How to Become a Dentist

With demand for trained healthcare workers on the rise, you may be wondering how to become a dentist. This challenging field is not simply about diagnosing and treating health concerns to do with the teeth, tongue, lips and jaw. Dentists are also able to recognize the symptoms of several other health concerns, including high blood pressure and cancer.

Dentists perform procedures to repair damage caused by medical conditions or injuries to the teeth and gums. They also perform implants, laser surgery and tissue grafts, if necessary. Some dentists also offer aesthetic services to improve the patient’s appearance through cosmetic dentistry techniques. Part of their work also involves teaching patients about good oral health and its role in preventing disease.

Education Required to Become a Dentist

You can start preparing for a dental career in high school by making sure you enroll in classes in biology, chemistry and algebra. Taking other math and science courses will be helpful. You will want to be sure the view have a well-rounded liberal arts education as well, since this will help you develop the skills you need to understand your future patients and be able to help them effectively.

You will need to complete an undergraduate degree before applying to dental school. You don’t need to major in science, although some future dentists choose to major in biology or chemistry. Your degree program will need to include science courses, and it’s a good idea to take psychology and business courses to get a good base of knowledge before dental school.

All applicants to a dental program must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The test is used to measure a candidate’s knowledge of scientific information, as well as his or her general academic and perceptual ability. The exam consists of multiple choice questions.

The DAT is divided into four separate parts, covering the following subjects:

• Natural Sciences (biology, general and organic chemistry)
• Perceptual Ability (when solving two and three-dimensional problems)
• Quantitative Reasoning (algebra, conversions, numerical calculations)
• Reading Comprehension (basic sciences and dental)

Dental schools ask for the result of the DAT and consider it, along with other factors, when deciding which applicants will be offered a place in a program.

The D.M.D. program runs for four years and includes courses in:

• Clinical Treatment Planning
• Complete Dentures
• Concepts in Special Patient Care
• Dental Anatomy and Occlusion
• Growth, Development and Aging
• Head and Neck Anatomy
• Implant Dentistry
• Operative Dentistry
• Oral Pathology
• Pain and Anxiety Control
• Pharmacology and Dental Therapeutics
• Physiology
• Preventive Dentistry
• Principles of Oral Surgery

Become a Licensed Dentist

In most states, dentists are required to write a write a licensing exam before they will be allowed to practice. State regulations also determine the number of continuing education credits a dentist must complete to retain his or her license.

If you are wondering how to become a dentist, the answer is that you need to complete a D.M.D. program at a dental school and pass a licensing exam before you will be able to work in this field.

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