One Townsville Orthodontics advises it can take a minimum of 5 years to become a Dentist, no matter which pathway to Dentistry you choose. However, Dentistry is a very rewarding and lucrative career with many areas for specialization.
Is Dentistry for you? If you have a genuine interest in Oral Health, want to help people and are happy to dedicate several years to study then this may be the career path for you.
We have put together 6 tips on becoming a Dentist which may help to clarify if Dentistry is the right choice for you.
1. Knowledge, Dedication and Perseverance
Dentistry requires both Scientific and Clinical knowledge, so dedication and perseverance are needed to stay focused on your end goal.
To become a Dentist in Australia takes a minimum of 5 years regardless of which pathway to Dentistry you take. Even after you have completed your degree, there may be areas in which you want to specialize such as Paediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics or Oral Pathology and further study will be required.
Be prepared to challenge yourself with a mix of both theory and practical skills, as both are required! This can be both physically and mentally taxing, so you must take care of yourself, however this is excellent training for your career.
Once you have obtained your degree, you will then be required to register with the Dental Board of Australia.
2. Creative thought, Good Communication and Leadership skills
Dentists need to be good communicators in order to understand the problems and issues presented by patients. The problems are not always obvious, so leadership and communication are paramount to providing the correct solution to the problem.
Most patients are nervous about going to the dentist, and this is heightened if the patient is also in pain, so good communication and understanding of the patient’s well-being is an essential part of the job. There may be several solutions to a dental issue, therefore the correct response must be considered for each patient, based upon a variety of factors, such as the patient’s health issues or medications; affordability; the age of the patient and/or their ability to withstand ongoing treatment (could be very young or very old).
Critical thought and Leadership are essential in order to assess which treatment option is best for the patient at the time of their visit…in other words you need to be able to think on your feet!
3. Professionalism and Patient Care
Your Professionalism and Patient Care are as important as your knowledge of Dental Science. You may have dedicated many years of study to becoming a dentist, but if you do not demonstrate care for your patient’s issues, and how to solve them with the least distress to you patient, then they will not return. Being aware of a patient’s anxieties and knowing how to keep them calm reinforces the trust that the patient has put in you.
4. A genuine interest in Dentistry and Community Health
As the study of Dentistry takes many years of dedication, it would be foolish to start on this endeavour if you didn’t have a genuine interest in this field. This interest is usually fuelled by a desire to help people and to be of service to the community. These two things, Community Service and promotion of Oral Health are often the starting point on the road to Dentistry.
5. Good Hand-eye co-ordination
Doing ‘work’ inside the constraints of someone’s mouth requires a keen eye and steady hand. It is a small and very sensitive space, and the Dentist uses many tools to fix painful problems, so good hand-eye co-ordination is essential. Everyone knows the sound of the dentist’s drill, and the patient sitting in the dentist’s chair needs confidence in the person holding the drill. Steady professional skills and a calm demeanour in the Dentist help to reassure and reduce anxiety in the patient.
6. Professional Development – Be open for challenges and changes
Dentistry is a dynamic and changing field which requires an open and curious mind to keep up with the latest professional developments.
New techniques, products and changes are being discovered all the time in the area of Oral Health. A genuine passion for dentistry will ensure that you are open to, and curious about new solutions and products as they become available.