Thinking About a Career in the Dental Field? 9 Things You Need to Know!

Dentistry is a career in the medical field that is so rewarding that it’s no surprise people are interested in learning more and moving into this career path. If you’re interested in getting a career in dentistry or any job related to oral hygiene, then you’re probably interested in what makes it such a fantastic option. This career path has plenty of challenges and educational requirements but offers plenty of benefits as well. Here are some things that you should know about before pursuing the field of dentistry:

You Will Need to Be a People Person

The majority of dental jobs require you to communicate with your patients regularly. This could include explaining the procedure to them, calming them down during the operation, or even discussing how to improve their oral hygiene. Whatever job you aim to get in dentistry, you’ll have to have good people skills.

You’ll need to understand how to connect with your patients in a way that makes them feel comfortable. In addition, you’ll need to be able to educate them on their dental and oral hygiene. Being able to combine these is an important piece of jobs in the dental field.

Things to Know About a Career in the Dental Field |
Thinking About a Career in the Dental Field? 9 Things You Need to Know! 7

Networking Matters

Just like any other industry, networking is very important. Having the opportunity to network with dental professionals while you’re in training or dental school can help you immensely. This allows you to obtain industry knowledge while potentially helping you build up relationships with other dental professions. With these relationships, you can later get recommendations, tips, and direction on how to jump-start your career once you’ve completed school or training.

You Don’t Need to go to Dentistry School to Get Into the Field

There are a wide array of jobs you get in the dentistry field, and not all of them require advanced schooling. While dentistry work experience is very important, dental jobs can come in a variety of professions such as billing, management, or being a dental receptionist. These are just a few of the positions that do not require going to dentistry school.

There are plenty of Careers Within Dentistry

While you don’t need to go to dental school to start working in this field, going to dental school does open a wider variety of options for your career path. From general practice dentistry to specialized dental surgeons, your options are only limited by what you want to do and how much schooling you want to get. There are even options such as becoming a dental researcher, which generally requires that you have a PhD.

You Can Only Do So Much

Whether you want to become a dentist, are figuring out how to become a dental nurse, or are interested in becoming a dental specialist, one thing you need to understand is that you can only do so much for your patients. Many people are afraid of the dentist and tend to avoid their visits. Even if you work hard and consult a patient on what they should do to keep their gums and teeth healthy, it’s up to them to listen to you and follow instructions.

Dental health is very serious and it can affect the whole body. Sadly, some patients believe that their oral health isn’t a big deal so will take little to no responsibility. While this can be discouraging to many dentists, nurses, and hygienists, it’s important to just keep going and to understand that the patients who care little about their health are only a minority.

Dental School is a Huge Investment

Dental school is a huge investment, but so are training programs for becoming medical billers, coders, technicians, and dental nurses. All of these programs can be very expensive. On top of that, they take up a lot of your time and energy. It takes an average of 6 years of university education to become a dentist in the UK. If you want to become an oral surgeon such as an orthodontist, you can expect the schooling to take much longer. While the investment is huge, the payoff is rewarding. It all comes down to perspective and choosing the right path for yourself.

You Have the Option of Working for Yourself or being an Associate

Many dentists or oral surgeons look for dental jobs at a hospital, urgent care facility, or other dentists practice. Some, however, choose to open up their own private practice. There are plenty of pros and cons to working for yourself. Having your own private practice allows for more of a connection with patients, a larger say in the hiring process and management of the business, and allows you to choose the others you work with.

On the other hand, having a private practice requires you to pay your own malpractice insurance, deal with employee salaries, purchase your own equipment, and more.

While dentists with a private practice seem to have more flexibility in their careers, there are also huge benefits to working as an associate dentist. You’re able to do the things you love and help your patients with their oral health, without the extra burden and stress of managing the day-to-day operations.

Burnout Amongst the Dental Industry is Common

Unfortunately, the dental field has the lowest retention rates amongst all industries in the medical field. While many professions both in and out of the medical field are at risk of having burnout, dentistry is one of the highest. This profession causes both mental and physical stress in day-to-day work. While burnout is particularly present in dentists, it is also regularly seen in other professionals who work in the dental field, as well.  Some of the reasons for burnout include having a busy schedule, lack of sleep and chronic tiredness, and hostile patients. It’s important to be around good staff and allow yourself time off to help combat burnout.

Dental Equipment is Always Changing

Just like many other industries, those who work in the dentistry field need to keep up with the latest technology. While purchasing new equipment can be expensive, it’s crucial to ensure the best possible care for your patients. Knowing and understanding the newest technologies is important not only to dental technicians but to everyone who works in the dental office.

A career in the dental field is a great choice for many. It can be hard work and takes a lot of dedication. But for those who choose dentistry, it’s worth it.