Do you have a liking for taking care of the health of other people? Are you caring and compassionate? Do you want to finish your studies as soon as possible after school and want to start earning? If yes, then a career in dentistry can give me a good option to earn a decent living.
The field of dentistry is a branch of medicine that deals with the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disorders and diseases related to teeth, gums, jaws, and mouth. It is a dynamic and challenging profession that offers a range of career options to students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field. In this blog, we will explore the various career paths available in dentistry, including dental assistant, BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), orthodontics, and periodontology.
Who is a dentist?
A Dentist is a medical specialist who studies, diagnoses, prevents, and treats diseases, disorders, injuries, and conditions of the mouth, oral cavities, oral mucosa, and adjacent structures and tissues. They are commonly known to treat diseases or disorders of teeth. However, they are not limited to the treatment of teeth but also treat diseases and disorders of oral muscles, nervous systems, and anatomical structures of the mouth and face. As a dentist, you will diagnose all diseases in oral structures and tissues. You will clean cavities of teeth, fix bone loss in teeth and jaw structures, fix irregular teeth structure with braces, etc. You will also perform surgeries on oral structures and tissues. As a dentist, you will provide the right medication prevention and cure for diseases and disorders of the oral cavity.
What does a dentist do?
As a dentist, you will be required to perform several duties including the following:
- You will be removing decay from teeth and filling cavities.
- You would repair cracks or fractures in teeth. You will remove any damaged pieces or whole teeth.
- You will apply sealants or whitening agents on teeth.
- You will give anesthetics to keep patients from feeling any pain during dental treatment.
- Use masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect patients and themselves from infectious diseases.
- You will examine teeth, gums, oral cavities, etc. using dental instruments, x-rays, or any other diagnostic tools and evaluate the dental health of the patient. You will diagnose any illness or disease and plan appropriate treatment.
- You will prescribe antibiotics and other medications to patients after dental treatment.
- You will take the dental measurement for dental appliances like dentures that can fit patients.
- You will share dental information, hygiene, diets, flossing, and other techniques that help in dental care. Teach patients about diets, flossing, the use of fluoride, and other aspects of dental care.
- As a dental public health specialist, you will promote good dental health and prevention of specific dental diseases in communities where you will be working.
- As an endodontic, you will be performing root canal therapy through which you will cut off the nerves and blood supply from the injured teeth.
- As an oral and maxillofacial radiologist, you will diagnose disease in the head and neck using several imaging technologies.
- As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you will perform several surgeries on the mouth, jaws, teeth, gums, neck, and head and treat or repair damaged teeth, lip cleft, palate, etc.
- As an oral pathologist, you will diagnose the oral condition of the mouth including ulcers, cancer, bumps, etc
- As an orthodontist, you will straighten teeth by applying pressure on teeth with the use of braces or similar appliances.
- As a periodontist, you will be treating gums and bones that support teeth.
- As a prosthodontist, you will replace missing teeth with permanent solutions like crowns, and bridges and removable solutions like dentures.
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Popular specialization in Dentistry career
In this section, we will be discussing popular careers in dentistry along with the eligibility criteria and job roles-
Dental assistants are trained professionals who work closely with dentists and dental hygienists to provide patient care. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, such as preparing patients for dental procedures, assisting the dentist during procedures, taking X-rays, and keeping patient records. Dental assistants are also responsible for sterilizing and maintaining dental equipment, and ensuring that the dental office is clean and organized. To become a dental assistant, one must have completed high school or an equivalent qualification. Many dental assistant programs also require applicants to have completed a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) course. Dental assistant courses can vary in duration, but most programs last between 9 and 11 months. After completing the course, dental assistants can seek employment in dental offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings.
BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)
BDS is an undergraduate course in dentistry that covers the study of oral health, diagnosis, and treatment of dental diseases. The course typically lasts for five years, including one year of mandatory internship. Students who have completed their 10+2 with physics, chemistry, and biology are eligible to apply for the BDS course. Entrance exams are conducted by various universities and colleges to select candidates for admission. After completing the course, graduates can work as dentists in government hospitals, private clinics, and other healthcare settings. They can also pursue postgraduate studies in various specializations such as orthodontics, periodontology, prosthodontics, and endodontics.
Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of malocclusion (improper positioning of teeth when the jaws are closed). Orthodontists use various techniques such as braces, aligners, and retainers to correct the alignment of teeth and jaws. To become an orthodontist, one must have completed a BDS or equivalent qualification from a recognized university or college. After completing BDS, aspiring orthodontists must pursue a postgraduate course in orthodontics, which typically lasts for three years. After completing the course, orthodontists can work in government hospitals, private clinics, and other healthcare settings.
Periodontology is a specialized field of dentistry that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases and other disorders of the supporting structures of teeth. Periodontists use various techniques such as scaling and root planing, flap surgery, and bone grafting to treat gum diseases. To become a periodontist, one must have completed a BDS or equivalent qualification from a recognized university or college. After completing BDS, aspiring periodontists must pursue a postgraduate course in periodontology, which typically lasts for three years. After completing the course, periodontists can work in government hospitals, private clinics, and other healthcare settings.
How to become a dentist in India after the 12th?
To become a dentist in India after the 12th, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Complete your 12th standard education: You will need to pass your 12th standard examination in the science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English as core subjects.
- Clear the NEET examination: You will need to appear for and clear the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to dental colleges in India.
- Enroll in a dental college: You will need to enroll in a recognized dental college to pursue a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree.
- Complete your BDS degree: The BDS course is typical of five years, which includes four years of academic study and one year of compulsory internship.
- Register with the Dental Council of India (DCI): After completing your BDS degree, you will need to register with the Dental Council of India (DCI) to be recognized as a qualified dentist in India.
- Pursue higher studies: You can also choose to pursue a Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) degree to specialize in a particular field of dentistry.
- Obtain a license to practice: You will need to obtain a license to practice from the state dental council to start practicing as a dentist in India.
It is essential to note that the eligibility criteria and admission process may vary from one dental college to another. Therefore, you must check the admission criteria of the colleges that you are interested in and keep track of the application deadlines.
Salary of a dentist in India
After completing the B.D.S. course:
- At the entry level, one joins as a Dentist and earns about Rs. 45,000 – 50,000 a month. With experience, their salary increases.
- At the junior level with a work experience of 5-6 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 50,000 to 1,00,000 per month.
- At the middle level with an experience of 8-12 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 per month.
- At the senior level of over 12 years of work experience, you would be earning anything between Rs.1,50,000 to 4,00,000 per month or even more.
After Completing the M.D.S. course:
- At the entry-level, you can earn about Rs. 60,000 – 70,000 a month. With experience, their salary increases.
- At the junior level with a work experience of 5-6 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,00,000 to 2,00,000 per month.
- At the middle level with an experience of 8-12 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,50,000 to 2,00,000 per month.
- At the senior level of over 12 years of work experience, you would be earning anything between Rs. 2,00,000 to 4,00,000 per month or even more.
Career Progression in the dentistry career
- The career growth in university and college states from Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Professor, and Professor Emeritus. Professors can also get administrative positions such as Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, etc.
- If you Join as a Consultant Dentist (Medical Officer) after your M.D.S., then you will go on to become Deputy Medical Superintendent and then Additional Medical Superintendent, and then Medical Superintendent. You might also become the director of the Hospital.
- If you join Army hospitals, then you will move up as per the army ranks starting from Captain (and its equivalent in the Navy and Air Force).
What does industry trends say – future prospects
Indian Medical industry is growing exponentially riding on strong demand due to rising incomes, greater health awareness, and an increase in access to insurance. It might grow to 373 billion USD in 2022 as per a report by ibef.org. Also, with the introduction of Ayushman Bharat, Insurance and the medical benefit are given by the Government of India, and more and more people will start using medical facilities. The hospital industry is expected to 16-17% per year from 2017 to 2022. All these numbers indicate a bright future for Oncologists.
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