Dentists provide many services, including:
1. Health Care: Dentists are an important part of the health care team, frequently making referrals to - and receiving referrals from - physicians, psychologists and other health care professionals. In recent years, the average dentist has provided oral health care to 1,000 of different patients each year with an average of 63 patient visits each week.
2. Education: Dentists teach patients and the general public about the importance of regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene. They inform patients of potential threats to their oral health, such as the use of tobacco products, and advise them on how to improve their oral and overall health through good nutrition and stress management.
3. Some dentists also educate the public through community speaking engagements, newspaper and magazines articles, or television and radio interviews.
4. Teaching and Research: Dentists may be full- or part-time faculty members at dental schools involved in teaching and training of dental professionals. They also conduct oral health research in university and corporate settings. Research projects investigate everything from the development of new bone substitutes, to applications for time-release fluoride pellets, to new methods of alleviating patient fear about dental treatment.
5. Professional Development: With the increasing amount of information being generated by dental research, dentists must continually update their knowledge and skills. The profession offers many opportunities for ongoing learning and professional growth through continuing education courses and seminars.
6. Leadership: Dentists develop and exercise leadership and interpersonal skills. They supervise and manage the care provided by other dental team members, including dental hygienists, dental assistants, laboratory technicians and receptionists. In group practices, dentists work with and may employ and supervise other dentists.
7. Artistry: Dentists make creative decisions to produce beauty and order in the mouth. In so doing, they must select appropriate procedures and materials and have a fine eye for detail.
8. Executive Management: As solo practitioners or partners, dentists usually manage the business and financial aspects of their practices. They acquire and use practice management and investment skills, and develop marketing strategies in order to attract and keep patients. Dentists take advantage of modern computer technology to manage and streamline the business aspects of their practices.
9. Community Service: Dentists occasionally use their knowledge to assist in criminal and legal investigations and may even provide evidence in court trials. With expertise in forensic dentistry they can also help identify victims of mass disasters whose fingerprints are not available.
10. Specialize - Most dental school graduates become general practitioners, providing comprehensive oral health care to a wide variety of patients. However, dental school graduates who enter into a dental specialty program, specialize exclusively on a specific form of dental care.