What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists are well-trained medical professionals who treat patients with oral health problems. Like other doctors, dentists also get to choose a specialization. Some dentists don’t specialize and work as General Dentists. While, others specialize to work as Prosthodontists or Orthodontists. Duties of dentists vary based on their specialty however, a few duties are common and are carried out by all dentists. These duties include,

  • Asking patients about their medical history or previous issues.
  • Performing a complete checkup of teeth and gums.
  • Giving a diagnosis or prescribing medications if needed.
  • Removal and repair of damaged teeth and gums etc.

How to Become a Licensed Dentist in Philadelphia?

The process of becoming a dentist begins with a bachelor’s degree and completes with acquisition of a state issued license. It may take anywhere between 10 to 12 years for the entire process to complete. The steps involved in this process are explained in detail below.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree

  2. The first step to begin a career in dentistry is enrolling in a 4-year bachelor’s degree. Courses in biology, chemistry and other related sciences taken during this degree act as pre-requisites for further training in dental school.

  1. The Dental Admissions Test (DAT)

  2. It is mandatory for all prospective dentists to sit for and clear the Dental Admission Test with at least a passing score to enroll in a dental school.

  1. Dental School

  2. After getting the bachelor’s degree and clearing DAT, students must enroll in a 4-year Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Many institutions in Philadelphia, PA offer these degrees. A DDS or a DMD degree takes almost 4 years to complete and consists 2 years of coursework and 2 years of field experience.

  1. Applying for a State Issued License

  2. Applying for a license with the state of Pennsylvania is the last step for this career. It is mandatory for all dentists in the U.S. to be licensed. The requirements of acquiring a license vary for each state. The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry (SBOD) regulates the licensure process in Philadelphia, PA. Those who complete their DDS/DMD degree from an ADA-accredited institution in the U.S. are eligible to apply for a license in this state. The application for license must be submitted with a passing score on the written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the clinical North East Regional Board (NERB) Dental Hygiene Examination.

How Much Can I Make as a Dentist in Philadelphia?

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), reported an annual median salary of $153,950 for General Dentists in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition to that, the BLS data shows that the annual mean salary for General Dentists in the state of Pennsylvania slightly decreased in 2017 as compared to that of 2016. However, it increased again in 2018.

What Is the Job Outlook for Doctors in Philadelphia?

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 7% employment growth between 2018 and 2028 for Dentists in the U.S. This growth rate is measured to be faster than the average for other careers which makes it a worthwhile career.