Be a Dentist
In November 2017, the ADA News launched Becoming a Dentist, a series of stories that follow three dental students studying dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry — Dan Yang, LaShonda Shepherd and Ben Horn — during their journey of becoming dentists. The trio graduated in May 2021.
The first story introduces the students.
In the next story, dental students prove their mettle with their first cadaver dissections.
This story shadows the students during operative dentistry, where they learn how to place a composite restoration for the first time.
In a visit to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s Dream Room, the students immerse themselves in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, better known as CAD/CAM.
The words “summer vacation" take on new meaning when the dental boards are on the table. Learn how dental students balance their summers with studying and still finding time to have fun.
Students learn from the patient's perspective what it's like from the other side of the chair, plus they practice four injections during lab.
This newest story follows the students in their diabetes class, which helps them understand the relationship between oral health and diabetes so that they can better treat their future patients.
This story chronicles the summer between the students’ second and third years and their initiation to the school’s dental clinic.
In September 2019, the students officially transitioned from classroom to clinic when they received their white clinic coats during a special ceremony.
In March 2020, the students talk about life after graduation and whether they will continue their studies by pursuing a specialty.
In April 2020, Ben, Dan and LaShonda discuss being dental students during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are adjusting to learning and taking exams at home.
In October 2020, Ben, Dan and LaShonda discuss returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic for their final year of dental school.
Continuing their journey in March 2021, the three dental students discuss receiving their COVID-19 vaccines.
For the last story in the series, LaShonda, Ben and Dan talk about how it feels to be done with dental school and share what’s up next in their professional lives.
Ten Reasons to Be a Dentist
Tomorrow's dentists — yes that can be YOU — will be on the cutting edge of technology, using lasers and computer-assisted diagnostics, making the practice of dentistry more challenging and rewarding.
Ten Great Reasons to Be a Dentist
- Service to Others: Help people maintain and improve their oral health, quality of life and appearance
- Balanced Lifestyle: Dentistry offers flexibility to balance professional and personal life
- Empower Your Patients: Give patients smiles they are proud to wear
- Technology and Research: Be involved with the scientific advancement of dentistry
- Be a Leader: Earn respect from your family, friends and community
- Prevention/Education: Be an educator on the importance of oral health
- Detect Disease: Treat oral health and detect disease – including cancer and cardiovascular
- Be Creative: Use your artistic and scientific talents
- Success Potential: With the aging population and increase in access to care, the demand and need for dentistry is on the rise
- Self-Employment: Own a dental practice and be your own boss
Why Choose Dentistry?
Ms. Natalia Sanchez
University of Connecticut
School of Dental Medicine
"I love that I'll be able to get to know my patients and make time to pursue other interests...Dentistry offers flexible hours, combines art and science and allows you to work solo or with partners."
There are many compelling reasons to choose dentistry as a career. For example, dentistry offers an opportunity to make a difference in your patient's health and well being. It's a career that allows you a chance to be your own boss and own a dental practice. New exciting scientific breakthroughs in gene therapy and biotechnology offer dentists an opportunity to preserve their patient's smiles and self esteem. Visit the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) website to find additional information on careers in dentistry.
Additionally, the Dentistry Fact Sheet (PDF) highlights what a career in dentistry can offer you by answering these types of questions:
- What's unique about dentistry?
- What does a dentist do?
- How to prepare for a career in dentistry?
- What career options are available?
Need for Minority Dentists
There is a critical need in underserved communities where minorities and the disadvantaged often do not have access to oral health care.
More underrepresented minority dentists (African Americans, Latinos, Alaska Natives and American Indians) are necessary to eliminate the barriers to oral care. This need is expected to increase as statistics indicate that over 50 percent of the population will be comprised of underrepresented groups by the year 2050.
Meeting the challenge to eliminate barriers to oral care, dental students and professionals are excited about career opportunities in dentistry. Visit the American Dental Education Association for more information on careers in dentistry.