DENTISTS diagnose, prevent, and treat teeth and tissue problems. They remove decay, fill cavities, examine x-rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. They extract teeth and make models, and take measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. Dentists provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $160,000 average per year ($77.00 per hour)
- A medium occupation (99,000 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.6% per year)
All states require DENTISTS to be licensed, for which, candidates must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical exams. Some states require a specialty license to practice as a specialist which requires 2 to 4 years of post-graduate education. Dentists who teach or do research spend an additional 2 to 5 years in advanced dental training, in programs run by dental schools or hospitals. Dental schools require a minimum of 2 years of college-level pre-dental education. Most dental students have at least a bachelor's degree.