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Career in Dentistry

Introduction

You happily pay a visit to this professional to get a million dollar smile. Yes, we are taking about dentists and dentistry. This profession deals with the inspection and treatment of teeth, gums and other parts of the oral cavity. A dentist especially takes care of problems affecting the teeth. Common procedures are removal, correction and replacement of decayed, damaged or lost teeth.

Furthermore, this professional also has to carry out computer and magnetic resonance imaging, implants, tissue grafts, trauma and laser surgery.

However, this career profile is changing rapidly, creating many opportunities and challenges for job seekers. With an increasing awareness of oral health and the introduction of new fields like oral pathology (diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth), periodontics (care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them) and orthodontics (straightening and aligning teeth and jaws) have all enhanced the scope in this field.

India is a hot destination to get that perfect smile at a friction of cost compared to many parts of the world. Dentistry is one of the most desirable professions today. This career offers high wages and flexible work schedule. You also get the opportunity to be your own boss if you choose to start your own practice.

What’s more, dental care is a growing industry because you will never miss anyone who has not had problems with their teeth.

Step-by-Step

Dental health is an essential part of the overall health system. With modern lifestyle, dental problems are becoming common among all sections of the society. Additionally, improper dental care also creates problems like early tooth falling, tooth decay, enamel loss, etc.

All these problems require proper suggestions of dentists to keep teeth healthy and fit for a long time. Thus, dentistry as a profession has become more demanding and because of its promising nature, a lot of young aspirants are entering this profession.

To get into this business you have to pass the 10+2 level with Physics, Chemistry and Biology to apply for the competitive entrance examination. Numerous universities and institutes, both in the public and private sector, conduct their own admission tests.

Government colleges are usually a preferred destination for studying, though the number of seats available there is limited, as is the number of colleges in comparison to private institutions.

When opting for a private college, choose the one that has an approval from the Dental Council of India.

The Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) degree programme is a five-year course that is divided into four parts each of one years’ duration followed by a year of internship. The Dental Council of India registers those who have completed the BDS to practice dentistry. After completion of this degree, many graduates choose to join a government hospital to get hands-on experience.

A BDS degree alone is not considered enough to succeed in this profession so you will have to go for a Master of Dental Science (MDS) degree.

You have to keep participating in education programmes based on your specialisation throughout the duration of your practise. Continuous education is an integral and an essential part of this profile. You simply cannot escape this aspect no matter whether you are a new entrant or have spent 40 years in practice.

Upgrading your knowledge is required, even in order to renew your license to practice on an annual basis. It's is also important to be aware of the developments in the medical field and pharmaceuticals.

You can also pursue various certificate and diploma courses to upgrade and update your knowledge in this field.

Start Early

For a professional course in dentistry, you have to pass 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology, with at least 50% marks to be eligible for admission in the BDS program. This is basic requirement for opting for this career path.

Admission to this course 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 BDS. There are also private colleges that admit students on an all India basis. But to be eligible for practice, you must ensure that the course chosen is approved by the Dental Council of India.

Is it the Right Career for Me?

The basic qualities required for this career are patience, ability to stand for long hours, good health, concentration, accuracy and a methodical and scientific approach. You must also have an eye for detail, cool temperament, manual dexterity and compassion for people. Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills are also required to do well in this job. If you think you have these qualities then this is a perfect career for you.

What would it Cost Me?

The course fees for an MDS degree ranges from Rs 1 to Rs 3 lakhs per annum and the private institutions under management quota may charge anywhere between Rs 5 lakhs  to Rs 10 lakhs.

Funding/Scholarship

If you are looking for a scholarship during the BDS program then you ought to apply for the Shri Brihad Bharatiya Samaj scholarships. On the basis of merit, 200 students are given scholarships.

Job Prospects

Excellent employment opportunities are available for dentists in dental departments in hospitals, nursing homes, dental clinics and health departments. You can also seek a teaching job in any of the dental colleges spread across the country.

Apart from this, as a dentist you can seek work in the research and advisory departments of pharmaceuticals. Opportunities are there in companies producing oral care products like toothpaste, mouth wash, and gum care products.

