Dentistry is a highly respected and well-paid career choice, especially for those who like to help others. Depending on your choice of specialism, you will be able to provide a much needed service to a wide range of children, teenagers and adults who want to take care of their oral hygiene. You may even choose to specialize as a cosmetic dentist who carries out non-essential procedures on patients to help them to improve their smiles. Here are some tips on how to become a dentist:
1. Speak to dentists in your area to see if you can do any work experience at their surgery. Whilst you will not be allowed to try your hand at any procedures, many dentists take on volunteers to help with back office tasks. In these roles, you are able to learn a lot about the way that dental surgeries work and you may be invited to watch some processes to help to improve your dental knowledge. These experiences can help you to decide whether you actually want to pursue a career in dentistry. Dentists who are willing to take on volunteers will usually be happy to talk to them about their chosen career path. Volunteering with a few different dentists can also help you to choose a specialism.
2. Be prepared for a lot of hard work. In many places, it will take at least 8 years of higher education (after high school) before you are fully qualified to practice dentistry. You should take the time to consider whether you want to make this kind commitment before you begin your studies.
3. Research dental school requirements before making your choices about your college major. Whilst majoring in science is not always a requirement at college, some dental schools do want applicants to have passed certain courses before they can be accepted. If you have a specific dental school in mind, check their entry requirements early on during college, so that you can give yourself plenty of time to meet them.
4. Try to maintain a high GPA throughout college. Dental school can be very competitive, and the best dental schools will only accept people who have proven academic abilities and can show evidence of some kind of work experience.
5. Maintain focus throughout dental school. This is where you will learn all of the most important skills and techniques which you will use once you are a qualified dentist. At this stage you may get the opportunity to work on real patients, so it is important that you always listen carefully and maintain focus, or you could end up doing more harm than good. Thankfully, your work will be monitored by competent professionals, to ensure that you are learning all of the correct skills for your future as a practicing dentist.
Anybody who is training to be a dentist will also know the importance of looking after their own teeth. Make sure your teeth stay healthy by visiting your own dentist regularly, so you can wow your patients with your own stunning smile.