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Career data updated last on 8/19/2014
Dentist Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctors of Dental Medicine (DMD), usually called dentists, diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth, gums, tongue, lips, and jaws. Dentists also play an important role in improving patients' appearances by performing a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures. Today's dentists use cutting edge technology to treat people, not just teeth and mouths.
Salary $69.78 hourly $145,140 yearly
Significant Points Employment of dentists is projected to grow nine percent through 2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most openings will result from the need to replace the large number of dentists expected to retire. The overall population is growing, particularly the number of older people, which will increase the demand for dental care. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are nine recognized specialties for dentists:

  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Oral Pathology
  • Prosthodontics
  • Oral Radiology
  • Public Health Dentistry
  • Oral Surgery
Work Environment Dentists usually work with a dental hygienist, or dental assistant. They may have their own practice; be part of a dental or medical group; or work in a hospital, public health department or the military. Some dental school graduates work for established dentists as associates for 1 to 2 years to gain experience and save money to equip an office of their own. Most dental school graduates, however, purchase an established practice or open a new one immediately after graduation.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements A minimum of three years (96 semester hours) of accredited college work is required to enter a school of dentistry. Sixty-four hours may be from a community or technical college. Thirty-two semester hours must be from a four-year college. Specific courses must include biology, physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry and English. Dentists must then complete four years of dental school. In addition, two to six more years could be required for specialty training. Dentists must graduate from schools recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. In order to practice, they must pass examinations approved by the National Board of Dental Examiners as well as a state licensing examination.


University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Doctoral Degree Doctoral

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