Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.
How much education and experience would I need for this career?
These jobs typically require a doctoral degree.
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Would I like this career?
If you're one of the following types of people, you would probably like this career!
- Realistic - You like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. You enjoy dealing with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. You enjoy outside work. Often you tend not to like occupations that mainly involve doing paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative - You like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking more than with physical activity. You like to search for facts and figure out problems mentally rather than to persuade or lead people.
- Social - You like work activities that assist others and promote learning and personal development. You prefer to communicate more than to work with objects, machines, or data. You like to teach, to give advice, to help, or otherwise be of service to people.
Determine Your Personality Types
The personality types described in the above section are based on the Holland RIASEC Codes. To find out what type you are, you can take this simple test, or download a more complex interest profiler from O*NET Online. Once you know your primary and secondary personality types, come on back to find the best career in health care for you!
What kinds of things would I do on a daily basis?
- Use masks, gloves and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.
- Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
- Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health, diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.
- Formulate plan of treatment for patient's teeth and mouth tissue.
- Use air turbine and hand instruments, dental appliances and surgical implements.
- Advise or instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.
- Design, make, or fit prosthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, bridges, or dentures, or write fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.
- Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.
- Fill pulp chamber and canal with endodontic materials.
- Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.
- Analyze or evaluate dental needs to determine changes or trends in patterns of dental disease.
- Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.
- Eliminate irritating margins of fillings and correct occlusions, using dental instruments.
- Perform oral or periodontal surgery on the jaw or mouth.
- Remove diseased tissue, using surgical instruments.
- Apply fluoride or sealants to teeth.
- Manage business, employing and supervising staff and handling paperwork and insurance claims.
- Bleach, clean, or polish teeth to restore natural color.
What skills would I need to be successful in this career?
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
- Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.]\
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Management of Financial Resources - Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
- Management of Material Resources - Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
- Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.