A Complete Guide to the Different Careers in Dentistry

Are you looking to pursue a career in dentistry?

There were over 25,000 students enrolled in dental education programs in 2019. This means that, by now, a good number have graduated and are now a part of the industry. The industry now has more skilled professionals to help everyone with their smiles.

If you want to be a part of this industry, the best way to do so is by graduating from a dental course. What career will you have once you graduate, though?

Below is a list of the possible careers in dentistry that you can have when you graduate. Give it a read and have your pick!


People often think that all the people who work on their mouths are dentists. While this is true to a degree, being a dentist is a distinct job on its own.

Dentists are in charge of the diagnosis and treatment of the mouth. This involves the gums, teeth, and even the cheeks. Dentists are also in charge of any treatment that involves using the X-ray.

They’re also the people who are in charge of developing a treatment plan for the patients. This means that once you finish one stage of your braces, for example, then dentists are the ones who plan out the next stage of the procedure.

They’re also the ones in charge of placing implants, replacing and polishing crowns, and even extractions. This is the reason why they’re associated with most careers in the industry. Because of their diverse responsibility, though, you need a full 4 years in dental school and a bachelor’s degree to boot.

You must also pass a clinical exam, as well as a written one. Once completed, you will then get your dentistry license.

Dental Assistant

If you want to learn on the job, you can be a dental assistant while you study for your license. A dental assistant works next to a dentist as they perform treatments for a patient. Their main job is to assist the dentist with anything they need help with during the procedure.

They’re the ones who prepare the tools needed for the procedure. Dental assistants are also the people in charge of prepping the patients for their treatments. They also answer their questions and educate them on what’s about to happen.

Assistants are also in charge of the cleanliness of the workplace. This is important as tools that get dirty can cause infections in a patient’s mouth.

Of course, you can also expand your duties if you undergo further studies. You can learn more about these expanded functions at

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is like a dentist in training. They perform things like teeth cleaning and patient education. They also have the authority to use advanced equipment including the x-ray machine.

They also keep track of a patient’s history with the dentist. Hygienists even administer anesthesia in preparation for minor procedures. The only thing that a hygienist can’t do is perform major operations.

To become a hygienist, you need a degree in dental hygiene. It’s preferable that it comes from an accredited college or university. This ensures you have no problems getting a license later on.

With the pandemic going on, though, it’s better that you take a course online, instead.


The periodontist specializes in the area around the gums and the bones that surround the jaw. This career option is all about the care and structure of the area. This includes tissue reductions in case the patient has overdeveloped gums or gum disease.

In the case of the latter, the periodontist is also in charge of surgical options. Among the most common surgeries that they do involve grafting gums to areas that need it more. This is essential if there’s a tooth in danger of falling off due to weak gums.

Besides that, they’re also in charge of inserting implants in the area. With the new All on 4 implants getting popular, the demand for their services is also on the rise.


Among the different careers in dentistry, orthodontists are the most popular ones. This is because their primary service revolves around the straightening of the patient’s teeth. They’re the ones in charge of the treatment of any anomaly in the mouth, such as crooked teeth and extra teeth in the gums.

They’re also the ones in charge of fitting braces on patients. Anything that you put in your mouth for corrections is their area of expertise. This includes retainers and the trending Invisalign bite plates.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school if you want to get certified. It will take you another 3 years to get the certificates and license that you want.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

If you prefer to be more hands-on with your patient’s teeth, go for a license in oral and maxillofacial surgery. These surgeons perform procedures on the hard and soft tissue surrounding the mouth. They’re often the ones who extract any damaged teeth from your mouth.

They’re also the ones who are in charge of wisdom tooth removal. They examine the x-rays of a patient’s mouth to determine how to remove it. They also remove any tooth that’s beyond repair and restoration.

They also provide emergency treatment and surgery to the oral region. This includes the cheeks and the area around the mouth. This is for when there’s a bacterial infection that’s likely to spread around the mouth.

They have the authority to remove any skin, nerves, and even bones in the mouth. This is when they pose a threat to the health of a patient.

Careers in Dentistry: Have Your Pick

There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a dental career. Pick one from this list of careers in dentistry and start taking steps towards pursuing it.

Do you want to learn all about dentistry and other professions? Keep tabs on our blog!

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