Your Pre-Dental Planner

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Want to become a dentist? The first thing you'll need to know is what to expect. We've all visited dentists for our check-ups, but what exactly are they doing when they're poking around in your mouth?

The practice of dentistry covers all aspects of oral health, from maintenance to cosmetic surgery. Dentists are responsible for diagnosing, prescribing treatment, and managing care for all dental disorders and diseases. This responsibility involves not only the teeth and gums, but the tongue, lips, and jaw as well.

In addition to the everyday tasks that you usually associate with your check-up, dentists also perform cosmetic procedures like bleaching teeth and carry out trauma surgery, such as realigning a hockey player's jaw after a slapshot to the mouth. Dentists play a key leadership role in the education of both the general public and future dentists on pertinent healthcare issues.

Opportunities abound in numerous aspects of the profession. When most people hear the word dentist they tend to think of the undertakings of a private practitioner. But dentists also work in areas such as academia, research, public health policy, international healthcare, and hospital dentistry. Often, professionals will combine one or more of these fields. For example, a general practitioner could also moonlight as a clinical researcher or instructor at a university.

Dentists have several advantages that are unique to their field. First, they can act as their own bosses. Dentists can establish an ideal balance between personal and business life. By owning their own practice, they can adjust their hours to fit their own wants and needs. In addition, dentists are often at the forefront of the hi-tech movement, working with novel advances in an exciting, fast-paced, and perpetually changing environment.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average income of dentists is in the highest 5% of U.S. family income. However, more importantly, dentistry offers a high potential to help people improve their overall health and appearance. Thus, the career is flexible, fun, and rewarding, both monetarily and personally.

The Undergrad Journey To Becoming a Dentist

It is said that "the journey is often the reward, not the destination."

While that may be true in life, the proverb may not apply as easily to dentistry. Though gratifying in the end, the route to dental school and a career in dentistry is full of challenges. If you are dedicated and motivated you can succeed. Whether you have already decided on dentistry as a career or are just considering it as an option, Kaplan has the tools to help you do your best.