Dentists diagnose and treat conditions of the teeth, gums and mouth. They examine patients for cavities, sores, swelling and signs of oral disease. Dentists also perform cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening and straightening, to improve smiles.
Dentists supervise a dental health team that may include dental assistants, hygienists and technicians. Almost all dentists have their own practice or a group practice and are responsible for all services provided. They have great flexibility in determining their hours and most work 35-40 hours a week. Dentists may also work in hospitals, clinics, government agencies and dental schools.
Areas of Specialization
The majority of dentists are general dentists, but with additional training dentists cans specialize in one of the following areas:
Dentists earn a doctorate from a dental school, which takes four years after undergraduate school. Specialization usually requires another two or more years of training.
The University of Iowa is the only school in the state with a college of dentistry.
Licensure and Certification
Dentists must have their doctorate and pass a national board examination to become licensed to practice in Iowa.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
The outlook for dentists is excellent. While the job growth rate is only 12%, there is a great need for dentists across Iowa. Most parts of the state have been designated dental healthcare shortage areas by the federal government, meaning there are not enough dentists to serve the population.
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