Dentist

Overview

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.

Work Environment

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:

  • Endodontics – diagnosis of treatment of injuries to the nerves and inside the tooth
  • Oral pathology – investigation of the causes, processes and effects of dental disease
  • Oral radiology – taking and interpretation of diagnostic imaging to treat oral injuries and disease
  • Oral surgery – surgery of the mouth and jaw to treat disease, injuries and defects
  • Orthodontics – treatment of irregular dental development like crooked or missing teeth
  • Pediatric dentistry – treatment of children and adolescents
  • Periodontics – corrective surgery on the gums and supporting bones to prevent gum disease
  • Prosthodontics – application of artificial teeth and dentures to replace damaged or lost teeth
  • Public health dentistry – development of policies and programs to prevent and control disease and help the community

Preparation

Training

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.

Schools

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.

Education

Locations

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.

VIEW THE STATS

EDUCATION
8 yr

SALARY
174k

PATIENT INTERACTION
High

BLOOD EXPOSURE
Medium

JOB GROWTH
12%


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