Your dentist is the go-to for all your oral health needs. He or she may not be on your speed dial, but when your tooth has an ache, you know who you need to call. As a dental professional, he or she has completed years of extensive training.
Dentists usually complete at least three years of undergraduate science-focused curriculum. Many dental schools require a bachelor’s degree prior to entering a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DDM (doctor of dental medicine) program.
Once accepted into dental school, new students spend two years of their lives learning everything they need to know to successfully become a dentist. Courses include biochemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology and other science classes.
The last two years of dental school are usually spent putting their newfound knowledge into practice. Most dental schools have low-cost dental clinics that allow dentists-to-be to perfect their skills on patients while being supervised by a veteran dentist.
After graduation, the newly minted dentist can choose to practice as a general dentist or they can become a dental specialist. Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental specialist. Dental/oral health specialists include the following:
– Pediatric Dentist: Dentist for children
– Endodontist: Pulp (the soft tissue of the tooth) specialist
– Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon: Facial surgeon who works primarily in the oral cavity
– Orthodontist: Specialist who aligns teeth to the optimal location
– Periodontist: Treats gum-related diseases
– Prosthedontist: Restores and replaces teeth
– Oral Pathologist: Diagnoses oral diseases
The next time you visit your dentist, make sure to think about all the hard work he or she did to become a dentist and remember that you are in good hands!