Career Options for Dentists

The dental profession offers a variety of career options. The dentist may choose general dentistry or one of the eight recognized dental specialties. He or she may establish his or her own private practice or work as an employed dentist for another dentist or a public or private agency or institution. The dentist may choose solo or group practice or work with other health professionals in the provision of total health care. Career opportunities are also available in the armed forces. Some dentists serve as administrators or public health practitioners. Dental research or education offers further career opportunities to dentists. Some of these career possibilities are described below.

General Practice
Most dentists engage in general practice, bringing their skills in oral diagnosis, prevention and rehabilitation directly to the patient. The general practitioner is not only called upon to restore damaged or missing tooth structure but can also provide a positive program of preventative oral health care. General practice offers great personal rewards through the improvement of the oral health of individual patients an individuals. Approximately 80 percent of the active dental population is currently engaged in general practice.

Specialty Practice
The American Dental Association currently recognized eight dental specialties. Becoming a recognized specialist usually requires from one to four years of additional training beyond the dental degree. There are about 32,000 recognized dental specialists. The following outlines the dental specialties.

Education and Research
An increasing number of dentists are pursuing careers in dental education and research. The changing character of dentistry reflects recent research findings. New drugs, new and improved dental restorative materials, high speed dental equipment, water fluoridation, and scores of other dental developments of the recent past influence today's dental practice, and new discoveries will modify and improve dentistry in the years ahead.

Postgraduate programs at the College of Dentistry lead to attainment of the Certificate of Specialization in Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, and General Practice (GPR).

Postgraduate programs at the College of Dentistry are open to graduates of American Dental Association accredited D.D.S. and D.M.D. programs in the United States or equivalent programs in foreign countries. Candidates for a dental degree may be provisionally accepted into postgraduate programs pending the awarding of their dental degree. In order to be accepted into programs in Pediatric Dentistry, General Dentistry, or General Practice students must be able to obtain a Nebraska dental license.

Admissions to pursue postgraduate work are limited to the number that can be handled to the advantage of the students and the College. Preference will be given to those who have adequate preparation and aptitude for their chosen program. All programs start in July of each year.

Federal Dental Services
Many dentists serve the dental health needs of the nation's military personnel and assist the government in the design, administration, and execution of dental public health and research programs. Currently there are over 6,000 dentists in the commissioned dental corps of the U.S. Army, Navy Air Force, and Public Health service and in the Veterans Administration. Dentists are offered attractive incentives to become career officers in the uniformed services. Dentists employed in the civilian branches of the federal, state, and local governments are frequently compensated at a level approximating that of their colleagues in private practice.

Other Possible Careers
Each year, the horizons of dentistry are expanded and new areas of dental service are created. In practice, industry, government, dental societies, national scientific organizations, and educational institutions there is a critical need for dental manpower.