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What It Takes to Be a Dentist

Posted by Taylor Schachter on Mar 12 2020, 01:13 PM

Spring is a season of big changes and new beginnings - and not just in nature. For some, it’s also a time of major life changes, like high school and college graduation. With so many options for the future, graduation can be an exciting but overwhelming time for many students. For high school students who have chosen to continue on to college, it means deciding what they want to do for a career, and what they want to choose as a major. For some, that may be a career in dentistry.

If your child is interested in pursuing a career in dentistry, here’s what you can expect when setting out on an oral health education journey!

Prep First

You can’t start dental school without a four-year degree in a scientific field, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing early, even in high school. Take as many science classes as possible. And when you get to college, choose your courses and your major wisely.

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you must then apply to dental school. According to U.S. News and World Report, only about 55 percent of 2019 applicants to dental schools actually attended dental school. Admission is very competitive, and preference is given to students who show an interest in dentistry outside of school, for example by shadowing a dentist or working in a dental practice.

People Person

So, what makes a great dentist? Aside from an interest in excellent oral hygiene and a desire to improve lives, a passion for people is a key requirement. After all, you can’t put patients at ease if you don’t have a stellar bedside manner.

Dentistry can be a fun and rewarding career choice, but it requires a lot of hard work along the way, including attending dental school for four years and completing several years of residency depending on which type of dentistry you intend to practice. This can take up to six years.

Final Exams

Once your education is complete, you must pass an intensive exam called the National Board Dental Exam and obtain a license in the state in which you wish to practice dentistry.

It may sound overwhelming, but a dentistry education is both rewarding and fun. Our advice? Work hard, try your best, but enjoy yourself and your studies along the way.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Abelar, please contact the office at 858-523-1400.

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