For many high school students, this time of year represents the widespread anticipation of the culmination of their academic career. They have spent the past few months applying to colleges and universities, trade schools or taking on apprenticeships with a view to their futures. At Brinkley Dental, with a focus on family-friendly oral health care, we’ve watched some of our very own patients move through childhood, the early teens and on to new horizons in post-secondary settings. That’s why we thought perhaps with the arrival of spring, and coincidentally, the fact that April is Oral Health Month, we’d give parents and students a bit of a “heads-up,” with some timely information on what to consider, if you are considering a career in Dentistry!
We’re certainly happy to share our own personal experiences with this process but it probably makes more sense to defer to our partners in dentistry, the Canadian Dental Association. You and/or your young adult may also want to visit the websites of the various academic institutions that offer dental programming. Whether you are making these important decisions now or planning for a few years down the road, here’s some information for aspiring dental practitioners of the future.
- A career in Dentistry is both a scientific one and also, we might suggest, aesthetically and emotionally pleasing. You’ll spend time studying the science behind good oral health AND you’ll be helping people to both look good and feel good about themselves.
- It’s the right career for you if you like working with people and having variety in your day. You’ll be dealing with patients across every age range, demographic and with life experiences that vary significantly and who are experiencing anything from the need for routine dental hygiene appointments to dental emergencies requiring your care, compassion and skills and expertise.
- If you like being self-employed but working with others, owning a dental practice certainly offers you the opportunity to be your own boss while working together with a team of skilled professionals in supporting roles helping you to provide excellent care to your patients.
- Dentistry is an essential service so if something as simple as job security is part of your motivation, oral health care will always be important. In fact, increasingly, we know that oral health is an important contributor to a person’s overall health and wellness and with the typical baby developing teeth anywhere between the ages of 6 months to one year you’ll have patients for life!
What schooling will I need?
- There is no doubt that an investment of time is required to become a dentist. The typical process involves completing a four-year undergraduate program with an emphasis on math and science. (Although, as we pointed out earlier – having an artistic eye and artisan skills are certainly beneficial.)
- You will need to maintain a good overall GPA and write both the DAT, Dental Aptitude Test and the CASPer test which is a psychological test assessing your ability to react and handle specific real-life scenarios. It’s used in many environments including medical, dental and nursing school applications.
- You can expect to be in school for an additional 4 years studying dentistry and potentially even longer if you explore specialty options.
- You might also be interested to learn that over 4000 applicants applied for just 523 spots in 2020. You may also expect to go through an interview process and each school has other specific requirements for admission too.
Once you’ve graduated, what does a day in the life of a dentist look like?
- Dentists perform a number of different procedures and services on any given day. We might do a routine extraction, fill a cavity or perform a root canal. You probably assumed as much but we do so many other things too.
- First and foremost of course, we provide oral health care and education to our patients. We help people take care of their teeth with both routine dental cleanings and by helping patients learn about the importance of, and how to care for, their teeth.
- Dentists are an important part of your health care team and we regularly make referrals to physicians or psychologists and other health care professionals.
- Many dentists work part time or full time in a dental faculty of education teaching the next generation of dentists or informally provide training and mentoring within the scope of their own practice.
- Some may choose to specialize in forensic dentistry and become experts who work as part of criminal investigative teams or in helping identify victims of mass disasters.
- In addition to educating patients, some dentists may also provide community / public education services working with schools or public health or even volunteering their time providing services for low income families, those without dental health insurance or working on First Nations Reserves.
There is so much more to dentistry than just what you see while visiting your local dental office. If you’ve been thinking about a fulfilling career that puts you in a position to help others, study and appreciate science but that also appeals to your artistic side, we hope we’ve provided enough information here to peak your interest! Spring is in the air and graduations will start happening soon. What does your career path look like? If you’d like to learn more about your own oral health care, or why we chose dentistry as a career, contact our offices in north Brampton. We’re Brinkley Dental, family-friendly and committed to your oral health. Until next time, we’ll leave you as we always do with this friendly reminder: “Don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”