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Careers in Dentistry

Careers in Dentistry

Dentistry, a lucrative profession, is concerned with all health problems afflicting the mouth, teeth, gums and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. It is accepted as a professional field which includes dental care and correction. Dentists help people maintain their health and appearance. Dentistry is changing rapidly, creating many opportunities and challenges. To an extent, it includes cosmetology where corrective treatment is involved. Dentists improve patients’ appearance by using a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures. These days, dentists are assuming very important roles in the whole healthcare system. With an increasing awareness of the importance of oral health and the introduction of new fields like periodontics (care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them), oral pathology (diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth ) and orthodontics (straightening and aligning teeth and jaws) have all enhanced the scope of this field. Dentists or dental surgeons provide surgical, medical and other forms of treatment for oral and dental disorders and diseases by examining teeth and mouth of the patients. They treat a diverse group of patients in a variety of settings using a variety of techniques and procedures such as computers and magnetic resonance imaging. This may include filling, crowning and scaling of teeth, extracting teeth, treating gum diseases and fitting artificial replacements where necessary and surgically handling injuries or other irregularities of the teeth and jaw. Problems dealing with the jaw or any invasive oral procedure are usually undertaken by an oral surgeon. Dentists perform trauma surgery, implants, tissue grafts and laser surgery to correct them. The core function of a dentist is prevention and treatment of diseases related to the oral cavity, including the floor of the oral cavity, the ‘roof’ of the mouth, teeth, gums, tongue etc. Their job include educating patients about oral hygiene and ways to preserve a healthy mouth and prevent dental problems.


To practice as a dentist one must need at least a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Science (BDS). There is no specialisation at the bachelor level. If you want your career to grow, then you will have to be a specialist with a Masters (MDS) degree. The main specialization areas of Dentistry are Orthodontics which deals with straightening and aligning teeth and jaws; Periodontics which specializes in the care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them; Operative Dentistry or Endodontics for root canal jobs, fillings and cosmetic surgery; Prosthodontics which involves the making of artificial teeth; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery which deals specifically with operations on the mouth and jaw, Pediatric Dentistry for treating children and Oral Pathology which provides the diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth. Eligibility: Candidates who have passed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with at least 50% marks are eligible for admission in the Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) course. Selection: Admission to graduate courses in dentistry is through a general, nationwide competitive examination. The All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Exam conducted by the CBSE is common for both the MBBS and the Bachelor of Dental Sciences (BDS) . The allocation of institutions is based on merit. Other than the centrally run medical institutions there is at least one dental college in most states, where admission is governed by domiciliary status. A merit waiting list up to a number of 1 to 2000 is made on the base of marks obtained in the Exam. The candidates are assigned their merit list and choice. There are also private colleges which under the management quota admit students on an all India basis. But to be eligible for practice, one must ensure that the course chosen is approved by the Dental Council of India. Contact Address: Dental Council of India Aiwan-E-Galib Marg, Kotla Road, Temple Lane, New Delhi – 110002 Phone : 91-11-23238542, 91-11-23236740 Fax: 91-11-23231252 E-mail : Contact 1 , Contact 2 Website: http://www.dciindia.org/ Duration: The BDS (Bachelor of Dental Science) degree programme is a 4 years course divided into 4 parts each of 1 years duration, followed by one year of rotating internship. Subjects such as basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology are covered in the first two years. Specialization in dentistry and hands on training are provided in the last two semesters. Those who have completed the BDS should be registered to practice dentistry by the Dental Council of India. An MDS (Masters in Dental Science) requires two years of additional training. The annual fees may range from 1 to 3 lakhs and the private institutions under management quota may charge 5 to 10 lakhs as capitation fee. Personal Skills: Today Dentists must have an artistic sense besides scientific knowledge. He is the scientist dedicated to the highest standards of health through the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all oral diseases and conditions. He must have an artist’s esthetic sense as well to realign an entire jaw or to brighten one tooth, to help patients look their best. It is a very hard working profession that requires craftsmanship and skill as much as theoretical knowledge. The foremost attribute required for a good dentist is patience, stamina to work hard for long periods, good health, power of concentration, manual dexterity and accuracy. Besides these they must have a keen eye for detail, ability to memorise and recall scientific facts, comprehensive medical understanding, cool temperament and strong interpersonal skills. The best dentists are skillful communicators and their analytical and logical reasoning skill should be above average.

Job Prospects and Career Options

A dentist’s job is to help the patients to maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. This requires an examination of the mouth and teeth when there is a problem, and the preparation and execution of plans for the treatment and restoration of teeth. The main work of a dentist’s involves treatment of diseased mouths and gums; extraction of teeth that cannot be saved, or might spread an infection to the rest of the mouth; fillings in the treatment of cavities; Surgery of the mouth and jaw; replacement of extracted teeth through surgery or other processes; cleaning of the patient’s mouth and teeth; corrective work to align or straighten teeth; dentures i.e. the making and fitting of false teeth and preventive work which involves routine check-ups for both adults and children. Dental Assistants and Hygienists in addition to assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures such as clean and scale teeth, place temporary fillings, does other specific tasks including taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilizing instruments and equipment and making impressions of patients’ teeth etc. Excellent employment opportunities are available for dentists in dental departments in hospitals, nursing homes, dental clinics and health departments as well as teaching departments in dental colleges. Apart from this, dentists could also work in the Research and Advisory functions of a pharmaceutical and other companies producing oral care products and medicines like toothpaste, mouth wash, gum care products, etc. Self-employment is also a promising avenue. With gaining experience, one can start his/her own individual practice. Many dentists prefer to be in private practice, as it provides the best financial prospects as well as greater independence. Private practitioners work either alone, often setting up a clinic on their own premises, or in partnership with colleagues, sharing resources and overheads. Besides these, in dentistry one can also take up work as a Dental Hygienist, Dental assistant or as a Dental consultant to models and film artists which could fetch a lot of money.


In government hospitals, freshly trained dentists could begin around Rs 6,000 a month (including allowances), while in private hospitals it could be from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000. Postgraduate degree holders can expect to start on Rs 7,000 upwards. Dental surgeons can earn good money through their own practice. The consultation charges could be Rs.500 upwards for cosmetic filling and can be as high as Rs. 40,000 to 50,000 depending upon the nature of dental problem the patient is undergoing. A well established dentist can make around Rs.20,000 – 1,00,000 or more per month.