Dentistry is a noble profession and those looking to go into this area must be dedicated to eight years of post high school education in order to receive a diploma that will allow setting up a practice.
Before considering this area, determine if you are a good candidate. There are certain innate skills that are needed such as :
- Possessing an aptitude for science
- Ability to work with your hands
- Good communication skills
- Ability to organize and run a business
A high school background in chemistry, physics, health, math and biology will help develop a strong basis for college courses.
Choose a reputable college or university that will meet the requirements when applying for dental school after the bachelor’s degree has been earned. An undergraduate major in science is the norm for applying for dental school after the four years in college.
The next step after receiving your Bachelor’s degree is to take and pass the Dental Admissions Test or DAT.
After passing the DAT, an application is submitted to a reputable dental school, one that is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. The application will then be screened along with recommendations, undergraduate grades in acquiring the bachelor’s degree, and interviews with the candidate. If the application is accepted, the candidate is off to dental school.
Dental school usually lasts four years. Courses in biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and anatomy will be required. Classroom work as well as lab work will involve the typical future dentist’s daily schedule. During the final two years of dental school, the dental student will work under the supervision of an accredited dentist to give the student actual experience working with patients.
At the end of this educational stint, the dental student, after successfully completing dental school will graduate with a DDS degree (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine).
One more step is needed before obtaining the license to allow the graduate to practice in his or her state. Most states require the applicant for a license to pass practical tests as well as the written National Board Dental Examinations. Each state has its own requirements and the state’s dental board should be explored to see what the latest requirements toward attaining the dental license may be.
After obtaining a license, the dental graduate is ready to set up his or her practice to provide a valuable service to the community. Keeping abreast of new methods and procedures in dentistry is one way the dentist can continue to grow.
Although obtaining a dental license takes many years of hard work, the outcome is very rewarding. Dentistry is an essential profession that is necessary toward achieving proper oral health. Its importance within the community is immeasurable.