Dentist Career

dentist-500Dentists diagnose and treat problems occurring with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth. They provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.

Although most dentists practice in general office settings, many choose to work in areas other than a basic family practice. Dentists may work in hospitals and specialty clinics as orthodontists, endodontists. periodontists and prosthodontists. As is the case with other medical doctors, dentists may also practice as radiologists, surgeons, pathologists, and public health specialists.

Dentist Career Snapshot

Typically, dentists work full time in dentists’ offices with a small staff of assistants, other dentists or alone. If there is a demand in their community, dentists may also work evenings and weekends. Twenty-five percent of dentists are self-employed.

Further details on a career as a dentist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for dentists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Doctoral degree while 7% have some college, but no degree.

Dentist Education

Dentists must complete a doctoral-level dental school program before sitting for written and practical exams in their state. Aspiring dental specialists, such as orthodontists or pediatric dentists, must also complete a two to four-year residency program in their area of specialty.

Dentist Job Duties

In addition to routine dental examinations and fillings, dentists may also remove teeth, repair cracks in teeth, prescribe antibiotics to treat oral infections and read X-rays to diagnose structural dental issues. Dentists also perform administrative office tasks such as bookkeeping, maintaining supplies and buying equipment. They also supervise dental hygienists, assistants, laboratory technicians and receptionists.

Dentist Salaries

The average salary for dentists in May 2015 was $158,310 as shown from statistics, with the lowest paid ten percent earning less than $68.400 and the highest paid ten percent earning more than $187,200. Orthodontists and, oral and maxillofacial surgeons had the highest average salary of $187,200 or more per year.

Dentist Job Outlook

Opportunities for dentists are growing faster than average and are expected to increase eighteen percent between 2014 and 2024. Some factors behind this growth include more demand from aging baby-boomers, improved access to health insurance and the increased popularity of cosmetic dental procedures.

Dentist Skills & Abilities

Dentist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Dentists:Typical Work Activities:
• Critical Thinking
• Decision making
• Active Listening
• Complex Problem Solving
• Monitoring
• Finger Dexterity
• Problem Sensitivity
• Arm-Hand Steadiness
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Dental elevators
• Dental forceps
• Dental hand pieces
• Dental material pluggers
• Dental probes
• Getting Information
• Working directly with the public
• Caring for others
• Decision making
• Using relevant knowledge

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