To become a general dentist you must first complete courses intensive in the sciences. Many pre-dental students elect to get a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry, even though a bachelor’s degree is not required to get into dental school, many schools recommend it. Earning a bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry allows a student to fulfill the requirements for dental schools, which include Physics, Biology, Math, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and English. To gain admittance to a dental school pre-dental students are required to take the Dental Admissions Test. Once a student has gained admittance to a DMD or DDS program, that student will complete the program in four years, if the student is on track (3 years for students in the University of Pacific’s DDS program).
A dentist’s job is to assess the oral health of his/her patient. Some procedures involve prevention such as the placement of sealants; other treatments involve the restoration of teeth, tooth extractions, fillings, root canals, and now many dentists are being trained to perform implants. Dentists can also prescribe certain medications such as antibiotics, fluorides, and sedatives but are not able to prescribe the full range of medications that physicians can. Most dentists own their own private practice and work with a small staff. Most full time dentists work 4 to 5 days around 32-40 hours a week.
Much of this information was adapted from the United States Department of Labor.