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What Does it Take to Be a Dentist?

Job Description: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.

What Do Dentists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.
  • Fill pulp chamber and canal with endodontic materials.
  • Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.
  • Use masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect patients and self from infectious diseases.
  • Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.
  • Perform oral or periodontal surgery on the jaw or mouth.

Dentist Skills

These are the skills Dentists say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • Endodontist
  • Family Dentist
  • Associate Dentist
  • Dental Intern
  • Pediatric Dentist

Job Demand for Dentists

In the United States, there were 132,800 jobs for Dentist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,700 new jobs for Dentist by 2026. The BLS estimates 6,400 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Dentists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Dentist are Arizona, Maryland, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in Kansas, Rhode Island, or Mississippi. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Dentist Salary

Dentists make between $72,810 and $208,000 a year.

Salary Ranges for Dentists

Dentists who work in Alaska, Delaware, or Minnesota, make the highest salaries.

How much do Dentists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $171,900
Alaska $259,350
Arizona $186,870
Arkansas $165,480
California $151,490
Colorado $174,930
Connecticut $213,390
Delaware $264,440
District of Columbia $183,630
Florida $167,270
Georgia $176,600
Hawaii $196,690
Idaho $172,020
Illinois $171,590
Indiana $183,800
Iowa $187,570
Kansas $179,100
Kentucky $154,230
Louisiana $124,020
Maine $203,920
Maryland $151,950
Massachusetts $177,410
Michigan $197,490
Minnesota $227,280
Mississippi $153,810
Missouri $191,240
Montana $170,260
Nebraska $135,080
Nevada $210,710
New Hampshire $226,300
New Jersey $169,990
New Mexico $173,610
New York $164,520
North Carolina $212,160
North Dakota $212,380
Ohio $197,150
Oklahoma $156,060
Oregon $190,690
Pennsylvania $153,950
Rhode Island $254,190
South Carolina $172,780
South Dakota $198,170
Tennessee $186,670
Texas $185,680
Utah $138,970
Virginia $199,870
Washington $184,780
West Virginia $139,170
Wisconsin $213,210
Wyoming $125,120

What Tools do Dentists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Dentists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Web browser software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Accounting software
  • Practice management software PMS
  • Henry Schein Dentrix
  • Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft
  • Kodak Dental Systems Kodak SOFTDENT Practice management software PMS
  • Henry Schein DentalVision Professional
  • Dental imaging software
  • Dental digital radiology software
  • Henry Schein Easy Dental
  • Kodak Dental Systems Kodak PRACTICEWORKS Practice management software PMS
  • Dental clinical records software
  • Dental charting software
  • DSN Software Oral Surgery-Exec
  • Voice-activated perio charting software
  • Dental intra-oral imaging software

How to Become a Dentist

Individuals working as a Dentist have obtained the following education levels:

Dentist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Dentist?

Dentist Work Experience

Dentists Sector

Dentist Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Dentists work:

Dentist Industries

References:

Image Credit: Michal Jarmoluk via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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