Will Dentistry be a good fit for me?

June 8, 2016

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

See current opportunities

Anaesthetist (3)

Like any other profession, being a dentist has its positives and negatives. For example, school can be costly and takes several years to complete, which some may see as a negative. But on the plus side, becoming a dentist can be an exciting and rewarding career choice. So how do you know if dentistry is a good career fit? 

Dentistry is about more than just cavities

When you think of a career as a dentist, you might think it involves filling cavities and cleaning teeth. But dentists do so much more. For example, a dental career may involve performing oral surgery, treating patients who have suffered trauma to their mouth and caring for hospitalized patients.

Dentistry shadowing

The next step is to get involved in shadowing programs. Shadowing programs can help you learn about the different styles of dentistry and see firsthand what treating patients involves.

If you get involved in shadowing programs, try to shadow more than one type of dentist. Some dentists to a little of everything while others specialize in areas, such as periodontics or oral surgery. It can be helpful to get a feel for what your options would be.

Shadowing a dentist will allow you to envision what you would be doing on the job. If you can see yourself performing the day to day duties of a dentist and enjoying it, a career in dentistry may be a good fit.

Personal qualities of a dentist

It’s also a good idea to take your personal qualities into consideration. Are you very shy or do you thrive in leadership roles? Do you consider yourself a people person or more of an introvert?

Having certain traits, such as being detailed oriented and having good communications skills are also helpful for a dentist. Take an honest look at your personal qualities, strengths and weaknesses.

Keep in mind, if you don’t have certain traits, it does not necessarily mean you should not become a dentist. It’s just one factor to consider to determine if dentistry and your personality are a good match.

What do you want out of your career?

It also makes sense to think about what you want in a career. Prioritize what’s most important. Are you looking for a job where you help people or want to work for yourself? You might want a career that offers a relaxed lifestyle and a flexible schedule.

While earning potential is also something to be considered, try not to focus primary on how much money you’ll make. Throughout your life, you are likely to spend a lot of time at your job. You don’t want to get into something that’s not the right fit, just for the money.

Although it may seem like a lot to consider, it’s worth it to put the time and effort into making the best decision for your future. Keep in mind, pursuing a career that is not that right fit, can make you miserable. Don’t become a dentist for the wrong reasons, such as family expectations or because you think you’ll become wealthy. Pursue a career in dentistry because it’s something you are passionate about.

Many aspiring dental students will apply for college having only seen dentistry at work when they’re having a checkup of their own. The number one way to make sure dentistry is something you would do for a living is to get some real shadowing experience. Our dentistry placements put you at the heart of this exciting field, enabling you to observe everything from routine procedures to dental surgery. To find out more, click here or contact one of our advisors.


Chat with us on Facebook or Twitter, or email info@gapmedics.com

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.