A dentist is a person who has the skills and a state
license to practice dentistry. Dentistry is the science
concerned with the origin, development, structure and
function of the teeth, jaws, and mouth, as well as the
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in
these areas. As part of their responsibilities, dentists
repair and restore teeth, replace missing teeth, fix
deformities and injuries of the teeth, and detect and
diagnose signs of diseases that may need to be treated
by a physician. Dentists also create and insert false
teeth. Although some dental procedures can be
expensive, dental insurance plans can help offset costs.
A dentist examines x-rays for a patient.
HOW DOES SOMEONE BECOME A DENTIST?
To become a dentist, one would need to go to college for a minimum of two years, but
preferably 4 years. Then, one has to get a good score on a test about dentistry that is
known as the Dental Aptitude Test. After passing this test, one needs to go to college for
4 more years at a program that is officially approved by the American Dental
Association. After successfully completing dental school, dentists can earn a degree
known as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D).
Both degrees essentially mean the same thing.
DO YOU NEED TO DO AN INTERNSHIP TO BECOME A DENTIST?
No. Clinical training experiences known as internships and residencies are not required
to become a dentist.
WHAT OTHER REQUIREMENTS ARE THERE TO BECOMING A
Dentists need to pass examinations to become licensed by a
state. One of these exams is written. Another exam demonstrates
the actual dental skills that one has. In certain states, one can earn
a dentist license by getting a certificate from the National Board of
Dental Examiners instead of taking the written test. In addition, one
would need to take the examination that demonstrates his/her
actual dental skills before a Regional Dental Examination Board,
rather than going before a state board. Dentist comes from the
Latin word "dens" meaning "tooth."