Dentist

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Dentist
US Navy 030124-N-1328C-510 Navy dentist treats patients aboard ship.jpg
Description
Competenciescritical thinking, analytical skills, professionalism, management skills, and communication
Education requiredDoctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery
 
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Dentist
US Navy 030124-N-1328C-510 Navy dentist treats patients aboard ship.jpg
Description
Competenciescritical thinking, analytical skills, professionalism, management skills, and communication
Education requiredDoctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery

A dentist, also known as a 'dental surgeon', is a health care practitioner that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.

Training[edit]

All dentists in the U.S. must graduate from high school and complete required courses such as general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and statistics/calculus. While most dental schools require at least a bachelors degree, a few schools may consider admitting exceptional students after only 3 years of college. To apply, students must take the Dental Admissions Test. Admission to dental school is competitive, and is generally determined based on factors such as GPA, DAT scores, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities. To become a licensed dentist, one must then complete an accredited dental school curriculum and successfully master all clinical competencies and national board exams. Most dental school curricula require four years of training, however, some states require dentists to complete a post graduate residency program as well. In the U.S., a newly graduated dentist is then awarded the DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, degree or the DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine, degree depending on the dental school attended. The degrees are equivalent. A newly graduated dentist can then pursue further specialty residency training ranging from 2 to 6 years. Additionally, dentists participate in continuing education where they attend lectures to learn of recent developments, practice new methods, and earn continuing education hours. There are specific requirements for dentists to attend continuing education hours, and dentists who accumulate additional training are better prepared to handle a variety of cases and surprises during treatment. In the UK the training is similar except it is generally a five year undergraduate course leading to a BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery).

Responsibilities[edit]

A dentist in Finland treating a child

By nature of their general training, a licensed dentist can carry out most dental treatments such as restorative (dental restorations, crowns, bridges), orthodontics (braces), prosthetic (dentures), endodontic (root canal) therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, and exodontia (extraction of teeth), as well as performing examinations, taking radiographs (x-rays) and diagnosis. Additionally, dentists are allowed to engage in oral surgery when performing invasive procedures such as dental implant placement.[1] Dentists can also prescribe medications such as antibiotics, fluorides, pain killers, local anesthetics, sedatives/hypnotics and any other medication that serve in the treatment of the various conditions that arise in the head and neck.

Dentists need to take additional qualifications or training to carry out more complex procedures such as General anesthesia, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and implants. While many oral diseases are unique and self-limiting, poor conditions in the oral cavity can lead to poor general health and vice versa. Conditions in the oral cavity may be indicative of systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, AIDS, different blood diseases(including malignancies) etc.

Specialties [edit]

Official specialties

Specialists in these fields are designated "registrable" (in the United States, "board eligible") and warrant exclusive titles such as orthodontist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, endodontist, pediatric dentist, periodontist, or prosthodontist upon satisfying certain local accreditation requirements (U.S., "Board Certified").

See also[edit]

References[edit]