The field of dentistry is concerned with the health and appearance of the oral cavity which includes the teeth, gums, tongue, and the jaw. The first occupation that typically comes to mind when we think of this branch of medicine is Dentist, but other options might interest those who want to work in this field but aren’t willing to, or can’t, spend the significant time it takes to prepare for this career. If you want to help people preserve their oral health and appearance, you can become a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant or dental technician.Their roles and responsibilities differ significantly from one another, as do their educational and licensing requirements. Read through these brief descriptions and then dig further to learn more about them so you can decide which is the best fit for you.
Dentists are health professionals who diagnose and treat problems with their patients’ teeth and mouth tissue. They may be general practitioners or specialize in an area of dentistry like orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics or pediatric dentistry. Many own practices.
Dental hygienists, generally working under the supervision of a dentist, provide preventative dental care. They typically spend a lot of time with their patients, performing cleanings, examining their mouths and teeth, and teaching them good oral hygiene practices. Their duties vary according to the rules of the state in which they practice.
Dental assistants work alongside dentists, performing some patient care, but not the same tasks dental hygienists are licensed to carry out. Laboratory and office duties are also among their many responsibilities.
Dental technicians manufacture prosthetics and other appliances based on dentists’ specifications. They are also called dental laboratory technicians.