Is a Career in Dentistry Right for You?
A career in dentistry can be very rewarding — just ask any member of the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team! We are truly passionate about the field of dentistry and each of our team members plays a vital role in helping patients maintain healthy and beautiful smiles. If you are curious about pursuing a career in dentistry — whether as a dentist, dental hygienist or office staff member — we’ve compiled some helpful background and tips to help you explore the fascinating field of dentistry.
Types of dental positions
When you go to “the dentist,” you are actually visiting a skilled team of individuals with unique skill sets that contribute to your oral care. While the dentist is ultimately responsible for your smile by diagnosing and treating dental issues, they rely on skilled dental hygienists to thoroughly clean your teeth and administer x-rays before your consultation. Dental laboratory technicians are dental team members who perform the specialized function of designing and building corrective devices for teeth such as crowns, dentures and implants. They make precise impressions and molds using materials and technologies to help patients restore their natural smiles. In order to run smoothly and efficiently, dental practices also depend on a team of front and back-office workers, treatment coordinators and general assistants. It truly takes teamwork to build sparkling smiles!
What are the requirements for each dental job?
Dentist: The journey to becoming a dentist begins with a passion for helping others. Those who are serious about pursuing a career in dentistry must attend college to earn a bachelor’s degree in a science-related area. The next step is to apply and be accepted into one of the 68 highly selective accredited dental schools In the U.S. After completing four years of dental school, aspiring dentists will have earned their doctor of dental surgery (DDS) or doctor of dentists in medicine (DDM) degree. Dental specialties such as oral or maxilla facial surgery and pediatric dentistry require an additional year of study and certification.
Dental hygienist: Similar to becoming a dentist, aspiring dental hygienists require specialized education and training to pursue their careers in dentistry. There are roughly 300 accredited dental hygiene education programs in the U.S., which are typically offered at community and technical colleges. Those who are studying to become dental hygienists receive hands-on instruction in a clinical setting where they interface with dental patients. Following training, they must pass an exam in order to become a registered dental hygienist (RDH).
Dental lab technician: Aspiring dental lab techs do not need to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree; one may embark on this career right out of high school — or at any stage of life! After completing a certified dental lab technician program, applicants must pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. Technicians can then opt to specialize in any of the following areas: implants, dentures, crown/bridges, ceramics or orthodontics.
Dental support team member: Dental practices (and patients!) rely on key support team members to help their offices function smoothly and efficiently. Ideal dental team member candidates are friendly, punctual, good communicators and have some proficiency in basic office computer applications. No specialized degrees or certifications are required for a front or back-office dental position.
Why is a career as a dentist rewarding?
It takes a lot of hard work, passion and dedication to become a dentist. So why take the time and put in the effort to pursue a career in dentistry? Many dentists choose this career path in order to make a profound and positive impact on their patients’ lives. By nurturing healthy smiles, dentists also bolster the self-confidence and overall wellness of their patients. Innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs continue to evolve the field of dentistry and help dentists deliver optimal patient outcomes and results. Dentists also typically enjoy a good salary and work-life balance. The rewarding nature and exciting potential within the field of dentistry contribute to its reputation as a top-ranked profession!
Dr. E’s path to becoming Ahwatukee’s best dentist
An emergency trip to the dentist as a child to have her front tooth fixed sparked Dr. Janet Euzarraga’s dream to pursue a career in dentistry. Every day at “work,” she is grateful to have the ability to help patients improve self-esteem through achieving healthy, beautiful smiles. On her path to becoming a dentist, Dr. E completed her bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola University and later obtained her dental degree from Loyola University School of Dentistry. Before relocating to Arizona, she practiced dentistry in Northern Illinois for 14 years. Dr. E began serving the Ahwatukee community in 2001 and she is SO proud to have earned the title of Ahwatukee’s Best Dentist for the sixth consecutive year!
Would you like to learn more about a career in dentistry? Visit this helpful link or contact the Dr. E Cosmetic and Family Dentistry team — we love hearing from our patients and we’re always available to answer your questions!