My Life and Career Path as a Dentist

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I have always had the dream to go into the medical field and serve others who are less fortunate. Out of the 5 pathways in the “Health Science Career Pathways”, I have an interest in the Therapeutic pathway (Applied Educational Systems, Inc.). By combining Achieve Works, my love for studying teeth, and passion for helping others, I have chosen to further research becoming a Dentist in the Therapeutic pathway. Through extensive research and the personal interview of a successfully retired dentist, I will uncover the daily job routines, how to prepare for dentistry, and what dentistry looks like in the long run.

The definition of a dentist is “one who is skilled in and licensed to practice the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth, jaws, and mouth and who makes and inserts false teeth” (Merriam-Webster)This means that a dentist will see just about anything involving the mouth area throughout their day. Being a dentist is not a set routine because you see new things with every new patient, “the job varies day to day and sometimes hour to hour” (Odell). This alludes to how much a dentist must do every day. Dentists with practices, constantly work and interact with their team. This makes the work environment more friendly and enjoyable.

The daily activities surrounding a dentist involve seeing all the patients that are scheduled for the day and write up patients charts for treatment performed. A dentist will perform an array of procedures and diagnosis like “composite fillings, crowns, extractions, biopsies, Endodontics, and periodontal procedures” (Odell). The dentist will then begin lab preparation for patients’ crowns, bite guards, and bridges before sending to the dental lab. After all patient activities are done, the dentist will check mail, email, and any other forms of business communication for his practice. If any patient or staff issues arise, the dentist will have to address those if it is his practice. Then of course having a lunch break. Finally, if the Dentist owns his or her own practice, the dentist will have to do maintenance on the office.

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After hearing Dr. Odell’s description of his daily activities, I think this would be a great fit for me especially if I owned my own practice. Working on teeth, and problem-solving different diagnosis would be fulfilling and interesting to me. Having the flexibility to own a practice and make my own schedule sounds like a stress reliever because I’ll be able to plan around the things in my life. I think I would enjoy the daily lifestyle of a dentist. I know with this lifestyle of owning a practice comes a lot responsibility, even though there is no supervision. With owning a practice as a dentist, you take full responsibility of all things that happen under your practice. A dentist has the responsibility of keeping his patients and staff safe, along with upholding his own reputation. This occupation may come with the stress of immense responsibility; however, it pays off in the long run through the satisfaction you receive by helping others (Odell). To be able to handle this much responsibility, I must start preparing now through school.

When looking to become a dentist, I must start preparing now. This begins with focusing on sciences and health classes in high school. This will prepare me for what type of schooling I should start to expect when pursing this career. Another way I can start preparing for this career, is shadowing other dentist. This will help me gain a broader perspective of dentistry. With dentistry, I cannot start working right out of college. I must first go to dental school, then go do my residency. For me to become a dentist, I must have my high school diploma, an optional undergraduate degree, doctoral degree in dental medicine or surgery, residency, and DDS or DMD license in order to practice in Texas (HowToBecome). By completing these things, I will start to set myself up for my future career

Dentistry in the future will always be needed, especially with the increase of people in Texas. The job security of dentistry is very high. This security is further proven by the 19% growth projected from 2016-2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This growth in dentistry is because of the new clinical research being constantly done on diseases and finding the link between the diseases and oral care (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The salary for a dentist is relatively high because of the demand for them, and even higher if a dentist owns their own practice.

The dentist median salary is $156,240. This is a pretty good median salary considering the lowest payed dentists are also factored in. The dentist salary would satisfy me and would meet my goals of my ideal lifestyle. My ideal lifestyle would be owning my own practice, owning a ranch, and traveling constantly. I would further achieve this lifestyle by investing my money in order to grow it more. A dentist who owns his own practice would be able to move up and gain more income by expanding their practice. A dentist can also raise their salary by having high standards and building a respectable reputation for their self. In the long run this career is going to come with many difficulties and challenges, but it is going to have an extremely high amount of satisfaction and success which will outweigh the possible negatives.

Through extensive research and the personal interview of a successfully retired dentist, I have uncovered the daily job routines, how to prepare for dentistry, and what dentistry looks like in the long run. This job would be a great suit for me because of my love for teeth, and I feel this job would most match me for the plans I have in life. Becoming a dentist would not just be a job to me, but a lifestyle. A lifestyle I would be able to take to other countries and serve the less fortunate. I genuinely want to help people, and I feel this is the best outlet for me to show my love for people and my passion for teeth.

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