7 Things to Know Before Becoming a Dentist

If you are interested in being a dentist, there are many specialties that you can get into in that pursuit. The majority of dentists don’t do dental implants, but specialists do them. The teeth in the front are often too damaged and require replacements, and bottom front tooth implant cost can be exorbitant. You can help patients to buy dental implants by offering financing on the teeth they need. This also helps you to sell more implants and keeps your practice running at a good profit.

Can anyone get dental implants from the dentist? No, not everyone is a good candidate for implants. You have to have a lot of bone available for the implant, and many people suffer from bone loss in their mouths. Without enough bone, the implant cant be set into the bone. For those who are able to get dental implants, the dental implant lifespan can be for the rest of their life. Dental implants are made to be tough and durable, and they will stay looking good for many years to come. With this type of dental implant, there is no need to be embarrassed by one’s teeth that are unhealthy or missing any longer.

Over the last decade, there has been a high demand for dental practitioners. Many people consider it to be one of the most stable careers. It has a good income and offers great job security for graduates.

However, like most careers, it has its own fair share of challenges. Taking on everyday tasks can be emotionally and physically draining. Also, going through dental college can be expensive and time-consuming. Before you make your decision, here are things to know before becoming a dentist.

 becoming a dentist.

Physical Challenges of Dentistry

Often, people associate the dentist’s office with awkward experiences. The mention of a dentist reminds them when they had a toothache and had to undergo a painful procedure. As a practitioner, your task will be to keep your patients comfortable when they come to you for treatment.

Statistics show that 25% of Americans have untreated tooth decay, and many more do not know that they have a dental problem. Besides the technical aspects of the job, you’ll also be interacting with patients and educating them about their condition.

One of the most important things to know before becoming a dentist is the amount of work it requires. You’ll be working full-time performing root canals, cleaning gums and teeth, amongst other tasks. Therefore, as a career, it can be physically demanding.

You’ll be bending over patients when performing dental and orthodontic procedures. It is not uncommon for dental surgeons to have back and shoulder problems. Additionally, it requires paying attention to detail even after you’ve been working for long hours. Minor errors can cause injuries to the patient, and you’ll often be the one responsible for the harm.

You should also consider that there is a risk of injuring yourself or coming down with an infectious disease. It requires a surgeon’s dexterity to handle the sharp instruments used for root planing and scaling. Additionally, you’ll constantly be near patients who may already have an illness.

Emotional and Psychological Challenges

Since the work is repetitive and requires accuracy to avoid errors that can cause injury, it can be emotionally draining. You’ll be working with anxious patients of different ages and backgrounds. The clients walking into your office will each require varying treatment procedures. Yet every day, your performance must be consistent and professional.

Patients in hospice and palliative care will require extra attention when performing dental procedures to minimize the risk of infections. Some patients may not be able to open their mouths due to injuries on their gums and teeth.

Additionally, you’ll be required to calm the patients as you perform procedures. Some of your clients will have a phobia for the dental office. They may panic at the mere sight of a dentist drill. Besides all those challenges, you must be calm and focused throughout the day.

One other important psychological question to ask yourself before becoming a dentist is whether you are comfortable in a clinical environment. You should do extensive research on what it entails and determine if you have a passion for it.

It can be even more challenging if you choose to start your own practice. Many aspects could increase the risk of frequent emotional breakdowns. Managing your team, engaging patients, and keeping up with the competition can take a toll on your emotional well being.

 becoming a dentist.

Educational Requirements

One of the other very important things to know before becoming a dentist is the amount of time you will spend in school. It will take about eight years to be a dental professional. You will first have to go for a four-year post-secondary course or its equivalent. You will then spend an extra four years in college before you earn your Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

The course you take before your DDS must be related to the sciences, particularly chemistry and biology. You will need to take a Dental Admission test and maintain a High GPA to gain acceptance to dental college.

You may choose to take a pre-dentistry course offered by preparatory schools as an accelerated plan for college. The option can give you the chance to combine your undergraduate studies while training to be a dental practitioner. It may be possible to reduce the time it will take to complete your degree.

The time may even be longer if you are looking to specialize in a given field in dentistry. For example, to become an orthodontist, you must first complete dental school and qualify. After that, you can then apply to your school’s department for orthodontics.

One of the other important things to know before becoming a dentist or an orthodontic specialist is the nature of the coursework. You will have to take classes in periodontics and anatomy, amongst other fields. Additionally, you will be attending to patients to gain experience in clinical practice.

The nature of the profession is such that it can be time-consuming and draining for some aspiring dentist. You, therefore, need to be clear that taking the course is what you want to do for the rest of your life. There is no need to spend so much time working through college only to realize that it is not your calling.

One way you can be confident that dentistry is your passion is to apply to be a dental assistant. You can either take a paid position or volunteer to get some experience. It can help boost your application as most schools prefer people who already have some knowledge of the profession.

