Dental careers

John P. Horsley, DDS, FAGD

As a general dentistry resident I have extensive experience in general dentistry, oral surgery, fixed and removable prosthodontics, periodontics and endodontics. I received a Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry in 1989 and have completed an additional 600+ hours of continuing education. I am current in infection control, sterilization techniques, and OSHA standards.
During the eleven years I served as a Dental Officer in the United States Military Dental Corp., I was often given the responsibility of managing dental clinics. The size of these clinics varied from 5 to 28 chairs. I allocated 70% of my time to patient treatment and the remainder was devoted to clinic and personnel management.
My experiences in practice management and clinic supervision have focused on facilities utilization, increase patient flow, coordination of professional staff, development of peer review systems, management of clinic operational areas, clinic supply and business office efficiency and operation.

Helpful Information for Undergraduate Students Interested in a Dental Career

Pursuit of a career in Dentistry can be a very fulfilling field. Interested Students will need to build a strong foundation in the sciences and have skills and abilities in a number of other area. The majority of students select a major in the sciences. A broad education is interest in the sciences, social science and the humanities with good skills in communication. Below are some of the area and skills that a pre-dental student must achieve to be competitive.
Academic Standard:
Students who aiming for a career in the dentistry must have a strong academic background during their undergraduate studies. The dental school applicant must demonstrate an ability to manage demanding course work successfully. Courses such as Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology and Zoology some of the work that should completed. The student should maintain a Grade Point Average of between 3.4 and 3.6, which is the accepted standard in most dental schools.
Of equal importance is the Dental Admission Test or DAT. The DAT is a measure of the applicant’s ability and is not dependent on the dental school of the student. The test provides an across the board look at the many areas the admissions committees look at including perceptual ability. Scores range from 0-30. The successful dental applicant should be in the range between 18-30. There are many study aids to use in preparation for the DAT. Use of these study aids will be very helpful toward a competitive score on the DAT.
Letters of Recommendation:
Letters which carry the greatest weight come from members of faculty. Letters of recommendations and evaluations from science professors who have provided instruction to the applicant seem to carry the most weight. If the applicant has some work experience in the dental field then recommendations from the supervisor will also be of value. Letters which provide insight into the personality, the ability to communicate with others and characteristics of the applicant as a person and student are important.
Manual Dexterity:
Skilled hand-eye coordination is important to the dental applicant. The perceptual ability to evaluate three-dimensions, shapes, mirror images and angles are but of the few of the skills required. Some dental skills use the Chalk Carving portion of the DAT to further evaluate the candidate’s manual dexterity.
Demonstrated Interest in the Field of Dentistry
The successful applicant should have a demonstrated interest in the field of dentistry. Working as a volunteer or actually working in a dental setting is an excellent example of exposure and interest in the field of dentistry. Many dental schools have volunteer positons with various groups in the dental school which can provide exposure and insight to dentistry. Make arrangements with your family dentist to observe their work environment and requirements also will demonstrate interest in dentistry.
Most successful applicants should have leadership ability and be able communicate effectively. Dentistry is a field where the ability to communicate with the patient through passion, understanding and knowledge of dentistry is critical to success. Successful applicants are well adjusted personalities in the society and community.

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