Dentist Career Information

A dentist's career is basically a professional specialist technical service provider. Dentists are highly trained, licensed and professional practitioners. They have strong professional ethics and obligations. Dentists are by definition case managers, working with individual patients on their specific dental needs. This is a consultation process, requiring excellent communications skills, particularly when dealing with pediatric dentistry and complicated scenarios. 

The work environment

Most dentists work in forms private practice. In some cases dentists may work with other forms of dentist. A general dentist may work with an orthodontist, or other type of specialist, where the practice requires a division of tasks, or where it makes good business sense to provide a range of services. These practices may be:

  • Sole practitioner
  • Partnerships
  • Clinics

The nature of the work

The dentist has to act as built in consultant, adviser, and therapeutic expert, as well as a dentist. Case management in dentistry can involve years of management of particular conditions, and in some case interaction with specialists and complex treatment regimes. 

The basic work includes, fillings, extractions, cleaning, stain removal, cosmetic dentistry, and prosthesis work, is all manual work. This is particularly difficult work requiring sometimes highly structured procedures. Dentists make it look easy, but if you consider the amount of technical knowledge required to prepare a basic filling, you can see the knowledge base required in actual practice. 

Other procedures, like prostheses, root canal work and other complex treatments are often involved, detailed processes. This includes modeling, consideration of any relevant structural issues, which may involve special design considerations.

Managing bone diseases, gum diseases, acidity, bite structure, and other technically tough issues may also form significant parts of this work. A dentist must be fully conversant with all aspects of the patient's condition. This can involve comprehensive testing, and in some cases advanced dental pathology. Again, the knowledge base is at the heart of effective treatment and case management.

Dental surgery can be a particularly difficult process. These procedures require excellent professional techniques, and may also include issues like infection management, pain management and wound care. 

Career overview

Dental careers can be particularly good business ventures in career terms. Private practice is much like any business, involving the same basic requirements for viability. A dental practice requires:

  • A strong client base
  • Good financial management
  • Control of outlays and expenditures on equipment and overheads

Many dentists specialize in particular areas of treatment, and work with general dentists using referrals as the basis of their business. A prosthodontist, (maker of dental prostheses) may set up a local service for dentists in the area. This is often an excellent business and career strategy for those dentists with particular areas of expertise. Good business and professional relationships are formed with other dentists, and both parties benefit from the association. 

Career progression in dentistry is very much a personal choice and inclination. Dentists tend to tailor their career moves to both professional and business goals. How a dental practice is structured is often a good indicator of career preferences. A successful dentist may open a larger practice, like a full service dental clinic.