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Home > Careers > Career Paths > Medical Health Careers
Dentistry

Dentistry is the branch of medicine that involves diagnosing, preventing and treating conditions of the oral cavity (teeth, gums and related structure of the mouth).  Dentistry not only aids in improving the general health of the patient but also their overall social well-being.

SPECIALTIES AND DUTIES

GENERAL DENTISTRY:

  • Treats and prevents tooth decay, gum disease, crowding.
  • Takes x-rays to examine any underlying problems.
  • Diagnoses the causes of dental problems and prescribes appropriate dental care.
  • Performs fillings, root canals, replaces missing teeth with dentures, bridges or implants.
  • Makes appropriate referrals to specialists and monitors the patients’ progress.
  • Gives advice on good oral care.

MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON:

  • Qualified in both medicine and dentistry.
  • Treats diseases, cancers, trauma and abnormalities in the head and neck.
  • Surgically improves jaw relationships.

ORAL SURGEON:

  • Treats the results of physical trauma, removes impacted wisdom teeth and decayed teeth and removes cysts and tumors in the jaws.
  • May place implants to replace missing teeth.
  • Surgically improves jaw relationships.

ORTHODONTIST:

  • Improves both the function and appearance of crowded and displaced teeth
  • Improves the relationship of the upper and lower jaws.


PEDODONTICS:

  • Provides dental care in children up to the early teens.
  • Tries to educate children and parents in preventative dental care.
  • May treat those with special needs.


PERIODONTIST:

  • Treats diseases of the gums, bones and tissues supporting the teeth.
  • Places implants to replace missing teeth.
  • Uses artificial bone to replace the bone lost due to gum disease.
  • Places grafts to replace damaged gum tissue.

PROSTHODONTICS:

  • Constructs crowns, bridges, implants or dentures to replace missing teeth.

PUBLIC HEALTH DENTIST:

  • Prevents and controls dental disease and promotes dental health through Community efforts.
  • Often manages a dental team of dental health educators, dental hygienists and dental nurses to provide dental care to a community.
  • Designs and performs research into dental health care.

DENTAL NURSE

  • Perform extractions of deciduous teeth on children under the age of twelve (12).
  • Place fillings on children under twelve (12).
  • Administers local anesthesia.
  • Conduct cleanings and fluoride treatment.
  • Cleans and prepares equipment.
  • Executes oral health education programs.

DENTAL ASSISTANT

  • Develops X-Rays.
  • Cleans and sterilizes dental instruments used by dentists.
  • Prepares the dental surgery for the next patient.
  • Co-ordinates laboratory work for patients.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Baccalaureus Chirurgiae Dental (BCh.D)
  • Entry requirements include courses such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, English, Psychology, Social Sciences, Computer Literacy and Statistics.

PROFILE

The following personal qualities are essential to becoming a successful Dentist:

  • Manual Precision: steady hands are important when performing minute actions and they must be dexterous and have muscular endurance for long procedures, attention to detail is critical.
  • Communication and People Skills: excellent communication skills are required to explain procedures to the patient to allow the patient to make an informed choice as well as give advice clearly and accurately interpret any questions they may have.
  • Empathy and Patience: showing empathy allows patients to trust the dentist and therefore makes the procedure less stressful for both parties involved. Similarly, patience to deal with and calm anxious patients is beneficial.
  • Cleanliness: a Dentist should have good hygiene, an obviously clean and bright surgery, so that patients will feel confident that they are being treated in a germ free environment.
  • Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills: Dentists should be able to assess the problem the patient is experiencing and determine the best possible treatment to be taken.
  • Ability to work well under pressure: the ability to work quickly and efficiently without becoming overwhelmed is important especially in emergency situations.


 



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