Dentist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Uses masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect patients and self from infectious diseases.
  • Examines teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health, diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.
  • Administers anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
  • Uses dental air turbines, hand instruments, dental appliances, or surgical implements.
  • Formulates plan of treatment for patient's teeth and mouth tissue.
  • Diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provides preventive or corrective services.
  • Writes prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.
  • Advises or instructs patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.
  • Designs, makes, or fits prosthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, bridges, or dentures, or writes fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.
  • Fills pulp chamber and canal with endodontic materials.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Multimedia

Watch a one-minute video showing what it's like to work in this career or related careers


Dentists, General

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Exposed to radiation more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) --
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) --