Dentists have a critical job in maintaining our oral health. However, they get to have flexibility and are frequently self-employed. Not only do dentists need to have the rigorous education to understand oral health, but they must also have very skilled hands that allow them to manipulate objects in tiny spaces. A dentist job description also emphasizes that they need interpersonal skills to communicate clearly and make patients feel at ease.

We have all been to the dentist at some point. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? How do you become a dentist? What is the expected salary? Is there a positive job outlook. All of these areas and more are covered in this dentist job description.

What Does a Dentist Do?

As far as the dentist work environment is concerned, they work in a small office and are the first line of defense when it comes to keeping our mouths healthy. They diagnose conditions, administer preventative treatments, and fix oral health problems. These professionals work closely with dental hygienists. The hygienists will perform regular cleanings and identify problem areas while dentists will confirm problems and fix them. In addition, dentists can apply whitening treatments.

what a dentist job description means

The dentist job salary is $158,310. They have to go to dental school and get their doctorate in one of three dentistry fields. There is no required experience to practice as a dentist because they gain experience in dental school.

Dentist Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

Dentists have a very visible job. Therefore, we probably all have a fairly good sense of what they do. However, describing these responsibilities on a resume require an extra level of detail to stand out among other applicants.

  • Create a clear communication plan between hygienists and dentists to delegate tasks and increase efficiency for patients.
  • Ensure patient confidentiality by following HIPPA requirements.
  • Identify problem areas with teeth such as cavities and treat them appropriately.
  • Make sure that patients are comfortable with the procedures they will undergo.
  • Contribute to the professional field through attending and presenting at conferences.
  • Place sealants on teeth to protect them.
  • Give recommendations for required and optional future treatments based on individual concerns.

Dentist Required Skills

  • Technological skills. The field of dentistry is rapidly changing, and dentists who can adapt to new techniques and practices will be able to offer the best to their patients.
  • Patient care skills. Dentists have to treat patients on a daily basis. Being able to confidently diagnose and treat patients while keeping them comfortable is important.
  • Hand dexterity skills. They operate in the very small confines of mouths. Therefore, they need to have flexibility in their hands and use small tools.
  • Detail oriented skills. Our smile is one of our defining characteristics. Dentists have a tremendous responsibility to make sure that our teeth are as healthy as they can possibly be.

How to Become a Dentist

They need to graduate from dental school with one of three degrees. The dentist education requirements are rather demanding. They can earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM), or a Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD). The majority of experience comes during school, and those interested in becoming dentists should complete a dental internship.

Education & Training Requirements

Students interested in becoming dentists should take a heavy sequence of natural science courses. These are courses like physics, math, chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. Undergraduate majors should be in biology, chemistry, math, physics, or a similar field. This will improve the chances of getting admitted to a competitive dental school.

Dental school lasts for four years. The curricula is very similar to that of medical school. However, towards the end of residency, they focus on periodontics and dental health. To get admitted to dental school, students need to take the dental admission test. During, students get to practice dentistry under the supervision of a practicing dentist.

There are nine additional levels of specialization that dentists can pursue further education in. Those who want to teach also need to take additional courses to be able to teach future dentists. Continuing education is required to maintain their license. The nine specialized fields require an additional license.

Work Experience

Because a dentist is a professional career, students will gain a lot of experience during dentistry school. One of the most important points of gaining work experience as a dentist is to make sure that being a dentist is what you want to do. There are different ways to gain experience. These can start as early as high school.

If you are interested in becoming a dentist, you can volunteer, job shadow, work on a research team, or complete a dental internship. The dentist job description nearly demands greater experience before becoming one yourself. The more opportunities you participate in during high school and undergraduate, the more competitive and unique your application will be as a dental applicant.

Work Schedules

A dentist job description shows that they are either self-employed or work in a practice with a few others. They have a small staff of dental hygienists and dental assistants. The majority of dentists work full-time, but they can make flexible schedules. For example, a dentist may be off Wednesdays and Sundays and work in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The average number of hours that dentists work is 35. This may seem low, but dentists actually find that their income goes up if they work fewer days in a strong economy. It is typical for them to spend 1 day a week doing administrative work. Naturally, some dentists want to work less and some more, but this is a general schedule.

Career Prospects

The dental field is expected to increase 18 percent through the year 2024. This is primarily due to the aging population. However, dentists who have experience in cosmetic dentistry will also see an increased demand for their services. Interestingly, each successive generation will keep their original teeth for longer than the previous generation. This leads to people needing dental care for far longer.

Recent research has shown links between oral health and overall health. This will make the dentist an integral part of a holistic healthcare approach. Dentists who are willing to work in rural or high-need areas will fill a crucial patient need. The median wage for dentists in 2015 was $158,310. However, orthodontists and oral surgeons see an income significantly higher at $187,000 while prosthodontists earn less at $119,740.


This dentist job description covered all aspects of a dental career from the education and skills required to the typical work schedule and job outlook for these professionals. If you enjoy science, have excellent fine motor skills, and like helping people feel better than being a dentist could be the perfect career.