Careers & Opportunities

Duties And Responsibilities of a Dentist

Dentist: Ever wonder what it’s really like to be a dentist? You’ve probably sat in the chair and experienced their work firsthand, but there’s a lot more to the job than just cleaning teeth and filling cavities. Dentists have a lot of responsibilities to keep their practice running smoothly and ensure patients receive the best care.

As a dentist, you need to stay on top of the latest technologies and treatment options to properly diagnose patients. You’ll meet with people from all walks of life and help them develop a customized plan for improving and maintaining their oral health. There’s also the less glamorous side of running a small business with staff to manage, bills to pay, insurance claims to file, and equipment to keep up to date.

While it may not seem as exciting as some other medical careers, dentistry provides an opportunity to positively impact people’s lives through improving their health, appearance, and self-confidence with a smile. The next time you’re at your dentist’s office, take a closer look at all that goes into making it run – you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the many duties and responsibilities these healthcare professionals take on each and every day.

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Duties And Responsibilities of a Dentist

Duties And Responsibilities of a Dentist

As a dentist, you have many important responsibilities. Your primary duty is to diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and mouth. This involves thoroughly examining patients’ teeth and gums, interpreting x-rays and tests, and determining what treatment options are available based on their oral health and personal situation.

1. Examinations and Diagnosis

  • Perform dental exams by checking patients’ teeth and gums for signs of decay, disease, or other issues.
  • Take and review dental x-rays, CT scans, and other images to check the health of teeth and jawbones.
  • Identify any oral health issues or abnormalities and determine an appropriate treatment plan. Discuss treatment options with patients and address any questions or concerns they may have.

2. Oral Treatments and Procedures

  • Perform professional dental cleanings, removing built-up plaque and tartar to help prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • Fill cavities, place crowns or implants, and perform root canals or extractions when needed.
  • Administer local anesthetics to numb treatment areas before procedures. Continuously monitor patients to ensure they remain comfortable throughout their visit.
  • Educate patients on proper oral care and hygiene to maintain good dental health between visits. Provide guidance on brushing, flossing, and limiting sugary or starchy foods.

3. Running a Practice

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of your own dental practice or work as part of a team in a larger practice. This includes overseeing staff, keeping accurate patient records, maintaining equipment, and ensuring high standards of care.
  • Stay up-to-date with advancements in dental techniques, equipment, and technologies through continuing education.
  • Build a loyal patient base through high-quality care, good communication, and a friendly manner. Provide a welcoming environment where people feel at ease.

Being a dentist is a rewarding career, but it also comes with much responsibility. By properly diagnosing and treating patients, managing your practice, and keeping your knowledge and skills sharp, you can have a successful and meaningful career improving people’s oral and overall health.

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What does a dentist do on a daily basis?

Dentists diagnose and treat problems with teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. Their daily duties typically include:

  • Examining patients’ teeth, gums, and mouth to determine oral health and diagnose issues
  • Cleaning teeth by scraping off plaque and tartar
  • Filling cavities or extracting teeth if necessary
  • Performing root canals, implants, or cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening
  • Educating patients on proper oral care and hygiene
  • Staying up-to-date with continuing education and latest advancements in dentistry

The specific procedures done each day depend on the dentist’s area of practice and specialization. In general, dentists aim to promote good oral health and help patients achieve a bright, beautiful smile.

Do dentists perform surgery?

Some dentists perform oral surgery and other minor surgeries of the jaw, mouth, and face. Oral surgeons, also known as maxillofacial surgeons, are dentists who specialize in performing surgeries. Common procedures include:

  • Wisdom teeth extractions
  • Dental implant placements
  • Corrective jaw surgeries (orthognathic surgeries)
  • Biopsies of abnormal mouth tissue
  • Facial cosmetic surgeries like chin or cheek implants

Not all dentists perform surgeries. General dentists typically focus on preventative care, fillings, root canals, and minor extractions. If a patient requires major oral surgery, the dentist will refer them to an oral surgeon.

Do dentists make a good salary?

Yes, dentists are generally very well compensated. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for dentists in the U.S. is over $150,000 per year. Exact pay depends on factors like:

  • Years of experience
  • Specialization
  • Geographic location
  • Number of hours worked
  • Self-employment vs. working for an established practice

The job outlook for dentists is also very good. Employment is projected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. So if you’re looking for a stable, high-paying career in healthcare, dentistry can be an excellent choice.


So there you have it. Being a dentist is about far more than just cleaning teeth and filling cavities. It requires years of intensive study and training to gain the scientific knowledge and technical skills necessary to properly care for people’s oral health. Dentists have a lot of responsibility, but for those who want a career helping others and using their mind and hands to solve complex problems, it can be an incredibly rewarding field. If you’re up for the challenge of becoming an expert in dental health with the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with your patients, then dentistry just might be the right career path for you. The next time you’re sitting in the dentist’s chair, take a moment to appreciate just how much knowledge and skill it takes to do their job well. Your dentist has worked hard to get where they are, so be sure to say thanks for helping you keep your pearly whites healthy and bright.

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