Why Go Into the Dental Field? 10 Tops Reasons
Thinking about your future career can be daunting. There are so many options out there, after all, and it can be hard to pinpoint the best place to use your skills. It’s not just about what you are good at, either—it’s also about your expected salary, whether the job is in demand, and whether or not you will enjoy the role itself. As you can see, there is so much to consider.
One field you might consider going into is dentistry. It’s not always the easiest field to get into, as many of the roles require extensive education, but the rewards from completing your education are extensive. Being a dentist is more than just a job—it’s a lifelong career.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in the dental field, here are ten top reasons you should do it.
1: The Various Career Options
You might think the dental field only offers a couple of careers, but that isn’t the case; there are numerous career options to choose from. You could solely work with kids as a pediatric dentist, or you could focus on a specific area of dentistry, such as an orthodontist. If you’re unsure what your career options are in the field of dentistry, here are the most popular:
- General dentist
- Dental assistant
- Dental hygienist
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
- Dental anesthesiologist
- Dentist receptionist
With multiple career options come various educational paths, too. If you want to become a dental hygienist, for example, you could do an online dental hygiene program. Upon completion of the program, you would be able to further develop your career.
On the other hand, if you want to become a general dentist, you will need to put around eight years into your schooling. For this reason, you should be sure that dentistry is your true calling.
2: The Lucrative Pay
Dentists earn a lot—much more than the average national salary. General dentists earn an average of $159K per year; orthodontists earn $208K; dental anesthesiologists earn $224K; and dental hygienists earn $77K.
As you can see, the dental field provides excellent pay. For many, this is a huge motivator to become a dentist, as a lucrative salary equals a more comfortable lifestyle. While you might need to spend many years in school, the outcome is a career that will benefit your wallet for many years.
3: No Two Days are Ever the Same
If you want a tedious career that has you doing the same task day in and day out, dentistry probably isn’t for you. While you may frequently repeat certain jobs such as applying braces, teeth removal, or providing anesthesia, that doesn’t mean every day is the same.
You’ll meet hundreds of people throughout your career, all with different lives and oral hygiene goals. Most dental careers are fast-paced and involve lots of human interactions, making it perfect for someone who likes to stay engaged.
4: People Appreciate Dentists
While wanting respect might not be your sole reason for pursuing a career, it certainly doesn’t hurt. People both respect and appreciate dentists, as they know it takes a lot of schooling, knowledge, and practice to be able to deliver excellent dental care. Plus, almost everyone has been to the dentist at some point in their life. Most of those people will have benefited from the dentist, whether from a tooth extraction that stopped pain or braces that gave them a beautifully straight smile.
5: You Can Open Your Own Practice
Do you like the idea of being your own boss? Well, good news—if you become a dentist, you can do just that. Opening a dental practice is a common goal amongst dentists, as it means you get to work for yourself while providing your local community with the best dental care.
By opening a practice, you can choose the opening hours, staff members, environment, and much more. You have more freedom as a dentist this way. You could even go with a certain angle, such as providing a dentist to people who often can’t afford treatment.
6: You Get to See Real Changes
Working in a job where you see little to no pay-off is rarely fun. Even if you do make a difference, if you can’t actively see it, it won’t satisfy you. That’s not the case with dentistry.
Whether you directly work on teeth or assist a dentist who does, you get to see the real impact your work has on patients. You’ll watch someone go from being self-conscious about their smile to grinning from ear to ear, all because of the work you have provided. Being in the dental field gives you a reason to be proud.
7: The Chance for a Flexible Career
After studying for many years to become a dentist, you’ll enter a career that boasts an increasingly desirable trait: flexibility. Dentists don’t work in the same way as offices or other types of businesses. More than likely, you won’t have to work the typical nine until five hours for five days a week. As a dentist, you’ll have more opportunities to work the hours that suit you, making more time for your personal life—a concept that should never be underestimated!
8: You’ll Work as Part of a Team
If you like collaboration and teamwork, dentistry might be for you. Whether you work at the reception desk or in the clinic, you will often have other team members around you. It means you’ll rarely feel lonely, and if you need a piece of advice or an extra hand, someone will be nearby to give it to you.
9: You’ll Look After Your Own Oral Health Better
One underrated benefit of working in the dentist industry is that you’ll learn all the best techniques for looking after your oral health. You’ll know the right toothpaste to use, the best way to floss, and when you need to go to the dentist.
Oral hygiene is crucial, and knowing this information could save you a lot of time, money, and pain in the future. If you end up becoming a dentist, remember to take your own advice!
10: You Get to Help Your Community
Possibly the best part about working in dentistry is that you get to make a real difference in your community. Dentists are an essential part of society; they provide dental care as well as advice to help people live better. It’s not just about appearance—it’s about helping people find their confidence, avoid pain, and even live longer. No one should ever underestimate the power of good oral hygiene.
Do You Have What It Takes?
With all of these benefits, you will likely be tempted to join the dental field. The question is, are you the right person for the role? There are a few points to consider first:
As previously mentioned, becoming a general dentist takes several years—usually eight. That’s a significant amount of time, no matter how young you are. You also need to consider the difficulty of dental school—it’s no walk in the park! Not everyone can do it, so think about whether you can manage the amount of education required.
If you want to become a dental assistant, dental hygienist, or dentist receptionist, you won’t need to spend as long in education. For example, you can become a dental hygienist in around two to four years, which is significantly less than eight!
What skills do you already possess? The skills you need to become a dentist include precision, reliability, organization, interpersonal, and leadership. While you can grow these skills over the years, it’s better to have them already if you want to beat the competition during dental school.
Being a dental receptionist requires skills, too—particularly interpersonal skills. You can’t speak to multiple people over the phone and in person every day without being good with people, after all.
Certain personalities do better in the dental field than others. When going to the dentist, you want the staff to be compassionate, understanding, and confident. Oral hygiene is a sensitive topic, after all, and every patient deserves to be treated with the utmost care and respect.
Dentistry is a competitive field. Many people want to become dentists, but not everyone has the drive. You need the motivation to put eight years into education! Before entering the dental field, think about how much you want to do it. If you don’t want it enough, someone who does will take your spot.
No one will tell you that becoming a dentist, orthodontist, dental hygienist, or periodontist is easy; and it shouldn’t be. With so much responsibility, you need to put everything you have into becoming only the best at dental care. What people will tell you is that a dental career is full of benefits. If you want to earn a high salary, work as part of a team, and make a difference in your community, a career in dentistry might be the right path for you.