Dentists manage the health and well-being of their patients’ oral health (i.e., teeth, gums and surrounding tissue) by checking for, treating, and fixing cavities, tooth decay, gum sensitivity and gum disease. Dentists are responsible for identifying existing dental and oral problems, figuring out a plan for reversing or fixing damage, and implementing the plan. Dentists work in hospitals, private and public dental practices/offices, colleges and universities (teaching) and health/wellness clinics.
Dentists are also cosmeticians of a sort – they can completely change a patient’s appearance. Specialisations such as:
- Periodontics (care of gums and the diseases that might afflict them)
- Oral pathology (diagnosis for diseases that affect the mouth)
- Orthodontics (straightening and aligning teeth and jaws)
Dentists have to work very closely with patients, so patience, compassion, and good bedside manners are necessary. Furthermore, removing teeth and cleaning sensitive gums involves dealing with some amount of blood. A keen eye for detail is another necessary trait for someone looking to pursue dentistry, since spotting cavities and other deformities or abnormalities early can prevent further complications. Lastly, dentistry requires the use of complicated medical/dental tools and machinery.
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery or Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) degree, and,
- Completion of the 10+2 exam in the science stream plus English, with a minimum of 50 percent marks in each course.
BDS is a five year programme (the last year is an internship). You will need a Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) from a Dental Council of India (DCI)-approved school to follow the options below, among others:
- Oral pathology and microbiology
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery
- Oral medicine and radiology
- Periodontics or orthodontics
Some other courses in dental education are the Dental Hygienist Certificate Course, the Dental Mechanic Certificate Course, and the Diploma Course in Dental Assistance.
Dentistry Job Prospects
In both the public and the private sector, dentists may work in:
- Dental departments in hospitals
- Nursing homes
- Dental clinics
- Health departments
- Teaching departments of dental colleges
- Pharmaceutical research into oral care products and medicines
- A private practice, which allows for greater independence
- Dental hygienist, assistant or consultant to models and actors – which is obviously highly lucrative
BDS graduates may begin as dental surgeons in government hospitals/dispensaries with a salary of Rs.10, 000 – Rs.15, 000. A private practice is more lucrative though and can net up to Rs.40, 000 per month depending on skill and patient response. PayScale.com says a dentist may earn between Rs. 64,271 and Rs. 6,70,567 annually. Going abroad can also be lucrative; dentists in USA earn average of USD 110,000 a year. Other developed nations such as UK and Australia also offer handsome salaries.
These are some of the well-known dental colleges in India:
1) Manipal College of Dental Sciences (MCODS), Manipal
2) Maulana Azad Institute of Dentail Sciences (MAIDS), Delhi
3) Government Dental College & Hospital, Mumbai
4) Dr R. Ahmed Dental College, Kolkata
5) Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai
6) Bapuji Dental College & Hospital, Davangere
7) College of Dental Sciences, Dawangere
8) Faculty of Dental Sciences, Lucknow
9) Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai
10) Government Dental College, Bangalore
11) Saveetha Dental College, Chennai
12) AB Shetty Mem Inst of Dental Sc, Mangalore
13) SRM Dental College, Chennai
14) Amrita Inst of Medical Sciences, Kochi
15) Govt Dental College, Thiruvananthapuram