Dentists prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and disorders of the teeth and mouth, performing routine and emergency procedures to improve their patients’ dental and oral health. Most Dentists work in private practices, in which case they are usually referred to as “General Practice Dentist”. They may also be employed in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, where they specialize in areas such as orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, and maxillofacial surgery (also known as facial reconstruction surgery).
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Dentists are required to complete.
- Reviewing patients’ dental history and examining their teeth, gums, and surrounding tissue to diagnose disease, injury, and decay:
- Conducting/ordering and examining pre-assessment tests (e.g. x-rays); and
- operating and monitoring technical equipment.
- Planning and providing appropriate treatment:
- Restoring or extracting diseased and broken teeth, replacing missing ones, removing decay from teeth, filling cavities, installing bridges, and cleaning infections;
- administering dental anaesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia to limit the amount of patient discomfort experienced during surgical procedures;
- performing root canal treatments, dental implants, and other dental/oral surgeries, such as periodontal surgery;
- placing sealants or whitening agents on teeth;
- making models and measurements for dental appliances, such as dentures;
- prescribing oral and dental medications (e.g. antibiotics) to patients;
- referring patients to other dental specialists, as needed; and
- explaining options and plans to patients.
- Preventing and controlling dental and oral diseases:
- Conducting routine checkups and cleaning teeth or ensuring they have been properly cleaned by a Dental Hygienist/Dental Assistant; and
- preparing dental kits for patients and educating them on oral hygiene (e.g. brushing and flossing) in order to help them achieve continual dental care.
- Maintaining and evaluating patients’ dental records:
- Documenting dental assessment, treatment, and consultations.
- Managing a dental health team (e.g. Dental Hygienists, Dental Technicians, and Dental Assistants) and instructing them on how to implement, coordinate, and evaluate patient care.
- Complying with safety standards at all times, taking precaution measures to avoid infection and contamination:
- Sterilizing dental instruments or ensuring sterilization is done by qualified staff.
- Participating in dental care awareness programs, promoting excellent oral and dental health, sometimes being involved in lectures and conferences.
- Recommending and making significant improvements to current methods, techniques, and procedures (e.g. installation of new equipment or improvements in drug supplies).
- In some cases, taking part in budget preparation and other financing business related activities.
- Reviewing, maintaining, and evaluating patients’ dental records.
- Examining teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues to diagnose disease, injury, and decay.
- Conducting routine checkups and cleaning teeth.
- Restoring, extracting, and replacing teeth, removing decay from teeth, filling cavities, installing bridges, cleaning infections, and correcting abnormal positioning of the teeth and jaws.
- Educating patients on oral hygiene.
The average Dentist salary is $116,033 per year or $60 per hour. This is around 3.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $81,000 while most experienced workers make up to $162,000. These results are based on 100 salaries extracted from job descriptions.