Shadowing a Doctor

February 9, 2015

Observing a dental procedure in Kilimanjaro A career in dentistry offers you the option of working across a wide variety of workplaces ranging from traditional dental clinics and hospitals to universities and even corporate workplaces. Take a look at what working in each of these workplaces entails. 

General Dental Practice 

Establishing a private dental practice is one of the most popular options that most dentists choose. If you choose this route, you would first need to start as an associate with a more experienced dentist and as you gain more experience you can then move over to becoming the principal owner of your own practice. You could also choose to become a partner with other doctors or dentists. Flexible working hours are one of the biggest draws to choosing private practice. 

You would have to undertake a Vocational Training or a Foundation Training course in order to qualify as a General Dentist Practitioner. 

Hospital Dentistry 

If you choose to work at a hospital, you may see fewer patients than you would see if you had your own practice. The advantage here is that the job is usually a salaried position so your monthly income would remain steady irrespective of the number of patients you treat. Dentists who work in hospitals usually deal with more complex treatments as these are patients who have been referred by other doctors. They are also expected to be on call to attend to emergencies and often end up working long hours. Working as part of a team is not unusual, especially in the cases of accidents or reconstructive surgical procedures. 

There is a well-defined training pathway and career structure in hospital dentistry. A recognised postgraduate qualification is necessary to advance in your career. 

A dentistry work experience student observing her mentor performing a routine procedure.

Working At A University 

The world of dental research and education offers endless possibilities. You may choose to work with various dental research groups, conduct your own studies relevant to your particular area of interest or train future generations of dentists. 

Industrial and Corporate Dentistry 

Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture dental hygiene products often hire qualified dentists for research and quality control. Another option if you want to work with the corporate world is to look for an industry that offers dental plans to employees. These are generally salaried posts so you are guaranteed a steady income through the year. 

Working With The Armed Forces 

The armed forces offer all of their service personnel a comprehensive dental service, whether they are serving at home or abroad. You may even apply for financial aid during dental school, the only stipulation being that you will need to serve in the armed forces for a specified number of years after you graduate. Once you get into this system, you will be given a commissioned rank. 

Community Dentistry 

The Community Dental Service provides dental treatment for those who have special needs. There is a fixed salary and job structure here and it is a great place to work if you who want to be a part of the community and do something for the less fortunate. While working in community dentistry can be very demanding, it can be tremendously satisfying as well.