Nature of Work: Dentists diagnose, prevent, and treat problems of the teeth and tissues of the mouth. In aesthetic dentistry, they remove decay and fill cavities, examine X-rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten, whiten, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery of the gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth, place dental implants, make molds, and take measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. In addition, they provide instruction in diet, brushing, flossing, and the use of fluorides, and in other areas of dental care. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications. Dentists may operate a general practice or may specialize in any of the following areas: endodontics, implantology, oral surgery, orthodontics, pathology, pedodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics.
Professional Training: To qualify for licensing, candidates must graduate from an approved dental school and pass a State Board Exam. Licensed professionals may go on for advanced training in order to teach or to specialize.