Self-employment is also a promising avenue. With experience, you can start your own individual clinic. Many dentists prefer private practice as it provides the best financial prospects along with a greater level of independence.

Pay Packet

In government hospitals, a newly trained dentist could begin around Rs 6,000 a month (including allowances), while in private hospitals it could be slightly less. Post-graduate degree holders can expect to start on from Rs 7,000 upwards.

Dental surgeons can earn a good amount through their own practice. The consultation charges could start from Rs 250 upwards for cosmetic filling or routine check-up. These can be as high as Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 depending upon the nature of the dental problem. A well established dentist can make around Rs 30,000 to Rs 1,00,000 or more per month.

Demand and Supply

Due to the rising dental problems in the country, dentists are in great demand. Besides, more and more people have now become conscious about their looks and consult dentists for cosmetic correction of their teeth. This has led to the emergence of a sub-discipline called aesthetic dentistry.

This has enhanced the scope and significance of a professional degree in the discipline. A comparatively short-span and self-specialised course gives the field an added advantage.

Market Watch

In the light of increasing incidents of various dental disorders, the requirement of dentists is growing rapidly. Liberalisation of economy has brought better opportunities for these professionals in terms of remuneration, research and working facilities. Fresh pass-outs have a wide variety of job options to choose from.

International Focus

In Europe, the dental industry needs more and more professionals. So there is good scope  for Indian  dentists abroad. There are a lot of career opportunities available in countries like USA and Australia.

Positives/Negatives

+ives

  • A career in dentistry is personally fulfilling since you will be performing an important community service to help people uphold their health and appearance.
  • To serve the present and future oral health needs of patients, as a dentist you will enjoy the challenge of a lifetime of learning.

-ives

  • The profession used to be a 'standing' profession and dentists would stand while treating their patients. Later, it became a combination of sitting and standing, depending on the procedure involved. Now, it is largely a sedentary one and dentists are prone to back and neck problems.
  • You will have to deal with biological waste and radioactivity as X-Rays are taken within the clinic setup in most settings, thus exposing you to harmful elements and disease.
  • In the initial years of your career, you will have to put in a lot of hard work before you can establish your name in this industry.

 

Different Roles, Different Names

Post BDS you get the opportunity to work towards specialisation in the field of dentistry. This can be achieved by doing MDS. The different areas of specialisation are as follows: Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, Pedodontics, Periodontics and Prosthodontics. The advantages of pursuing one of these areas of specialisation are generally higher salaries and a more academic bent to the work.

Every specialisation plays a different role:

  • Endodontics: Practice of basic clinical science including the biology of the normal pulp, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and root canal procedures.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical or other examinations.
  • Oral Surgery: Diagnosis and treatment of oral disease, in particular benign and malignant tumours of the jaws, head and neck. They also perform surgeries for sleep disorder.
  • Orthodontics: Diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
  • Pedodontics: Dental stream dealing with the care for teeth, gums and mouth of children.
  • Periodontics: Dealing with diseases of the gums.
  • Prosthodontics: Science that deals with the general working of the mouth, teeth and face. 

Top Companies

There are many options to work and thus it is very unlikely that you would miss a job once you graduate. Some of the wide ranges of employment opportunities available for dentists are as follows:

  1. Dental departments of government or private hospitals
  2. Nursing homes, dental clinics and health departments
  3. Teaching departments in dental colleges
  4. Medical insurance firms
  5. Researcher or adviser in a pharmaceutical or a dental care company
  6. Armed forces
  7. State services
  8. Indian Railways

If you have the will and ambition, you can even go for individual practice in this field. Nowadays many dentists prefer self practice rather than working in organization as it offers independence along with better financial prospects.

Tips for Getting Hired

  1. A bachelor’s or a mater’s degree from an educational institution recognised by the Dental Council of India is essential.
  2. BDS followed by a specialisation in a particular area during your MDS study gives you better prospects in this field.
  3. You need to find the right balance between clinical studies, continue education in basic and advanced dental sciences throughout your professional life and have a strong sense of ethics too.
  4. You must always be aware of the latest developments in the world of dentistry.

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