Get Your Teeth into It

Article excerpt

D is for ... dentist.

most of us hate going, but dentists are key people when it comes to keeping our teeth and gums healthy and pain-free.

Dentistry is highly specialist work and is suitable for people with an interest in human biology, science and dental issues.

The British Dental Association is the professional body and trade union of dentists working within all fields of dentistry.

And it can provide a host of advice and information about the profession.

Oral and dental health is a very important part of general health.

The ability to smile, eat and talk without pain, discomfort or embarrassment contributes greatly to a sense of well-being.

Dentists are healthcare professionals who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of problems that affect the mouth and teeth.

This demands diagnostic, clinical and social skills.

Some dentists will become teachers or lecturers in dental schools, others will be employed in hospitals or community clinics.

But most will become general dental practitioners.

Often they will be managing a team of people including dental nurses, hygienists, receptionists - so good admin and managerial abilities are needed, as well as a good medical training.

Working in a family dental practice is the most common route for people in the industry.

The first step is to undertake one year's vocational training, which is supervised training, working in an approved practice.

Following vocational training, dentists usually enter an established practice as an associate - a self-employed dentist, responsible for the treatment that they provide but working in a business owned by someone else.

Later on a dentist may often become a practice owner, either becoming a partner, buying a practice or establishing a new practice.

Like a medical general practitioner, you have the opportunity to form long -term relationships with your patients and provide them with continuing care.

There is no formal general dental practice career structure, so you can further your knowledge at your own pace and follow the particular dental specialties that are of interest to you.

Dentists can choose where they work and the hours they keep. They may practice under the National Health Service or privately - most dentists see a mixture of NHS and private patients. …