Dentistry is concerned with prevention and treatment of all health problems affecting the mouth, teeth, gums and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. General dentists’ job involves prevention and repair of infected teeth through cleaning and filling and makes referrals for any special condition.
The specialists in this profession are Orthodontists, Periodontists, Oral Surgeons, Pedodontists, Prosthodontists and Endodontists.
Let’s start off with discussing just what happens in professional dentistry. There are many different and required roles in any given dentist’s office, without even including the dentist themselves. Dentists have a similar role regarding your health to your family doctor in that we look after your general oral health instead of specializing in a specific area.
A dentist has graduated with a doctorate from a dental school and are licenced to practice dentistry. One major focus is on health management and prevention, which means we regularly check our patients for signs and symptoms of any oral, cranial (head), lymph, or neck-related health issues. We are also responsible for performing all of the dental procedures that go beyond routine cleanings.
Beyond general dentistry there are areas that dentists can specialize in after completing additional schooling after graduating from dental school. These specializations may include orthodontics, which is an area that is chiefly concerned with jaw and teeth alignment, and periodontistry, which is concerned with the gums and supporting structures of the mouth.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is another specialization that carries out oral and some facial, head, and neck bone surgeries and reconstructions. If you need to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you are probably dealing with more significant dental issues than most.
Cosmetic dentistry, also known as aesthetic dentistry, is concerned with the appearance of teeth, gums, and bite. Cosmetic dental work can work wonders for improving self esteem and repairing damage caused by physical injury, neglect, or natural development that’s not aesthetically pleasing.
What do they do?
Dentists work with patients to promote dental health. They diagnose and treat oral health issues and inform patients on preventative care and treatment. Most dentists are general practitioners who perform exams, fill cavities, and extract teeth; however, some choose a subspecialty of dentistry, such as orthodontics. Dental school graduates may work for established offices or set up their own practice.
Want to become a Dentist?
To practice as a dentist one must need at least a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Science (BDS). There is no specialisation at the bachelor level. If you want your career to grow, then you will have to be a specialist with a Masters (MDS) degree.
The main specialization areas of Dentistry are Orthodontics which deals with straightening and aligning teeth and jaws; Periodontics which specializes in the care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them; Operative Dentistry or Endodontics for root canal jobs, fillings and cosmetic surgery; Prosthodontics which involves the making of artificial teeth; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery which deals specifically with operations on the mouth and jaw, Pediatric Dentistryfor treating children and Oral Pathology which provides the diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth.
The BDS (Bachelor of Dental Science) degree programme is a 4 years course divided into 4 parts each of 1 years duration, followed by one year of rotating internship. Subjects such as basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology are covered in the first two years.
Specialization in dentistry and hands on training are provided in the last two semesters. Those who have completed the BDS should be registered to practice dentistry by the Dental Council of India.
An MDS (Masters in Dental Science) requires two years of additional training. The annual fees may range from 1 to 3 lakhs and the private institutions under management quota may charge 5 to 10 lakhs as capitation fee.
- Manual dexterity and precision
- Good judgement and aesthetic ability
- Good communication skills and manners
- Scientific acumen
- Good eyesight
- Composed and patient attitude
Dentists typically do the following:
- Remove decay from teeth and fill cavities
- Repair cracked or fractured teeth and remove teeth
- Straighten teeth to correct bite issues
- Place sealants or whitening agents on teeth
- Give anesthetics to keep patients from feeling pain during procedures
- Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications
- Examine x rays of teeth, gums, the jaw, and nearby areas for problems
- Make models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures, to fit patients
- Teach patients about diet, flossing, use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care
- Communication skills. Dentists must have excellent communication skills. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and receptionists.
- Detail oriented. Dentists must be detail oriented so patients receive appropriate treatments and medications. They must also pay attention to space, shape, and color of teeth. For example, they may need to closely match a false tooth with a patient’s other teeth.
- Dexterity. Dentists must be good at working with their hands. They work with tools in a limited area.
- Leadership skills. Most dentists work in their own practice. This requires them to manage and lead a staff.
- Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills, including keeping accurate records of patient care, are critical in both medical and business settings.
- Patience. Dentists may work for long periods of time with patients who need special attention. Children and patients with a fear of dental work may require a lot of patience.
- Physical stamina. Dentists should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for long periods.
- Problem-solving skills. Dentists need strong problem-solving skills. They must evaluate patients’ symptoms and choose the appropriate treatments.