Why Choose a Career in Dentistry?

A Q&A with Touro College of Dental Medicine Clinical Assistant Professor Rebecca Block, D.D.S.

Technology has started to play a huge role in field of dentistry and the treatment of patients.  Just as technology is always changing, technological advances in the field of dentistry make the profession ever-changing and improving. Long term studies of materials used in dentistry and the techniques for using them are also always being evaluated, which can change the way we deliver care.  Dentists must therefore stay up-to-date on the most current equipment and products available to incorporate these changes, improvements, and innovations. 

Pictured is a Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) student using an intraoral scanner to take digital impressions.
Pictured is a Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) student (right) using an intraoral scanner to take digital impressions of her patient’s teeth.

What should students who are interested in dentistry know about the field? What opportunities do you see in the next few years?

Dentistry has evolved in ways that offer various options to the different interests of future dental professionals. There is no doubt that computer skills and the understanding of technology will benefit you substantially in the future. At Touro College of Dental Medicine, recognize this and have made it a major aspect of the dental educational experience here.

How has technology changed how dentistry is practiced? 

One simple example would be the planning and placement of implants, which are aided by using 3D imaging and software guiding techniques. Digital scanners and 3D printers can be utilized to create surgical guides for the placement of these dental implants after deciding the best locations for these implants for each individual patient from having taken scans of our patients. 

Why do you think dentistry is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 professions?

The various fields of dentistry offer advantages to those with different interests. One benefit of the field is that dentists can better control their work schedule and have some flexibility to allow for a better lifestyle. Most important though, dentistry affords the opportunity to see the “fruits of your labor,” which can be very satisfying.

What kind of career opportunities are available to students once they graduate from dental school?

Upon graduating dental school, most students decide to attend a dental residency to hone in on their skills and improve in both speed and efficiency before being completely on their own. Some students also choose to specialize within dentistry and attend a post-graduate program in one a variety of dental specialties that exist. Some more common dental specialties include: Periodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and prosthodontics. 

A small number of students decide to work for the U.S. armed forces as a means of loan repayment and ease of finding a job. 

The remainder of students will go immediately from dental school into private practice if they are lucky enough to find a good job right away upon graduation.

Regardless of specialty (or not), there is a choice of practicing in larger or smaller group setting and additionally the decision of whether to be affiliated with a dental school or hospital residency program, if not choosing to work in a private setting.

Some even choose an academic career, become hospital based, or pursue research in any of several different settings. There really are so many career opportunities available upon graduating with a dental degree!

To find out how you can get started, learn about the academic requirements for applying to dental school.

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