A dentist is a medical professional who cares for the oral health of his patients. Dentists administer both prophylactic (preventative) care and corrective treatments for teeth and gums. Dentists in a general practice perform procedures such as cavity filling, root canals, gingivitis (gum disease) correction, and much more. Specialties in dentistry include orthodontics (structural correction), oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, endodontics (complex root canals and dental implants), oral surgery, periodontics (advanced gum care), and prosthodontics (reconstructive dentistry).
The most familiar work setting for a dentist is private practice. Traditionally, dentists in private practice provide oral health services for families. However, dentists are also employed in a variety of other situations. For example, many hospitals (especially those that specialize in long-term care, such as geriatric and psychiatric hospitals) employ dentists to attend to the oral health of their patients. Additionally, public health agencies that organize relief efforts for inner cities, the rural poor, or developing nations employ dentists to provide dental care to people groups that cannot normally afford it. Many insurance companies also employ dentists as consultants that help review and process dental claims.
In order to become a dentist, one must attend four years of dental school after obtaining a bachelor's degree from an undergraduate college. To gain admittance into dental school, a strong high school and college background in biology, chemistry, math, and physics is required.
Susan T. Rouse
American Dental Student Dental Association. <http://www.asdanet.org/> .
Cox/Bond Dental Group. "So You Want to Become a Dentist?" <http://www.vvm.com/~bond/home.htm> .
List of Dental Schools. <http://dir.yahoo.com/Health/Medicine/Dentistry/Schools__Departments__and_Programs/> .