How Do I Become a Dentist?
Many of my patients ask me what it takes to become a dentist. Dentistry has been great for me and for my family (I have a wife and six boys!) and I believe it is a great profession. So, let me share a few ideas about how one becomes a dental provider.
Going to school is clearly a crucial step to becoming a dentist. The requirements to enter Dental School vary somewhat from school to school, but some requirements are universal. You must graduate from high school. You must complete college level classes in Biology, Anatomy, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Embryology, Cellular Biology, Physiology and Histology among others. You need to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Interestingly, you do not need to graduate from college or have an undergraduate degree of any kind. Any dental school will want to feel confident that you have been able to master classes in science and have a foundation for the curriculum that will follow in the dental program.
You will need to apply to Dental Schools similar to the way one applies to college. The admissions team will review the courses you have taken in college, will asses your grades, the schools you have attended and any other factors that would set you apart form other candidates. A part of this process is several face-to-face interviews.
You must graduate from an accredited dental school. All but one dental school in the U.S. is a four-year program which is generally in session year-round. It is a very vigorous first two yearswith 8-10 hours of classes and labs each day. The second two years are spent in far fewer lectures and are instead spent in about 6 hours per day in a dental clinic treating actual patients. Fillings, crowns, extraction and root canals are a few of the treatments performed each week in clinic. In order to graduate, you must pass all your lecture classes and demonstrate proficiency in all basic dental treatments.
STATE BOARD EXAMINATIONS
Once you have graduated from dental school, you are permitted to take the Board Exam for any state that you desire to practice in. The Board Exams in California and New York are considered the most difficult to pass. The Examination consists of several different dental treatments performed on live patients and closely evaluated and graded by Dental Examiners. If you do not pass every section of each procedure, you are not given a license to practice dentistry and you must wait six months for the opportunity to take the test again.
Once you have graduated from Dental School and have passed the National Boards and the State Boards, you are issued a license to practice dentistry in your Sate. You can then beginbuilding your dental practice and can begin treating patients. During the course of your career, you will relieve pain, prevent dental problems and make patients smile bigger. You will build meaningful relationships that will span generations. And you will provide a great living for your family.
About Turner Dental Care
At Turner Dental Care, we provide a wide range of dental services to meet your every need. Our Family and Cosmetic dental practice is dedicated to providing the quality treatment and care you deserve. For more information about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (949) 770-3294.