Dentistry ranks among the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States today, and many millions of Americans regularly go to their local dentist for tooth care. That, or they take their children to a pediatric dentist. In 2017, for a recent example, around 127.6 million Americans had visited a dentist, and dentistry itself is often a lucrative career. Many business professionals today own a dental practice, and such practices are sometimes bought and sold. Meanwhile, the dentists themselves often work with assistants, and these junior dental experts often get live clinic training to enhance their expertise and experience with dental work. Many dental college or dental school students or recent graduates may look for chances to get live clinic training, and this live clinic training is often the best way to prepare them for the rigors of their field. What can someone expect from live clinic training and real-world experience, and what sort of operations might be done on a patient’s teeth and gums?
Getting Into Dentistry
As with other fields of the medical industry, there will always be a need for dentists, and this field is strong and may in fact be growing. Dentists will always be in demand, and this often reflects in the good pay that dentists and their dental assistants may expect. A survey done by the Occupational Employment Statistics program shows that around 7,030 dental assistants worked in Arizona alone in 2017. There are no doubt many more in other, more populous states too. In the context of Arizona, for just one example, the mean annual wage for dental assistants in 2017 came out to $39,580.
But dental assistants have to start somewhere. Interested students may enroll at dental schools and colleges, and they may graduate with their DANB certifications in hand. Surveys are done with those graduates, and the results show that 70% of dental assistants who hold DANB’s CDA certification have received a raise in their current position. What is more, some 95% of DANB CDA certificate holders have said that they consider dental assisting as a proper career and not just a job. When they get practical dental assistant training on the job, they can enhance their career further, and these dental assistants are often highly motivated and may quite helpful on the job. Patients, meanwhile, may rest easy knowing that they’re in such dedicated hands. What might these assistants help the dentist do with a patient’s teeth?
Common Dental Care Procedures
Some dental patients only need routine cleaning and checkups on their teeth, but in other cases, more dedicated medical procedures should be done. Patients may need to have a wisdom tooth extracted, for example. These are adult teeth that go beyond the normal 28 teeth in the mouth, and if they emerge, they may crowd and deform the existing teeth. So, X-rays will reveal the emergence of a wisdom tooth, and dentists will numb that tooth and extract it before it causes harm. Heavily infected teeth may also be numbed and removed to contain the dangerous infection in them, meanwhile. And if the tooth is in danger of falling out, such as from rotted gums, the dentist will remove that tooth to have it extracted in a safe and controlled environment. The tooth comes out either way, but a patient would probably rather have a professional on hand.
Cosmetic dentistry is another common field. Some teeth grow in cooked or in the wrong place, so children or adolescents may have metal braces put in to keep the teeth aligned properly. In other cases, a mold will be made for a customized, clear plastic retainer that fits over the teeth. Such retainers are discreet and can be put in and taken back out at will, and help keep the teeth aligned. What is more, patients may have tooth whitening done on discolored teeth, and they can even have teeth replaced with realistic replicas. A dental bridge is a false tooth attached to covers that securely slip over the real teeth flanking a tooth gap, restoring a full mouth of teeth. Dentures, meanwhile, may replace entire rows of teeth at once, or even the entire mouth’s worth. Dentures are commonly used for elderly dental patients.