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Rapid Smile Dental Group, ~ Dr. David Youssefi DMD, FAGD ~ 2428 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste 403, Santa Monica, CA 90404 ~ (310) 696 - 6996


Fact Sheet: Careers in Dentistry

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in the dental profession...

Each dental team member has a unique job that requires a specific skill set; and each is crucial to a successful practice and high-quality patient care.

If you're ever thought about a career in dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry would like to offer you a glimpse into the dental professional's world.


...To be a Dentist

General dentists make up the majority of the 140,000 dentists practicing in the United States. Most of them own their own practice. General practitioners care for their patient's overall oral health, which the Surgeon General recently stated is crucial to a person's total health. General practitioners also coordinate care with dentists in other specialties when a patient needs a specialized procedure.


To become a dentist, you need a bachelor's degree with a strong science foundation: biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics are crucial. Admission to dental school, which lasts four years, requires high grades in college and a competitive score on the Dental Admission Test. After graduating from dental school, you'll have to take licensure examinations required by the state in which you wish to practice. Specialization requires another two years of school or a clinical residency program.


All that education is a good investment. As start-up businesses most likely to succeed, dental practices rank third. And the demand for dental care is growing as public awareness of the importance of maintaining good oral health increases.


...To be a Hygienist

Dental hygienists help prevent tooth decay and maintain healthy gums by cleaning teeth to remove tartar, stains and plaque. Hygienists perform screenings to review a patient's health history and chart the condition of the patient's teeth; apply preventive materials such as fluoride; and teach proper brushing and flossing techniques.


Hygienists must complete either a two-year certification program or a four-year college program that offers a bachelor's degree. Good grades in high school are required to get into a hygiene program. Hygienists must pass an exam to be licensed in the state in which they wish to practice.


Hygienists work in a wide variety of settings including private dental practices, schools, community clinics, research teams and dental corporations. Full- and part-time employment options are available, as well as evening and weekend hours, enabling dental hygienists to balance their career and lifestyle needs. For more information on dental hygiene, check out the American Dental Hygienists' Association Web site at www.adha.org.


...To be a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants keep the dental practice running smoothly. A few of the assistant's tasks include greeting patients and preparing them for dental procedures, assisting the dentist during procedures and sometimes handling billing and insurance.


Many community colleges and vocational schools offer dental assistant programs; but on-the-job training is also an option. Dentists are always looking for qualified, motivated assistants. Dental assistants need good communication and organizational skills, attention to detail and the ability to juggle multiple tasks. In return, they can enjoy good pay and flexible hours.


The best way to become a dental assistant is to receive formal education. Studying in a Commission on Dental Accreditation accredited program provides education that is based on the latest procedures and techniques. There are 254 accredited dental assisting programs in the United States. Dental assistants receive certification by passing an exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), Certified Dental Assistant program. For more information, check out the Web sites for DANB, www.danb.org, or the American Dental Assistants Association, www.dentalassistant.org.


From the office of:

David Youssefi, DMD, FAGD

2428 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 403

Santa Monica, CA 90404-2047

(310) 696-6996


This Fact Sheet compiled by the Academy of General Dentistry.