If your daughter has always wanted to pursue a dentistry career path, setting her up for success does not have to wait until she is already away at college. When you want to ensure your daughter is well-prepared for what comes next in her adult life, you can do so by learning more about the dentistry career path she intends to take. The more familiar you are with the process of working toward becoming a dentist, the easier it will be for you to find the resources necessary for your daughter to succeed.
Consider Career Options
Anyone interested in pursuing a dentistry career path should take the time to consider which career options may be best for them and the future they see for themselves. If your daughter wishes to become a dentist, she should also determine what type of work she is interested in and if she will be operating a family dental office of her own or if she is thinking of building a cosmetic dental practice. Understanding the ins and outs of dentistry is key to finding a path that is genuinely fitting and suitable for your daughter’s skills, abilities, and passions.
If your daughter is not only interested in working in the field of dentistry but also has aspirations of owning a clinic of her own, she may also want to pursue additional courses in business management. Enrolling in business management courses will streamline the process of learning how to go about investing in commercial buildings and maintaining a business once your clinic is open to the public. The more familiar your daughter is with investing in a dental clinic, the easier it will be for her to make a wise financial decision once the time comes.
Research Degree Programs and Universities
If your daughter mentions wanting to provide dental care to patients or intends to work as an emergency dentist, you will need to research various programs, universities, and degrees that are optimal for the dentistry career path she has in mind. Not all university degree programs are the same, which is why it is so important to take a bit of additional time to research majors, reviews, and the history of each university your daughter is interested in attending. It is important to note that most individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry do so with a degree in health sciences, biology, or chemistry beforehand. A medical or science degree can go a long way once you decide to apply to dental school.
You should also research what will be required for each program you are thinking of enrolling in, depending on your past education and experience. In most instances, you will also need to complete prerequisite courses that will include math and science-related topics. The more prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be for you to find a dental school or program that is ideal for you.
Apply to an Undergraduate Program
If your daughter is committed to pursuing the dentistry career path professionally, she will need to apply to a relevant undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. Although working in dentistry does not require you to choose a particular major, it is best to often study science and medicine to help increase the number of opportunities you have as you work through schooling. While you are in the process of researching undergraduate programs near you, be sure to take the time to consider which pre-dental requirements you will also be enrolling in to expedite and streamline the process of becoming a dentist.
Complete the DAT
If your daughter is serious about following the dentistry career path she has set in mind for herself, she will also need to learn about the DAT or the Dental Admission Test. The DAT test is typically taken during either the junior or senior year of the current undergraduate program your daughter may be enrolled in, depending on the location of her current college or university. Typically, the DAT test is utilized to determine who is academically prepared with the proper scientific knowledge to pursue a career in dentistry and anatomy.
Whether you simply want to offer dental care as a local family dentist once you graduate or you’re interested in providing dental implants to patients in need, you will need to take the time to review the DAT and complete the test before you can move forward with your educational plans and goals. Without passing the DAT, you will find it next to impossible to move forward to a dental school of your choice, regardless of your standing and GPA at your current undergraduate college or university.
Apply to Dental School
Whether you want to offer Invisalign to patients in the future or you simply want to assist locals in your community with improving their oral health, applying to dental school is one of the most important aspects of following a dentistry career path. Similarly to comparing a charter school enrollment process, you should also take time to research various dental schools that you are interested in for your daughter and the career path she envisions for herself. Once your daughter is ready, she will need to determine if she will be working toward a DDS or a Doctor of Dental Surgery, or if she will be pursuing a DMD, or a Doctor of Dental Medicine.
It is important to note that dental school is separate from an undergraduate college or university. Once you have received your bachelor’s degree from your preferred university or college, and you have also passed the initial DAT, or Dental Admission Test, you will then need to apply to the dental school of your choice. Keep in mind that in addition to working toward your bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate college or university, you will also need to complete an additional 4 years of educational training once you have been accepted into the dental school and program of your choice.
