Top Ten Nation Search

Top 10: Ways To Know If Dentistry Is Right For You

Dentistry is a profession which is difficult to comprehend for someone who may have had little exposure. Even for someone who has experience with dentistry, they will tell you that there is a great variation in the way each dentist or practitioner practices dentistry. There are many methods, and many products or instruments to accomplish the same task. So how do you know if dentistry is the right profession for you?

Top 10 Things To Do That Can Help You Determine If The Dental Profession Is A Right Choice For You

1. Shadow a dentist
Ask your dentist or a dentist in your area if you can observe them while at work. Keep in mind that there are many styles of dentistry practiced out there, so try to shadow a few dentists. Some dentists may have staff or patient interaction issues, while others may have a much more pleasant interaction with their staff and patients. Some may focus their efforts on a few fields within dentistry like endodontics (root canals) and orthodontics, while others may perform a little bit of everything. Most dentists are quite willing to have someone observe them. Just be polite and keep in mind that some patients may be unwilling to have an observer in the operatory, so you may have to step out for these patients.

2. Read up on dentistry
Dentistry is a rapidly changing profession, but the basics have remained the same for hundreds of years. Oral health is the basis for dentistry, and placing restorations and maintenance of oral health by performing necessary procedures and providing necessary advice/instruction is the bread and butter of this profession. Technology is integrated into this field as it becomes available. As a dental student, I see that there is a huge divide between what is taught in dental school, and what performing dentistry is actually like once you graduate. These are all points that you have to take into consideration while deciding your future. Dentistry isn't only performing clinical procedures either... it requires being a leader, a business manager, an HR coordinator, and much more rolled into one package. One of the primary ways you will get insight into what is required to succeed as a dentist is to read up on this profession.

3. Visit a dental laboratory
Dental labs are places where you will see all of the hard work performed by dental lab technicians. Dentures and crowns are processed here as well as much more. Keep in mind that you will have to perform some of this difficult lab work while in dental school, although clearly, once in practice, you will rely more on the dental labs to assist you in treating your patients. Dentistry isn't just about what you see in the dental office, and visiting a dental lab can help you experience all of the work required of the "dental team" that operates in the background. Quality is important. Find a dental lab that is recommended by a few dentists in your area before you decide to go in and observe.

4. Visit a school of dentistry
Schools of dentistry and dental medicine are more than happy to show young and interested students around. Potential candidates can usually go on tours and see students in action. If you plan to pursue dentistry, you might as well get a flavor of what will be expected of you in the future! Ask the faculty and the students questions of what they think about dentistry, and take every one's opinions and ideas seriously, as they can all give you a different perspective about the multi factorial nature of dentistry.

5. Join a pre-dental student club
I specifically recommend ASDA pre-dental clubs. These clubs sometimes have people come in and talk about their careers. They can answer your questions as well. You can talk to like-minded club members about what they have learned, and why they are interested in dentistry as well. All of this information can help you obtain your objective of discovering whether or not dentistry is right for you.

6. Talk to a Health Professions Advisor
Some universities have health professions advisors available that can assist you with obtaining information about dentistry and can help you reach a decision. Some advisors may not be as enthusiastic about dentistry as you would hope, so doing your own research may be just as helpful! Talking to an advisor can't hurt though, so if there is one available to you, take advantage.

7. Prioritize what you want in a career
Some people are looking for financial stability and others want a relaxed lifestyle. Some people are excited to deal with people, and others may be more happy to work with technology. Do you want to be your own boss? It requires a lot of work. Would you like to manage people? Dentistry requires a lot of attention to detail and fine motor skills and developed hand movements. Do you like working with your hands? Are you more interested in a certain aspect of medicine? Prioritizing and listing what things you want in a career can help you decide whether or not you would be more happy as an emergency room doctor or as a dentist or whatever it may be!

8. Compare
Once you have your prioritized list what what you want in a career... compare professions! Shadow all of the professions that you may be interested in. You may decide on something completely different at the end of your discovery process! Read up on multiple careers, and ask questions. Comparing and weighing what you are looking for can certainly help you decide if dentistry is the right choice for you!

9. Think
Are you committed to life-long learning? Are you committed to working hard for an extended period of time? Are you ready to deal with frustration surrounding a completely different way of being scrutinized? This is what dentistry is all about. Pre-dental students are used to multiple choice exams. There are plenty of those in dental school as well, but with the added stress of clinical exams. Most anyone can develop hand skills, but it requires many hours of practice. Most days in dental school require you to be there from 8am to 5pm. Staying after classes to practice is needed for most students to pass their clinical exams. Are you ready and willing to do what it takes?

10. Be sure of dentistry if you decide to apply
I wanted to add this small comment at the end of this list for those readers possibly interested in dentistry but have some doubts in their minds. Some students decide to pursue dentistry for superficial reasons, and they do not do enough research before they apply, get accepted, and enter dental school. These people are unhappy and eventually leave dental school or live an unhappy life. Dental school is expensive, so once you enter, it's a huge commitment. There are many ways to make money in life, and dentistry is not the end-all-be-all that some people may expect. Dentistry is a profession which is suited for people who actually enjoy assisting people with improving their oral health. If you aren't committed, it will certainly bear down on you. For those of you who know that this is what you want, go for it, you'll be happy with the choice you have made! Dentistry is a great profession!

I hope this helps, and as always, feel free to leave a comment, or email in a question for a private answer (

1 comment:

  1. great information! I'm a pre-dental student interning w/ an orthodontist and I love it, but i usually assist, observe, and work in the lab making retainers and models and I love it! However, I can't seem to find anything to ask the doc about his specialty....i just observe and learn b/c i soak up material that way. I've shadowed every specialty...but didnt get a chance to ask too many questions....=/ but my general dentist was very informative! He loves what he does and explained the science behind it...pretty cool. =D I'm sooo excited to apply to dental school!!! go clean teeth and female dentists!!


Feed Shark