There are a number of different things that you will have to do in order to become a dentist. One of the things that you should do before you even think about becoming a dentist is to determine if a dentistry career is really what you want or not. Everyone has their own idea of what an ideal career really is, and you need to make sure that you are entering a career that is as close to your ideal as possible. Unfortunately, finding your ideal career is not always an easy task; no career is perfect, and it is very easy to pay attention only to the benefits of a career rather than the drawbacks. To find out if a dental career is actually the career that you want, you may want to look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of a career in the field of dentistry to ensure that you are choosing correctly.
- One of the advantages of becoming a dentist is that you will be able to help people. Almost everyone will have to find a dentist or a dental specialist at some point to treat a problem with their teeth, and if you become a dentist, you may be the one who can offer these people the dental care that they need.
Another advantage of becoming a dentist is that you will receive a substantial income. A dentist will typically make over $65,000 a year right after he or she graduates from one of the dental schools accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CORA), and this amount will climb to over $140,000 a year within the first ten years of practice. In fact, you may be able to make over $180,000 a year if you specialize in a specific type of dental care.
- The third advantage of becoming a dentist is that you will typically have good job prospects. Everyone needs dental care, and the demand for dentists continues to grow as the population grows and more people begin to seek out the dental care that they need.
- The fourth advantage of becoming a dentist is that you can be your own boss. Most dentists start out as associates, but they eventually move up to full partners or open their own practices. You may start out working for someone else, but you will, if you choose to do so, eventually be able to establish your own practice and make your own hours and your own decisions.
It is important to remember, however, that the field of dentistry is not without its disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of becoming a dentist is that it can be physically demanding. The average dentist will spend hours daily on his or her feet carefully examining each patient and performing a series of procedures that require amazing dexterity. Making a series of very precise movements for an extended period of time can be very stressful and tiring.
- Another disadvantage of becoming a dentist is that you will typically have to work long hours when you first start out. The average dentist typically works 35 to 40 hours a week, but a dentist that is just starting out may have to work anywhere from 40 to over 60 hours a week to establish his or her new practice. You will eventually be able to cut back your hours, but you may have some long hours ahead of you when you’re just out of dental school.
- The third disadvantage of becoming a dentist is that you may have to be on call for dental emergencies. The dental problems that your patients experience will not always occur during your office hours and you may have to answer questions about, or even perform procedures to correct, these problems after your office is closed.
- The fourth disadvantage of becoming a dentist is that you have to deal with the feeling of apprehension that a typical patient might have toward dental treatment. Many people are afraid of the dentist’s office, and you will have to find ways to work around or alleviate this fear every single day that you work.