The dental recruitment industry continues to see a growing number of people entering the dental professional, with a greater variety of roles to fill than ever. But of all the different roles within the dental industry, from dental hygienist to dental nurse, the primary role remains that of the dentist.
For anyone considering the position of dentist as a career choice, what sort of things are involved? It can be easy to assume, based on our own experiences of visiting a dentist, just what is involved, but this isn’t the right way to choose a career.
What patients see is very much one side of the job, and there is much more that goes on besides peering in mouths and asking people to describe their last holiday with most of the contents of a toolbox wedged between their jaws.
In today’s post we’ll take a very quick look at the sort of things involved in the job of dentist, what sort of qualifications and experience is necessary, and what career options are open to people who end up filling a dental vacancy.
What’s Involved In Being A Dentist?
The role of the dentist is much wider than patients assume. The following overview shows what’s usually involved in being a professional dentist:
• Carrying out checkups of patients’ teeth and gums to ensure good oral health and hygiene
• Completing and updating all dental records
• Identifying and accurately diagnosing dental conditions and diseases
• Carrying out basic dental hygiene and cleaning (more thorough dental hygiene and cleaning is carried out by a dental hygienist)
• Carrying out a wide range of dental treatments such as fitting crowns and fillings
• Advising patients on appropriate dental hygiene and care, such as flossing
• Assessing the most suitable treatments for patients and agreeing dental plans
• Making referrals for patients to see other specialists where necessary, such as therapists or hygienists
• Using local anaesthetic where necessary for carrying out treatments such as fillings
• Taking X-rays
• Managing the staff at the dental surgery, and carrying out or organising all suitable training
• Managing the marketing and advertising of the dental practice
• Maintaining and managing the equipment, stock and finances of the dental practice
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Dentist?
Across the UK there are currently 13 officially recognised dentist schools, and it will be necessary to complete a Bachelor of Dentistry or a Bachelor of Dental Health degree at one of these. Typically these degrees take about five years to complete.
But it isn’t simply a case of enrolling on one of these courses, because places are limited and there is usually fierce competition to be chosen to study at one of these dental schools. Therefore it is important to gain excellent grades in GCSE maths, English and all of the sciences, and a minimum of three A-Levels at grades ABB or higher. One of these A-Levels should be a science, and another maths.
Once you have completed the degree you will then enter a period of vocational training during which you will work under the supervision of a dental practice.
What Career Options Are Open To Dentists?
Having worked so hard to achieve the position of professional dentist it might seem as though that’s it, but in fact there are several options for those dental professionals who want to explore new opportunities or specialise in particular fields.
After the vocational training is over the next logical step is to become an associate of a dental practice, which effectively means that you are self employed, working in a dental surgery owned by somebody else. The next step is of course to move on to become a partner in a dental practice, in which role you will have a say in the running of the entire dental practice.
Beyond this there are a number of postgraduate courses available which allow dentists to specialist in specific areas such as orthodontics or dental surgery.
Don’t forget that when you’re ready to start looking for dental jobs, here at Dental Gateway we have one of the largest selections of high quality dental vacancies, as well as giving you the chance to upload your CV and become approached by the dental surgeries themselves.