Dentists work almost as much with patient education and the prevention of oral disease as with examining, diagnosing and treating the disease, injury and malformations of the teeth and mouth. Most dentists are general practitioners, although there are more people entering such specialties as paedodontics, orhtodontics, periodontics or oral radiology. If you were a dental assistant, you would get patients ready for treatment, sterilize equipment, assist the dentist at chairside, process X-rays, prepare solutions and fillings, and take over day-to-day clerical jobs.
WHAT YOU NEED:
In order to even enter dental schools, you must finish between one and four years of pre-dentistry (at university) and then take a dental aptitude test. The four-year dentistry program leads to a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. You have to have a licence to practice dentistry. Most dental assistants take formal training programs at community colleges or vocational institutes after secondary school. A few train on the job, and some high schools offer a program combining on-the-job training with academic study.
Dentists: $73,000 +
Dental Assistants: $28,000 +