Dentist Job Description

Dentists use a variety of specialized equipment to diagnose and treat problems with the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They also provide advice to patients on how they can improve or maintain their oral care. They are normally assisted by dental assistants and dental hygienists.

The majority of dentists are general practitioners, meaning that they provide care for many different types of dental needs. Some dentists, such as endodontists, orthodontists, and periodontists specialize in one particular type of dental care.

Dentists may either run their own practice or group with other dentists to form a joint partnership.

Responsibilities for dentist jobs include:

  • Administering anesthetics such as carbon dioxide to relax patients and limit the pain they experience during dental procedures.
  • Informing patients of problems with their teeth or gums, and developing plans for treatment.
  • Writing prescriptions for pain killers and antibiotics following dental procedures.
  • Removing tooth decay and filling cavities.

Work Environment and Schedule

Most dentists work in offices. Because their patients may have contagious diseases or sicknesses, dentists wear masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect their health while working on patients.

Most dentist practices maintain normal business hours between Monday and Friday, allowing dentists to able to keep a regular schedule. However, some offices choose to remain open on evenings and weekends to fit the schedules of their patients.

How to Become a Dentist

In all states, dentists must have a degree from an accredited dental school, successfully pass an exam, and complete a one to two year residency program.

Specialized dentists must have an additional license in their area of specialty before they are able to practice.

If you want to attend dental school, it would be wise to earn your bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, or other science. Though dentist schools may accept candidates from any academic background, a bachelor's of science will best prepare you for dental school and likely impact your chances of being accepted.

Required Skills

Dentists must be detail oriented and patient in order to provide proper care to their patients. Some dental procedures can take a very long time and be both mentally and physically trying, so remaining in good mental and physical health is important.

Good communication skills are great for a dentist to have as well, since they have to translate medical terms into words that their patients can understand.

Related Occupations

Employment Outlook

There are currently 130,700 dentists in the United States, with 6,640 new dentist job openings created each year.

Dentist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Dentist Salaries

Salaries by State

Hover over your state to get an idea of what Dentists make in your area.

How to use this salary data.

Job seekers can use it while negotiating a salary.

Employers can use it to help set appropriate wage levels while writing job descriptions.

Overall Salaries

Dentist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most dentists make between $102,100 - $166,400+ per year, or $49.08 - $80+ per hour.

Dentist Video Job Description

Salary and statistical data provided by the BLS.