat gum disease and screen for oral cancer. A career in dentistry not only requires well developed manual dexterity for working in the small confines of the oral cavity, but also requires detailed knowledge of oral radiology, anethesiology and pharmacology allowing for the best possible treatment of the patient.

Because most dentists work in private practice, the duties of a dentist extend beyond patient care to include the many administrative tasks involved in the management of a small business. While most end up owning their own practice, some choose to work in larger group practices, work in hospitals, teach and practice at universities, or work in the research field. The majority of young dentists just starting their career start off as associates with an established dentist to gain experience and income before purchasing or starting a practice of their own.


Dental office


While the majority of dental professionals work in general dentistry, about 20% choose to pursue a speciality field in dentistry. Dental specialties include orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery / oral-maxillofacial surgery, prosthodontics, oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, and public health dentistry. Dentistry specialists expand from the general dentist's duties to include procedures like correcting teeth and jaw alignment issues through orthodontics and removing oral cancer or repairing facial bone fractures with oral maxillofacial surgery. Specializing requires an additional 2 to 6 years of education / residency beyond the standard 4 years of dental school. The below chart shows the approximate number of dentist in the United States by specialty field:


136,000
9,400
7,700
4,978
3,300
5,100
4,400
5,756

Source: ADEA


How long is the average work week for a dentist?

On average, dentists work between 35 and 40 hours a week during either 4 or 5 work days. Young dentists tend to work long hours and more days while the more established dentists tend to cut down their work time.


What is the average income for a dentist?

Statistics for the average earning of dentists varies by source. The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor indicates the average for a general dentist is about $130,000 per year, while the American Dental Association (ADA) lists the average net income for a general dentist who owns a practice as about $186,000. Specialists earn about $315,000 on average according to the ADA.


Application Advice
Dental Application Info & FAQ
DAT Information & FAQ
Secondary Application Info
Dentistry as a Career
Life in Dental School
Dental School Interview
Dental School Statistics
Paying For Dental School
Dental Licensing Exam Information
NBDE Part I Information
NBDE Part II Information

 




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