Keep in mind that getting to dental school is a competitive process. If you have compelling recommendations from your teachers and employers, it can significantly increase the chances of admission. Different schools have varying requirements for applicants. So, it is wise to understand each institution’s requirements before you apply.

 becoming a dentist.

Student Debts

One of the other things to know before becoming a dentist is that dental education can be quite expensive. Many aspiring dentists are often lured by the thought of earning a six-figure income. However, one of the biggest challenges that many dental professionals face is the cost of tuition. The fees may be in the range of $250,000 and can be as high as $500,000 for private colleges. This number can grow higher for further education to be an orthodontist or other dental specialist.

The fees often leave many graduates with student debts that they struggle to pay during the first few years working as dentists. By June 2020, the average pay for a dental associate was about $ 150,000 a year. Your income may vary depending on your qualifications, expertise, and experience.

For an entry-level dentist, the pay would be about $119,000 per year. Also, four out of five dental school graduates will have a debt of more than $200,000. That means most graduates may end up spending five years or more as they work to repay their loans.

It is possible to progress your career and earn more in the future. However, you should carefully consider whether becoming a dentist is what you want. One of the important things to know before becoming a dentist is that it’s not always about making a lot of money. It should be about pursuing your passion and taking a career that gives you contentment. It should also be a source of fulfillment for years to come.

Starting your Own Practice

Many graduates will proceed to work as associates in a dental practice. But due to the demands of the job, some would prefer to start their own business. Running your own dentist’s office can give you considerable flexibility and freedom.

Once you start your practice, you can tailor your work hours to fit your needs. You can decide what equipment to have, who to hire, and the organizational policies to implement. If you have the passion and skill to run a business venture, running your practice can be fulfilling.

However, there are things to know before becoming a dentist practice and how to administer it. Knowledge in management will be crucial for your success. Even after eight years in dental school, you’ll only cover the basics of managing a business, which is often insufficient.

Some of the skills you need before opening a dentist office:

  • Operations Management: You’ll take responsibility for managing all operations in the office. That means scheduling and monitoring tasks and making improvements when necessary. The profession requires attention to detail, as some mistakes can ruin the reputation of your practice.
  • Managing and Motivating the team: Dental associates often work full-time, attending to patients for extended hours. For your business to be successful, you will need to keep motivating your team. Your staff can lose their focus and drive if they sense that you are not leading by example. You can work on your people skills to improve your chances of success.
  • Marketing and Strategy: You’ll need to come up with a reliable marketing and strategic plan to make your practice successful. You need to understand your competition, define your target audience, and develop a unique value proposition. You can always hire professionals to help you with the technical aspects of your campaign. However, a grasp of the concepts will ensure you can steer your business in the right direction when problems arise.
  • Customer Service and Relationship Building: Patients want to know that they can entrust your practice with their dental health. Besides addressing the technical aspects, you will need to engage your patients to make them feel valued and appreciated. Excellent customer service will encourage your clients to bring in referrals that can boost the prospects for your business.
  • Cash Flow Management: Several factors can cause cash flow problems for your dental and orthodontic practice. Insurance claims can drag on for months, leaving you cash-strapped. Taxes and legal problems can also devastate your finances. An analysis of the financial requirements backed by a viable budget can help reduce the risk of cash flow problems.

It may take some time before your business starts making a profit. Remember, the practice will demand a considerable investment in terms of time, equipment, and labor. You may require state-of-the-art equipment to provide quality care for your patients. Your office may need comfortable sitting and elegant furnishings that will set your practice apart in the competitive industry.

 becoming a dentist.

Managed Care

The cost of setting up your own practice can be prohibitive. It is important to understand the impact that certain future developments can have on your business.

Managed care has been around for more than 100 years and touches on many aspects of healthcare, such as hospice. We can define it in basic terms as the management of care to reduce costs and improve efficiency. One way managed care seeks to reduce the cost of healthcare is by offering economic incentives. Providers and patients can choose affordable alternatives for procedures like braces and crowns. Managed care, therefore, involves monitoring payments through the entire care process.

As the healthcare model in the U.S. evolves, the managed care model is likely to affect dentistry. That means that insurance companies and government agencies will handle many aspects of dental practice. These changes in healthcare can limit how you run your business and the profits you could make.

Pursuing your Dream

Even though it may seem challenging, there are also positive things to know before becoming a dentist. It is one of the careers with the lowest unemployment rates in America. There is always a demand for qualified professionals, and you can make a stable income that will support you for a lifetime.

You can also start your own business and specialize in areas such as family orthodontics. By applying good management principles, your venture can start making a profit allowing you to tailor your work hours. Another positive thing to know before becoming a dentist is that it’s still one of the most respected professions all around the world.


Even though the dental profession may seem like hard work, you should remember that all careers have their challenges. That’s why it is necessary to read and internalize all the things to know before becoming a dentist. Take time to understand what it entails before committing all that time and money. There also other career options you may consider. Since the market is continually changing, pay attention to new developments in your field of specialization.


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