Dental Degrees: Doctor of Dental Surgery/ Doctor of Dental
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The Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or the Doctor of Dental
Medicine (D.M.D.) diagnose, treat, and prevent problems associated
with the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Most dentists begin a
solo practice after completing their professional degree, both of
which are entirely equal in respect to education and rights to
practice. Beyond general practice, the American Dental Association
recognizes the eight speci lties as follows: orthodontics, oral
surgery, endodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry,
prosthodontics, oral pathology, and dental public health.
Personal Characteristics and Future Outlook. Like many health
professions, education costs increase every year. Even with state
schools where tuition costs decrease, admission remains competitive.
However, the diligent student who enjoys working with people,
possesses good manual dexterity, and remains committed to dentistry
will succeed in attaining his or her goal. Dentists not only enter
into a profession with an excellent income, but also they have the
opportunity to maintain their own business that employs dental
assistants, hygienists, receptionists, bookkeepers, and laboratory
technicians. Although dentistry does not require great physical
strength, it does involve patient quality-of-care decisions, depth
perception, and an equally active personal life as well as a
respectable professional life.
The demand for dental services will continue to increase both for
dental problems and for preventive care. Geriatric care and
cosmetics will be major areas of care in the future. As of 1995, the
Department of Labor indicated that there will be a 25% increase in
the need for dentists over the next 10 years.