Careers in Dentistry
a lucrative profession, is concerned with all health problems afflicting the
mouth, teeth, gums and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. It is
accepted as a professional field which includes dental care and correction.
Dentists help people maintain their health and appearance.
Dentistry is changing rapidly, creating many
opportunities and challenges. To an extent, it includes cosmetology where
corrective treatment is involved. Dentists improve patients' appearance by using
a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures. These days, dentists are assuming
very important roles in the whole healthcare system. With an increasing
awareness of the importance of oral health and the introduction of new fields
like periodontics (care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them), oral
pathology (diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth ) and orthodontics
(straightening and aligning teeth and jaws) have all enhanced the scope of this
Dentists or dental surgeons provide
surgical, medical and other forms of treatment for oral and dental disorders and
diseases by examining teeth and mouth of the patients. They treat a diverse
group of patients in a variety of settings using a variety of techniques and
procedures such as computers and magnetic resonance imaging. This may include
filling, crowning and scaling of teeth, extracting teeth, treating gum diseases
and fitting artificial replacements where necessary and surgically handling
injuries or other irregularities of the teeth and jaw. Problems dealing with the
jaw or any invasive oral procedure are usually undertaken by an oral surgeon.
Dentists perform trauma surgery, implants, tissue grafts and laser surgery to
correct them. The core function of a dentist is prevention and treatment of
diseases related to the oral cavity, including the floor of the oral cavity, the
'roof' of the mouth, teeth, gums, tongue etc. Their job include educating
patients about oral hygiene and ways to preserve a healthy mouth and prevent
To practice as a dentist one must need at
least a Bachelor's degree in Dental Science (BDS). There is no specialisation at
the bachelor level. If you want your career to grow, then you will have to be a
specialist with a Masters (MDS) degree.
The main specialization areas of Dentistry
are Orthodontics which deals with straightening and aligning
teeth and jaws; Periodontics which specializes in the care of
gums and the diseases that might afflict them; Operative Dentistry
or Endodontics for root canal jobs, fillings and cosmetic
surgery; Prosthodontics which involves the making of artificial
teeth; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery which deals specifically
with operations on the mouth and jaw, Pediatric Dentistry for
treating children and Oral Pathology which provides the
diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth.
Eligibility: Candidates who
have passed 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with at least 50% marks
are eligible for admission in the Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) course.
Selection: Admission to
graduate courses in dentistry is through a general, nationwide competitive
examination. The All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Exam conducted by the
CBSE is common for both the MBBS and the Bachelor of Dental Sciences (BDS) . The
allocation of institutions is based on merit. Other than the centrally run
medical institutions there is at least one dental college in most states, where
admission is governed by domiciliary status. A merit waiting list up to a number
of 1 to 2000 is made on the base of marks obtained in the Exam. The candidates
are assigned their merit list and choice. There are also private colleges which
under the management quota admit students on an all India basis. But to be
eligible for practice, one must ensure that the course chosen is approved by the
Dental Council of India.
Dental Council of India
Aiwan-E-Galib Marg, Kotla Road, Temple Lane, New Delhi – 110002
Phone : 91-11-23238542, 91-11-23236740
E-mail : Contact 1 , Contact 2
Duration: The BDS (Bachelor
of Dental Science) degree programme is a 4 years course divided into 4 parts
each of 1 years duration, followed by one year of rotating internship. Subjects
such as basic anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and microbiology
are covered in the first two years. Specialization in dentistry and hands on
training are provided in the last two semesters. Those who have completed the
BDS should be registered to practice dentistry by the Dental Council of India.
An MDS (Masters in Dental Science) requires two years of additional training.
The annual fees may range from 1 to 3 lakhs and the private institutions under
management quota may charge 5 to 10 lakhs as capitation fee.
Personal Skills: Today
Dentists must have an artistic sense besides scientific knowledge. He is the
scientist dedicated to the highest standards of health through the prevention,
diagnosis, and treatment of all oral diseases and conditions. He must have an
artist's esthetic sense as well to realign an entire jaw or to brighten one
tooth, to help patients look their best. It is a very hard working profession
that requires craftsmanship and skill as much as theoretical knowledge. The
foremost attribute required for a good dentist is patience, stamina to work hard
for long periods, good health, power of concentration, manual dexterity and
accuracy. Besides these they must have a keen eye for detail, ability to
memorise and recall scientific facts, comprehensive medical understanding, cool
temperament and strong interpersonal skills. The best dentists are skillful
communicators and their analytical and logical reasoning skill should be above
Job Prospects and Career Options
A dentist's job is to help the patients to
maintain a healthy mouth and teeth. This requires an examination of the mouth
and teeth when there is a problem, and the preparation and execution of plans
for the treatment and restoration of teeth. The main work of a dentist's
involves treatment of diseased mouths and gums; extraction of teeth that cannot
be saved, or might spread an infection to the rest of the mouth; fillings in the
treatment of cavities; Surgery of the mouth and jaw; replacement of extracted
teeth through surgery or other processes; cleaning of the patient's mouth and
teeth; corrective work to align or straighten teeth; dentures i.e. the making
and fitting of false teeth and preventive work which involves routine check-ups
for both adults and children. Dental Assistants and Hygienists in addition to
assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures such as clean and scale
teeth, place temporary fillings, does other specific tasks including taking and
developing dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilizing instruments and equipment
and making impressions of patients' teeth etc.
Excellent employment opportunities are
available for dentists in dental departments in hospitals, nursing homes, dental
clinics and health departments as well as teaching departments in dental
colleges. Apart from this, dentists could also work in the Research and Advisory
functions of a pharmaceutical and other companies producing oral care products
and medicines like toothpaste, mouth wash, gum care products, etc.
Self-employment is also a promising avenue.
With gaining experience, one can start
his/her own individual practice. Many dentists prefer to be in private practice,
as it provides the best financial prospects as well as greater independence.
Private practitioners work either alone, often setting up a clinic on their own
premises, or in partnership with colleagues, sharing resources and overheads.
Besides these, in dentistry one can also take up work as a Dental Hygienist,
Dental assistant or as a Dental consultant to models and film artists which
could fetch a lot of money.
In government hospitals, freshly trained
dentists could begin around Rs 6,000 a month (including allowances), while in
private hospitals it could be from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000. Postgraduate degree
holders can expect to start on Rs 7,000 upwards.
Dental surgeons can earn good money through
their own practice. The consultation charges could be Rs.500 upwards for
cosmetic filling and can be as high as Rs. 40,000 to 50,000 depending upon the
nature of dental problem the patient is undergoing. A well established dentist
can make around Rs.20,000 - 1,00,000 or more per month.