Let examine how to become a dentist and how much dentists earn.
Dentists are health care professionals who provide restorative and preventive treatments for problems affecting the mouth and teeth.
Overview of working as a dentist
- Salary: $50,000 to $200,000 +
- Qualifications: Post graduate, Undergraduate (CSU,UOA)
- Intensity: Sitting
- Demand: Stable
- Travel: Low
- Conditions: Indoor
- Weekly hours: 40-50
Pros of working as a dentist
- Helping people out
- Improving someones smile
- Excellent pay
- Be your own boss if you have your own dental practice
Cons of working as a dentist
- Physically demanding
- High levels of responsibility and stress
- People will always ask you why!
The bottom line on working as a dentist
If you have a real desire to help people and make a difference every day, then this could be a great career for you. The study is hard and courses can be difficult to get into (GAMSAT), but the long term rewards both financially and from a personal perspective are good.
Everything you need to know about working as dentist
This is an ideal career for a logical and analytical thinker.
Most dentists work with a receptionist, dental nurse, dental hygienist, dental therapist and dental technician. A dentist is typically responsible for educating patients on oral health care, examining teeth and diagnosing patients’ dental conditions.You also use X-rays, assess treatment options and agree treatment plans with patients.
You carry out agreed clinical treatments such as gum disease, restoring teeth affected by decay and more advanced treatments. You maintain patients’ dental records, manage budgets and keep abreast of new developments through structured continuing professional development and marketing services to potential clients.
Your day to day work as a dentist
Your day begins reviewing the day sheet of patients as you prepare myself for the first one. It is important to run your practice to time and ask patients to arrive punctually at their appointment times.
Generally you chat with the patients, telling them what you’re doing which often reassures them.You generally treat between 10 to 15 patients per day ranging from a general check up to more complex treatments. There are clinical notes to be written after the appointment is over and of course the dreaded administration of the practice.
Personalities that work well as a dentist
Generally self disciplined, socially outward and extrovert people make good dentists. You need to like people and like interacting with them, so your inter-personal skills need to be a strong point of your character.
You also need to be a perfectionist and have excellent manual dexterity. Close enough is not good enough and generally people don’t like it if you fumble around in their mouth. You also need to be able to concentrate on a single task for long periods. You must be a clear communicator and have a sharp eye for detail.
Best thing about working as a dentist
The rewards you get from helping people is very satisfying particularly if you have helped them overcome a ‘fear of dentists’.
The flexibility of running your own practice is great, you can make the rules and break them if you choose.
The pay is good too – a good graduate can earn $70,000 to $80,000 but in your own practice generally a surplus of 30% of revenue is usual.
Worst thing about being a dentist
Because you’re leaning over patients all day, you get aching back and neck muscles and if you are in private practice then no matter how tired you are the administration still has to be done.
Qualifications required to become a dentist
Dentists require the undergraduate Bachelor of Dental Surgery(B.D.S) from a university preferably with a good reputation for the profession. This is a 4 year degree for postgraduates and a 5 year degree for undergraduates. It is a very demanding course which combines both theory and practical application. You need to apply yourself.
Career progression as a dentist
|Start Position||Graduate Dentist||$50 to $70k||Nil||Bachelor of Dentistry|
|1st Promotion||Employed Dentist||$100k +||2 to 4 years||Bachelor of Dentistry|
|2nd Promotion||Employed Dentist||$150k +||4 to 8 years||Bachelor of Dentistry|
|3rd Promotion||Self Employed – Private Practice||$250k+||First 3 years||Bachelor of Dentistry|
|4th Promotion||Self Employed – Specialist||$700k +||8 + years||Post Graduate|
|5th Promotion||Partnership||$200k +||3 + years||Bachelor of Dentistry|