Dentists, or doctors of oral health, can be awarded a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Dentists’ responsibilities include “diagnosing oral diseases, promoting oral health and disease prevention, creating treatment plans to maintain or restore the oral health of their patients, interpreting x-rays and diagnostic tests, ensuring the safe administration of anesthetics, monitoring growth and development of the teeth and jaws, performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone and soft tissues of the oral cavity and managing oral trauma and other emergency situations” (ADA, 2013).
Like medical school, dental school requires four years of training and follows similar didactic coursework of anatomy & physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology and pathology. Also similar to doctors, “dentists must pass both a rigorous national written examination and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice. As a condition of licensure, they must meet continuing education requirements for the remainder of their careers, to keep them up-to-date on the latest scientific and clinical developments” (ADA, 2013). Because most dentists work in private practice, this profession is particularly suited to those who wish to work a typical 9 – 5 schedule.
For more information regarding the field of dentistry please visit ADA. For more information on pathways to oral health careers including dental hygienist, dental assistant, and dental laboratory technicion, please view information provided by Montana AHEC.
UM Career Advisor: Mark Pershouse
Program Quick Facts
Application Service: AADSAS (Associated American Dental Schools Application Service)
Entrance exam: DAT (Dental Admission Test)
Length of education program: 4 years