Dentists are responsible for curing diseases afflicting the teeth, gums and mouth. Their everyday duties include performing and studying mouth X-rays, offering advice regarding oral hygiene and care, carrying out extractions/tooth replacements/cavity fillings and root canals, etc.
As of 2019, there were over 600 working dentists in New Mexico according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to join this field as well, then this piece is for you. Read on to understand the requirements and process of becoming a dentist in the Land of Enchantment.
Should I Become a Dentist in New Maxico?
|Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)/Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)|
|Experience/Training||Required in case of specialization|
|Dexterity, Complex Problem Solving, Communication, Active Listening, Judgment and Decision Making and Problem Solving.|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National||$ 178,260|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||7%|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019) – New Mexico||$182,420|
Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online
Dentists are divided into two broad categories: specialists and general dentistry practitioners. To work as a specialist, you will need additional education and training of 2 to 4 years on top of your dental degree. Long hours and weekends on the job are common for medical professionals and the dentists are no different.
According to the records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 7% growth in employment opportunities for dentists from 2018 to 2028. This is higher than the increase predicted in many other fields. Moreover, an ageing population will also lead to increased demand for dental care.
Steps to Become a Dentist in New Maxico
The following steps should be taken to become a Dentist in New Mexico.
- Bachelor’s Degree
This is where your dental journey will begin. Pick any major but try taking at least some courses in science subjects like biology, psychology, chemistry and physics etc. You may also be able to get into dental school after 2 to 3 years of Bachelor’s education. Some institutions provide such a track whereby students can earn their undergrad degree as part of the dental education plan.
- Dental Admission Test (DAT)
When your Bachelor’s education is done and dusted, you can take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Getting a high score on this exam is vital for admission to dental school.
- Dental Degree
The next stop on the journey is dental school where you will spend 4 years to complete either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Pick a school whose dental programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
- Dental License
When you have your dental degree in hand, you can apply for your license from the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care. For eligibility, candidates usually have to pass the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) alongside a clinical assessment approved by the state.
- Specialty Education and Training
In case you want to become a specialist in a particular field of dentistry, the following options are available.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Pediatric Dentistry
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Dental Public Health
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Completing specialist education and training (possible residency program) will take another 2 to 4 years.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist in New Maxico?
The minimum time needed to become a dentist in New Mexico is 8 years. The first four of these will be spent getting an undergraduate degree while the stint in dental school will take up the next four. If you choose to work in a specialized area of dentistry, then additional education and training (2 to 4 years) will be needed.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Dentist in New Maxico?
The requirements for becoming a dental practitioner in the Land of Enchantment are listed below.
- Completing an undergrad degree.
- Finishing dental school with a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree.
- Earning the license to practice from the New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care.
- Deciding between general dentistry practice and specialty training.
How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Dentist in New Maxico?
Going by the records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico’s dentists drew $182,420 in annual mean wage in 2019.