Dentists are an important part of our society. They help meet people’s needs in achieving good oral health by primarily taking care of their teeth and gums. They do this by performing basic services such as professional teeth cleaning, teeth whitening, tooth fillings, tooth extractions, or tooth replacements in the form of dental bridges or implants. They can help us look and feel younger by restoring or improving our smiles.
Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s degree in any Science related field
This will serve as your undergraduate degree before going to Dental school. Science related degrees help you prepare for the rigors of Dental school and puts you in a better position to meet the prerequisite requirements. This is also the most common path any aspiring Dentist would take.
Step 2: Take the Dental Acceptance Test
This timed multiple-choice test is administered the American Dental Association to assess the applicant’s overall capability in becoming a Dentist. Obtaining a good score is required in order for you to gain admission, get recommendations, and study for a Dental degree.
Step 3: Earn your Dental Degree
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) are the two different programs that students must study to become a Dentist. The two programs only differ in name but still offer the same outcome. Students learn the basics in the first half of the program and get to the clinical practice under the supervision of Dental Instructors on the 2nd half of the program.
Step 4: Pass the Written and Clinical Examinations to obtain license
The National Board Dental Examinations is a 2 part written exam while the Clinical exams vary by state. Only when you pass the written and clinical exams can you start earning legally and start practicing your profession as a Dentist.
Step 5: Postgraduate studies
Once you have started practicing your profession for a living, consider upgrading your skills set by continuing your education. There are 9 dental specialties you can choose from. Having a specialization increases how much you make for a living as a Dentist and makes you a more valuable asset to your community.
Dentistry is a lucrative and rewarding career but becoming one is no easy feat. The path to success is filled with challenges you must face and overcome. You need to be sure that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.