Choosing a Career As A Dentist

Some smart young men and women make early and realistic choices as to what profession they would like to enter; eschewing those early thoughts of being a cowboy, movie star or singer. Becoming a dentist might be one of your early choices until a close friend told you that like being a doctor or any other type of medical professional, attending a dental school was expensive. All that said, this article about choosing a career as a dentist will try and paint an honest and more realistic picture of what being a dentist entails in order for you to make the correct decision to see if a dental profession could be the right move for you or not. The first thing you need to know is that it’s a challenging profession.

Here, for your consideration, are some of the pros and cons of being a dentist.


Dentistry is a highly respected profession wherein you are a trusted member of your community, where you will be working. Your patients will rely on their dentist to provide them with the best possible and affordable healthcare.

* The Ability To Help People: In other words, dentistry is simply a service oriented profession. Think: gratification for you as a dentist when you are able to relieve the pain from a patient.

* Stability: Being a dentist is a very stable career with one of the lowest unemployment rates in America. Oral healthcare is always necessary; it’s not going anywhere.

* A Balanced Lifestyle: If you own your own dental practice you can choose your working hours and how many days a week you want to work. However, most dentists work full-time while some only work three days a week. Then, there are some dentists who choose to provide help by working evenings and weekends when people are more available.

* Self-Employment: Yep, a dentist is his or her own boss if that is their choice. You can determine your hours, make all the decisions with very little managed care.


*Education: Like most medical professions, in order to become a full-pledged dentist, you are going to have to set aside at least 7-8 years in school after you graduate from high school. Also, it is not required at every dental school in this country to have a Bachelor’s degree, but it’s advisable. After dental school and graduation you’ll be a dentist with the designation of DDS or DMD depending on which degree your school awards.

*Time Involved: After devoting those early years of your life in school, you’ll begin spending hours on end working with patients. Although you are responsible for your patients healthcare, you must remember that a patient may call your office with an emergency.

*Debt: Most dental schools are expensive and a graduate will begin their practice with about a quarter million ($250,000) in debt.

* Stress: Other than running your own business, a dentist will be looking down a lot of different mouths, keep tabs on your work schedule and cope with patients, young and old, who hate coming to a dentist.

* Competition: More young people are turning to dentistry as their chosen profession. Perhaps sooner or later, a beginner may have to compete with fellow dentists they went to school with for patients. Any family who is searching for a dentist for the first time, should know that in some larger communities, it seems there are dentists on every street corner or listed in one of those high-rise buildings that have flooded most cities. Metropolitan areas in most all states in this country are busy places for any person beginning a dental practice.  to maintain a successful practice, it might be wise for a new dentist to pick a smaller town that often works best for beginners.

* Dental Practice Costs: The usual dental practice will have an overhead that runs between 50-70 percent. Most of the money that comes in from a successful dental practice doesn’t go into the pockets of the dentist owner. Every piece of dental equipment costs money. Not to mention staff salaries and insurance. So once you get into your practice and a patient complains about paying $1000 for a beautiful crown, remind them.

Note: The art of dentistry does provide a healthy income. According to a recent Bureau of Labor statistic, the median salary last year was $141,340. However, the skills of the dentist can increase that pay exponentially. A large family practice and a general surgery dentist can move that dollar sign up to $220,000 or more.