What is dentistry?
Dentistry is a branch of healthcare devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of problems in the oral cavity and surrounding maxillofacial structure. Dentists are highly sophisticated health professionals who provide a wide range of oral care from the instruction of proper diet and brushing to complete facial reconstruction. They remove tooth decay, fill cavities, straighten teeth, treat gum diseases, and replace missing teeth. A variety of equipment, including x-ray machines, lasers, digital scanners, drills, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels is used to complete their clinical diagnosis and procedures. Dentists have a significant impact on the quality of their patients’ daily lives through the prevention of tooth decay, periodontal disease, malocclusion, and oral-facial anomalies that can cause immense pain, oral infection, improper jaw movement, or altered facial appearance. Dentists are also becoming vital for the early detection of oral cancer, heart disease, and other systemic conditions that manifest symptoms in the mouth.
The field of dentistry is rapidly changing and expanding, with excellent financial compensation and high job demand. Dentists provide an essential healthcare service and are highly respected within the community. They are able to interact with people of all ages, cultures, and personalities on a daily basis and maintain strong, long term doctor-patient relationships with them. The dental profession encompasses a range of activities including in-clinic procedures, public education, volunteer oral care, cutting edge research, and academic professorship. Dentists work 35-40 hours on average per week, and approximately 90% work in private practice with the remaining 10% in a salaried position. The median annual wage of salaried general dentists was $142,870 in May 2008. Self-employed general dentists in private practice tend to earn more than salaried general dentists, and dental specialists tend to earn more than general dentists. Through their actions, dentists have the ability to physically improve their patients’ smiles, directly affecting their self-esteem and happiness.
For more information about the field of Dentistry, take a look at the following websites:
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about dentistry, here are some great ways to introduce yourself to the field and see what dentistry is all about: