“Is my dentist qualified?,” You’ve probably wondered.
You’ve also probably wondered, “What does it take to become a dentist?”
In this article, we’ll address the 4 things you need to know about your dentist’s qualifications. We address how to become a dentist and whether or not your dentist is qualified to help you with your dental issues. At Mills River Family Dental, we recognize the importance of feeling safe with your dentist and feeling confident that your dentist can help you. Getting dental work is stressful and scary, but that doesn’t have to be the case if you have a great understanding of who your dentist is and what they have had to do in order to become qualified as a dentist.
How To Become Qualified as a Dentist in The United States
In order to feel safe in your dentist’s hands, you need to know about their education and training. Here are 4 of the most important things that your dentists needed to do in order to become a dentist. Keep in mind that these 4 aspects are just some of the basic steps your dentist needed to have taken in order to be qualified as a dentist. Usually, a dentist has even more training added in addition those mentioned below.
#1. Your dentist has a bachelor’s degree with pre-requisites in the health and science fields
In the United States, your dentist first needs to obtain a four-year degree (also called a bachelor’s degree). As part of this degree, they learned about different subjects. Typically, students seeking to become dentists will usually study a health-related subject such as the sciences (think biology, chemistry or human anatomy and physiology) or even the social sciences. Majoring in a health-field not only helps your dentists complete the prerequisites needed to get into a dental school, but it also provides a solid foundation for the knowledge they needed.
Nowadays, with the emphasis on communication and understanding of human behavior, your dentist might have a bachelors in a non-health related field. Still, while studying a non-health related field, your dentists would have had to complete prerequisite courses.
#2. Your dentist took the dental school entrance exam and went to dental school
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, your dentist needed to study for a dental school entrance exam called the dental admission test. This test includes different questions related to their field. To qualify for dental school, your dentist would have also completed a dental school application and possible interview with the program they applied to.
In dental school, your dentist either got a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree. Both degrees require the same courses and knowledge. Both degrees also require intense study and practice.
#3. Your dentist took and passed the National Board Dental Examination
The National Board Dental Examination is an exam that makes sure that your dentist understands different dental conditions, topics and areas. This exam is what helps your dentist become licensed as a dentist who can practice dentistry. In addition to this, there are state exams that your dentist would need to pass in order to obtain licensure.
An interesting fact that we’d like to point out is that dental hygienists also need to pass the National Board Dental Examination and would need to take courses in dental hygiene. More information on the qualifications of dental hygienists will be provided in an upcoming article.
#4. Your dentist may have specialized in other dental specialties and completed residency.
According to the American Dental Association, there are 12 specialties:
- Dental anesthesiology
- Dental public health
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology
- Oral medicine
- Orofacial pain
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- Pediatric dentistry
Each speciality is unique and requires different courses and training. For more information about each speciality, read this article.
Mills River Family Dental: Quality Care & Qualified Dentists
As you can tell, becoming a dentist requires rigorous training and a strong educational background. It also requires years of experience in the health field.
The benefits of having qualified and well-trained dentists include feeling safe knowing that you’re in good hands, having dentists who are aware of various dental conditions and illnesses, and having dentists who have been trained in various areas.
At Mills River Family Dental, our dentists are qualified and trained in diverse areas of dentistry. Our dentists are also members of prominent professional organizations such as the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry.
Contact us for more information about our dentists educational background and training. Feel free to also set up an appointment with one of our dentists who would be able to help you with various dental issues.