A dentist is a professional who specializes not only in the diagnosis treatment and prevention of dental conditions and diseases of the oral cavity but also in the promotion of oral health. The dental hygienist provides preventive oral health care and educates patients about oral health care and dental health management. The dental hygienist works with patients to help them manage and prevent oral diseases such as cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. The hygienist’s supporting staff helps in providing dental health services to their patients. The hygienist’s duties are many and include educating patients about proper dental hygiene and assisting them in maintaining good oral health through a regular oral exam and cleaning.
People visit a dentist for a thorough check up or to have any routine procedures done. However, many people do not know much about the duties of dentists. Some people may think that it is just a common person who cleans teeth and visits the dentist once every six months. In reality, there are many different aspects of oral health care that need to be monitored and maintained by dentists on a daily basis.
Many aspiring students want to major in dentistry but do not have enough financial aid to make this a possibility. However, there are many ways to improve one’s chances of receiving financial assistance to go to college or earn a degree in dental school. One way is to work hard while in undergraduate. Many dentists also volunteer their services after graduating with an undergraduate degree in dentistry. These volunteers are required to work one-on-one with clinical patients and dentists to gain experience in providing basic and advanced dental services.
Dentists also need to work hand-in-hand with other professionals in the field of oral health. These include teachers, nurses and therapists. Oral health educators instruct students about oral health conditions, diseases and treatments. Typical coursework for a course in oral health education includes teaching students about the basics of dental hygiene. They will also learn about the importance of nutrition to good oral health, preventative methods for the control of various diseases and how to deal with various health problems including the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.
During the graduate program process, students will take additional science courses that prepare them for career opportunities in the field. Science courses are designed to help students achieve a specific goal. For example, those pursuing graduate studies in dentistry must complete a year of specialized studies in biochemistry, anatomy and physiology. Oral health and nutrition will be a part of these requirements. General biology courses are required by most dental schools.
Dentists also need to be concerned with prevention. Dentists need to have a basic understanding of dental disease and how to prevent them from progressing. This begins by brushing and flossing every day. Beginning in elementary school, children should begin dental hygiene by learning about good oral health hygiene and taking care of their teeth and gums. At first glance, many children may not know much about oral health, but they can begin simple mouthwash practices and gradually master brushing and flossing.
Later in high school, students will have more options for electives such as anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, along with general dentistry. Students in the early college years may decide on special electives such as public health or paralegal studies. Public health is a field that looks at issues surrounding the disease prevention and treatment, while paralegal studies focuses on the legal aspect of various legal matters. Those opting for special electives in the later years of high school or college will pursue a career in pediatrics, orthodontics, endodontics or other special areas of dentistry.
In order to get into a specialized area of dentistry, it is not necessary to graduate from an accredited program. Most states require that aspiring dentists complete a 2-year general dentistry degree from an accredited program before they can apply for state-mandated cosmetic dentistry scholarships. Students who wish to continue on to pursue their advanced degrees in dentistry will need to submit a completed Master’s degree, or go through a fellowship for dental professionals, which is highly recommended. The American Dental Association and other groups offer great support to those interested in advancing their education and find a career in dentistry.