Advanced/Graduate Dentistry and Oral Sciences degrees offered at accredited colleges and universities help you to remain current regarding new technologies, treatment methods and operative procedures in the dental profession. You generally must complete undergraduate degrees before you enroll in Advanced/Graduate Dentistry and Oral Sciences programs. Top graduate programs are accredited by agencies like the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. If it’s been several years since you graduated with undergraduate degrees, you may have to take a Dental Admissions Test (DAT) to enroll in the programs.
Nearly 75 percent of dentists operate their own private practice. Other dentists work at hospitals, clinics and various medical facilities. Before you start working as a dentist, you must complete college degrees and pass a licensing examination. If you have a private practice, you can set your own work hours. However, dentists generally work four to five days a week. You may also perform corrective surgery on patients’ gums and mouths. Additionally, you may work solely in pediatrics, as an orthodontist, oral pathologists or maxillofacial radiologists. In addition to aforementioned procedures, you may perform root canals, tooth extractions or diagnose and treat gum and other oral diseases.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) dentists generally work between 35 and 40 hours a week. The work environment for dentists is usually a dental laboratory. You may also work in an office reviewing patient x-rays and files. Types of equipment you can work with include probes, forceps, scalpels and drills.
Curriculum for Advanced/Graduate Dentistry and Oral Sciences Postsecondary Programs
Most of the courses you take in Advanced/Graduate Dentistry Oral Sciences programs at accredited colleges and universities are created by administrators at the individual schools. Types of core courses you may take, regardless of where you go to school, include:
Types of advanced dentistry degrees and certifications you can get include a Master of Dentistry, Master of Dental Surgery, Master of Science in Oral Biology, Master of Science in Dental Hygiene, Doctorate of Medical Dentistry, Doctorate of Dental Study, Doctorate of Dental Medicine and a Graduate Diploma in Dentistry. It can take one to three years to complete graduate degrees, depending on whether you attend school as a full-time or part-time student.
Surgery, patient care, diagnostic and critical thinking abilities are types of skills you gain when you enroll in and complete Advanced/Graduate Dentistry and Oral Sciences programs at accredited postsecondary schools. You can also gain skills like improved communications, time management and financial management skills. You may also gain leadership and supervisory skills. These skills help you to successfully manage employees like dental hygienists, dental assistants and laboratory technicians you employ.
The BLS expects jobs for dentists to grow by 16 percent from 2008 through 2018. This growth rate is faster than what’s expected for other occupations. If you have experience working with children as well as adults you can increase your chances of landing quality jobs or of growing your private practice. As of May 2008, the median annual salary dentists earned was $142,870.