Learn about careers in dentistry

Do you like helping people? Would you like to be your own boss someday and make a good living? Then you might enjoy a career in the dental field. You’ll work with all kinds of people and help them enjoy good dental health. You can be a dentist, a dental hygienist, dental assistant or a dental laboratory technician.

Find out more about what it takes to become a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant or dental lab technician.

Dentists provide important services to all types of people and are often able to set their own hours.


Diagnose and treat diseases of the mouth, including teeth, gums and jaws

Repair or restore teeth that have been lost or damaged by decay (cavities), accidents or diseases

Make smiles bright and beautiful

What do dentists do?

How do I become
a dentist?

Where do dentists
work?

Take science and math classes in high school and college

Take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) before going to dental school

Attend dental school for 3 - 4 years

Their own offices

Offices with other dentists

Hospitals, clinics, dental schools and the military

Companies that administer dental benefits programs (such as Delta Dental)

Dental hygienists treat patients, teach them good dental habits and often have a flexible work schedule.


Clean patients' teeth by removing plaque and calculus and polishing and flossing teeth

Check teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy

Take x-rays of teeth

Teach patients how to brush and floss properly

Take science and math classes in high school and college

Complete a 2-year training program

Pass an exam to become licensed in order to treat patients

Dental offices, community health clinics, hospitals, schools

Companies that administer dental benefits programs (such as Delta Dental)

Dental assistants work with all kinds of people and keep the office running smoothly.


Assist the dentist with patient treatment, including taking x-rays and sterilizing instruments

Work directly with patients on some procedures, such as taking impressions of teeth so that crowns can be made

Schedule appointments, order supplies, handle bookkeeping and other office duties

Complete a 1-2 year dental assisting program
Dental schools, clinics, hospitals and offices

Companies that administer dental benefits programs (such as Delta Dental)

Dental laboratory technicians use their artistic talents and work with modern technology to make many different kinds of replacements for teeth.

Make tooth replacements, including dentures, bridges, crowns and veneers and orthodontic appliances (such as braces)

Work with a variety of materials such as wax, plastic, metal and porcelain

Complete a 1-2 year education and training program
Labs, factories, dental offices, schools and hospitals

 

 
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