Have pearly whites always fascinated you? Is it your life-long dream to become a dentist? It is great that you want to become a dentist but it is important that you know about the complete facts before you commit yourself to this profession.
Dentistry may seem like the best profession for you but there are a lot of things that you must consider if you want to complete the course of education required to become a dentist. Keep in mind that it is no easy feat and requires a great deal of time and energy to get to the stage of practicing your dentistry degree.
Let’s take a look at all the things you need to become a dentist:
If you are a high school student and are pretty adamant on studying to become a dentist, this is a great time for you to start your journey. Since dentistry is not a subject that is taught in high school, you can take alternative courses such as biology, anatomy and so on. Read up on as many books as you possibly can just so you have that heads up on other students when you actually reach your dentistry school.
Moreover, it is never too late to make connections. Get in touch with dentists in your area and start visiting them frequently. You can even ask them if they have any part time jobs open for you to begin after school. Or better yet you can even go for an internship if they are willing to offer one.
Here again there are no particular courses that you can take. None of the courses directly link to dentistry and this is why you need to do the same thing you used to do in High school. Take up as many science courses you want. There is also an option for you to enroll in a college program that is associated with dental school. There are some dental schools who offer undergraduate degrees for aspiring dentists.
If that is not in your approach, make sure that you excel in your science based classes and maintain a credit. Do your research on different dental schools to find out what their requirements are exactly. They might have a threshold of credit hours that you must complete if you want to score an admission. Some might even require you to take a set of subjects exclusively, it all depends on the college you want to go to.
One other aspect that many students ignore but have to suffer from later on is the lack of extracurricular activities. These activities include volunteering, internships, experience in the medical sector and the list goes on. If you have any sort of medical experience on your CV it will amount greatly in your favor. In addition to that, try and find out the requirement for the recommendation letters that most colleges demand. They might ask you to get a recommendation from specific people in your college.
Dental Admission Test
If you are sure about joining dentistry, this is the biggest test you need to prepare for. If you are all set up to apply at dental schools, get through the test by the September of the final year of your college. The reason why you must take it several months before your graduation is that you don’t have to rush it. The DAT is not just any test, it is an extensive test that demands you study extensively and begin in advance too.
Once you begin your senior year in college, you must make sure that you keep track of when dental school applications open so that you can apply as soon as possible. There is an application service you can use called the AADSAS. You can use it to give in your applications. They will only be valid if you are successfully able to pass your DAT with decent scores.
It usually takes four years to complete your dental degree in a dental school. That is after you complete your undergraduate degree. If you want to shorten the overall time, you can enroll yourself in a direct dental program. In this program you will be able to cut down on the years it takes you to graduate from your dental college. You can reach out to an undergraduate institution and start a program there. This will help you get your degree as early as 5-6 years rather than 7-8 years.
After spending a year or so in dentistry there are many students who wish to specialize. If you want to go for a specialized degree you need to make sure that you direct your education in that direction specifically. As soon as you complete your degree you will have to start your specialization and that can take additional years.
Check the rules of your state, it is possible that you might have to give a live-patient examination. Since this is not a requirement for every state, do your research before you start worrying about them. The requirements are different for every state so make sure you go through them.
National Board Dental Examination
To start your dental practice it is very important for you to pass your national board examination. The United States Of America makes it a prerequisite for aspiring dentists to complete their examination just so they get the certification to start their practice.