A Guide to Becoming a Dentist

A dentist is the one who is professionally trained in the field of dentistry and his primary work is to deal with the diagnosis, evaluation, prevention and treatment of dental diseases and decays. In fact, dentistry takes into account the impact of oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent structures on your overall health. When you visit a dentist, you will find him assisted by people like dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and dental therapists.

In order to become a dentist, all dentistry students must pass a two-part written national board examination followed by a written and practical state or regional board examination. In addition to these, a practicing dentist has to hold a license issued by the state. There is a scope for students to head into practice or pursue other specialized streams of dentistry.

Various fields of dentistry

General Dentistry: A dentist is a specialist in general dentistry and provides services associated with general maintenance of oral and tooth hygiene. You must visit your dentist regularly to build up a defensive system against deterioration of dental health. A dentist performs various restorative means to repair existing tooth damages. For this, he works on various diagnostic equipments for tooth scaling, flossing and cleaning.

Cosmetic Dentistry: A cosmetic dentist deals with improving the appearance of your teeth and beautifying your smile. Cosmetic dentistry treatments could also be directed towards restorative functions and generally are costlier than traditional dental treatments. Dental fillings with porcelain, metal or other composite material amalgams fall into this category. A cosmetic dentist would use lasers to perform cosmetic dental makeovers.

The various tasks incorporated by cosmetic dentistry include repairing chipped, crooked, broken or discolored tooth, whitening yellowed teeth, inserting dental implants, dental veneers, smile makeover and full mouth reconstruction. These procedures not only make your teeth beautiful but also provide greater durability and functionality to your teeth.

Specialty Dentistry: A dentist practicing in special fields of dentistry must undertake 4 -year DDS and DMD degrees certified by the American Dental Association. The following are the nine streams of specialty dentistry:

1. Dental Public Health- study of patterns, causes and prevention of diseases related to oral cavity
2. Endodontics- diagnosis and treatment of diseases of dental pulp and periradicular tissues
3. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology- study and treatment of diseases of mouth, jaw and face
4. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology- radiologic interpretation of diseases of mouth, jaw and face with the help of imaging devices
5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery- surgeries related to mouth, jaw and face for reconstruction of damaged dental structures
6. Orthodontics- straightening of teeth and correction of misaligned bite with the aid of braces and retainers
7. Pedodontics (Pediatric Dentistry)- various dental treatments exclusively of children
8. Periodontics- treatment of supporting dental structures like gum tissue
9. Prosthodontics- creation of restorations like dental crowns, dentures, bridges and implants