Dentists, General

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$155,040 Median Wage (2022)
4,500 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
4.40% Projected growth (2022-2032)

Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
  • Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
  • Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
  • Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Doctoral Degree

Related Work Experience: N.A.

On-Site or In-Plant Training: N.A.

On-the-Job Training: None or short demonstration

Detailed Work Activities

  • Protect patients or staff members using safety equipment.
  • Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
  • Supervise patient care personnel.
  • Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain.
  • Examine mouth, teeth, gums, or related facial structures.
  • Operate diagnostic imaging equipment.
  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Advise patients on preventive care techniques.
  • Design medical devices or appliances.
  • Fabricate medical devices.
  • Adjust prostheses or other assistive devices.
  • Diagnose dental conditions.
  • Treat dental problems or diseases.
  • Prescribe medications.
  • Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
  • Operate on patients to treat conditions.
  • Design public or employee health programs.
  • Direct healthcare delivery programs.
  • Prepare healthcare training materials.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Use masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect patients and self from infectious diseases.
  • Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health, diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.
  • Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
  • Use dental air turbines, hand instruments, dental appliances, or surgical implements.
  • Formulate plan of treatment for patient's teeth and mouth tissue.
  • Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.
  • Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.
  • Advise or instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.
  • Design, make, or fit prosthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, bridges, or dentures, or write fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.
  • Fill pulp chamber and canal with endodontic materials.
  • Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.
  • Remove diseased tissue, using surgical instruments.
  • Manage business aspects such as employing or supervising staff or handling paperwork or insurance claims.
  • Analyze or evaluate dental needs to determine changes or trends in patterns of dental disease.
  • Apply fluoride or sealants to teeth.
  • Eliminate irritating margins of fillings and correct occlusions, using dental instruments.
  • Perform oral or periodontal surgery on the jaw or mouth.
  • Plan, organize, or maintain dental health programs.
  • Bleach, clean, or polish teeth to restore natural color.
  • Produce or evaluate dental health educational materials.

Work Styles

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.