Is a Dentist a Job or a Profession?

Learn about job duties education job growth salary & career opportunities in dentistry & how to become a dentist with DDS/DMD degree.

Is a Dentist a Job or a Profession?

Dentistry is the branch of healing arts and sciences dedicated to maintaining oral health. It is a dynamic health profession, offering opportunities to become a successful and highly respected member of the community. Comparing job duties, education, job growth, and salary of dentists with similar occupations can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. Dentists should pay attention to the shape and color of the teeth and the space between them.

For example, they may need to closely match one false tooth to the patient's other teeth. The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated for annual wages, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within each occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, position, and geographic area. The Job Outlook tab describes factors affecting employment growth or decline and, in some cases, describes the ratio between the number of job seekers and the number of vacancies.

With the right education and experience, you can work like any member of a dental team. Laboratory technicians, hygienists and assistants diagnose, prevent and treat oral conditions and diseases under the guidance of a licensed dentist. Dentistry offers several career options.


career opportunities are in demand and available based on your educational and professional qualifications.

Every dental professional - dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental laboratory technicians - works within a team to add value to its customer base. Whether it's providing preventive care, performing dental restorative procedures, eliminating pain, or correcting dentofacial aesthetics often in just one visit - the dentist can experience the satisfaction, privilege and joy of positively transforming a patient's life by restoring their oral health. To become a dentist you need a DDS or DMD degree from a dental program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The ratios of practicing dentists to population vary widely but range from approximately 42 to 108 dentists per 100,000 people according to the American Dental Association.

Some universities offer pre-dental or pre-dentistry courses either within a broader science major or as an add-on option to a bachelor's degree. The most common personality traits of a dentist include being detail-oriented, artistic, leading, trustworthy, easy to talk to and comfortable with intimacy. Most dentists are not looking for a specialization but rather work as general practitioners who offer many types of preventive and diagnostic care. Dentists must communicate effectively with patients, dental hygienists, dental assistants and receptionists.

If you still don't think clinical dentistry is for you there are several other routes within the industry you can follow whether in research, teaching, academia, consulting business or management. Similarly if you have decided that specializing in a certain field such as orthodontics is the ultimate goal for you then a career in dentistry is the way there. Most of the skills learned among the four main disciples of dental technology (fixed prosthesis removable prosthesis maxillofacial prosthesis and orthodontics and auxiliaries) are learned on the job. However each of these states employs fewer than 400 dentists which could indicate scarce employment opportunities.

We don't often see people saying they “love dentists” as a result of a positive experience but with the right education and experience you can work like any member of a dental team to add value to its customer base.