Typically, in the first two years of dental school, you will spend the majority of your time completing textbook work and working in labs as they pertain to dental work and dental sciences. Once you have completed the first two years of any dental program you are interested in pursuing, you will likely gain more access to hands-on experience with supervision from licensed dentists and medical specialists. Having the opportunity to gain clinical experience while learning next to licensed dentists and medical professionals can go a long way in terms of learning and feeling confident once you are a dentist working independently.
Apply for Licensure
When your daughter is pursuing a professional dentistry career path, it is important to keep in mind that she will also need to apply for Licensure once she has received her bachelor’s degree and completed her dental schooling program. Applying for licensing in dentistry will vary based on the state you live in and any area of specialization your daughter is choosing to pursue for her career. In most states in the US, applying for a license to work as a dentist will require you to complete not only a written and verbal exam but also a practical exam, depending on where you are located and intend to practice at the time.
Choose a Specialization
While this is optional, choosing to pursue a specialization can help find higher-paying positions while providing more opportunities in the future, depending on where your daughter intends to offer her dental services. Whether your daughter is interested in working for general dentists or if she is interested in pursuing orthodontics, it is advisable to take a bit of time to learn more about the potential specializations and areas of interest that may be most relevant to your daughter’s personality and the career she envisions for herself.
Other fields of interest to keep in mind, in addition to general dentistry and orthodontics, may also include pediatric dentistry and endodontics. For those who are thinking of pursuing a career in surgery as a dentist, it is also possible to specialize in oral surgery and procedures. If your daughter chooses to continue her education even once she is licensed to begin working as a dentist near you, it is important to remember that specialization courses and programs may last another 2–6 years in total, depending on the specialty she is interested in for her career.
Continued Education Options
Depending on where your daughter intends to work as a dentist, she may be required to continue her education while renewing her license frequently to remain in business. Some states require more frequent testing and licensing renewals than others. To ensure you are on the right track, take the time to research operation requirements and licensing requirements for dentists in your state based on where your daughter is located and intends to operate her dental office or practice. Continued education may be necessary to preserve your licensing, especially after working in dentistry for years, if not decades.
To learn more about licensing requirements, you can do so by referring to the official website of the state you live in regarding dental and doctor requirements. You can research licensing in the state you intend to operate in while attending college courses or learning more about the field of dentistry online before choosing an ideal path.
Choosing a Location
Once your daughter has graduated and is licensed to begin working as a dentist, you will need to find the perfect location to set up shop. Choosing an ideal location for a dentist’s office can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings and existing clinics or offices near you. Research local dentists, practices, and clinics in your city or town to determine where a new office is likely to attract patients. You will also want to take a bit of time to become more familiar with the population in your region and the current demographics in your community.
Having a deep understanding of the locals where you intend to set up a practice is essential for the best outcome possible. When you are aware of the needs of those in your city and state, you can create a dentist’s office that is sure to appeal to those in need. The more in tune you are with the wants and needs of the members of your community, the easier it will be for you to facilitate the opening of a dental clinic that is sure to bring success to your daughter.
Create an Online Presence
When your daughter wants to expand her business or spread the word about her services as a dentist, she will have the best chance of doing so when she develops an online presence. From building an official website to cultivating a following with the use of multiple social media networks, there are many different ways to go about creating an online presence for professionals in the dental industry today. Building an official website is always recommended for any medical professional, including dentists, even if your daughter has the intention of working independently on her own.
An official website is a useful tool to showcase the work, procedures, and surgeries that your daughter currently has to offer to her patients. With an online website, it is also much easier to demonstrate skills, educational certifications, and abilities in one central location. Using an official website and social media presence is a way for your daughter to build a positive rapport with members of her local community as she builds trust and establishes herself as an authoritative source in the dental industry.
When your daughter decides that she would like to pursue a dentistry career path, you can help her better prepare by seeking the right resources, both locally and online. The more familiar your daughter is with the process of learning to become a dentist and practicing in real life, the easier it will be for her to navigate her degree program to ensure success. Once you are aware of what the dentistry career path entails, you can then help your daughter every step of the way until she graduates and is ready to work as a dentist on her own.