Dentists are oral health doctors who diagnose and treat patients who have problems with their teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They offer advice and instruction on proper dental hygiene and diet that can improve the condition of the patients’ oral health.
Dentist job duties
When dentists are at work, they wear gloves, masks, and safety glasses to keep themselves and their patients safe from infectious diseases. Before a major dental surgery, they administer anesthetics to reduce the amount of pain that patients have to endure during a procedure. It is the job of a dentist to examine teeth, gums, and the neighboring tissues using X-rays, dental instruments, and other diagnostic equipment. The examination is necessary in assessing the patients’ dental health, diagnose any problem with the mouth, and develop an effective treatment plan. Some of the instruments dentists use when examining or operating on their patients include hand instruments, turbine, surgical implements, and dental appliances. During the examination, dentists remind patients about preventive dental care, the typical dental problems, their causes, and their treatments. It is also their job to tell the patients about their oral health care services and what they can do to benefit the patients. In some cases, dentists have to fill pulp chamber and canal using endodontic materials. When the pulp is exposed, they have to perform pulp capping, root canal, and removal of pulp from its chamber, using special dental instruments. Dentists also remove irritating margins of fillings and change occlusions for the better using dental instruments.
Read more about How to become a dentist.
Dentists design, make, and even fit prosthodontic appliances such as dentures, bridges, and space maintainers, or give prescriptions for dental technicians and denturists. They diagnose and treat diseases, dental malformation, injuries, gums, and other oral structures. It is also their job to recommend corrective and preventive services for their patients. Dentists even prescribe antibiotics and other necessary medications. They check and evaluate the dental needs of their patients to point out trends and changes in the way dental disease affects the patient.
When it comes to surgery, dentists certainly belong. They are trained to perform periodontal and oral surgery on the mouth or jaw. They use surgical instruments to get rid of any diseased tissue in the mouth. They also apply sealants and fluoride to the teeth. Dentists also entertain patients to have their teeth cleaned, bleached or polished to give them back their natural color.
In the case of dentists who run their private practice, they have to be involved with managing their business, hiring and managing staff, and dealing with insurance claims and paperwork. They also develop, organize, and maintain dental health programs offered to clients. Their responsibility does not stop there. Dentists also develop and evaluate dental health educational materials.
Dentist work environment and schedules
Some dentists start their own private practice and work alone or with a few people. Others partner up with other dentists, while some work as associate dentists under established dentists.
Dentists spend most of their time in offices. They go to work with gloves, masks, and safety glasses on as precautionary measures against infectious diseases.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most dentists work full time. Aside from keeping their regular business hours, there are dentists who choose to work evenings or weekends to cater to their patients who cannot see them on a workday. Even when they retire, some dentists still choose to work part time.