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What does a Dentist do?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered February 22 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
A Dentist is a highly trained healthcare professional with the ultimate responsibility of taking care of patients' oral health care. Dentists are responsible for diagnosing and treating various problems that their patients have, including tooth decay, cavities, gum diseases, and anything else directly related to the teeth and gums. On top of providing their patients with care, they also give patients advice about their health and instructions for using oral health tools such as floss and toothbrushes.   
Dentists must go through extensive education to earn their title, and some Dentists study even further to become specialists. For example, some Dentists can be trained Orthodontists and have the responsibility of applying braces on their patients to straighten out their teeth. In contrast, others may specialize in Pediatric Dentistry and solely work with children.  
The roles and responsibilities of a Dentist are situational and change depending on their patients and specialization; however, there are standardized practices that they will carry out.   

Roles & Responsibilities for a Dentist 

  • Reviewing patients’ dental history and examining their oral health status: 
  • Conducting/ordering and reviewing pre-assessment tests (e.g., x-rays); and 
  • operating and monitoring technical equipment. 
  • Planning and providing appropriate treatment: 
  • Repairing or removing damaged teeth, replacing missing ones, eliminating decay from teeth, filling cavities, installing bridges, and cleaning infections; 
  • Administering anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia to limit the amount of patient discomfort experienced during dental procedures; 
  • Performing root canal treatments, dental implants, and other dental/oral surgeries, such as periodontal surgery; 
  • Applying sealants or whitening agents on teeth; 
  • Casting replicas and models of patient’s teeth; 
  • Prescribing oral and dental medications (e.g., antibiotics and painkillers) to patients; 
  • Referring patients to other dental specialists, as needed; and 
  • Explaining payment options and plans to patients. 
  • Preventing and controlling dental and oral diseases: 
  • Conducting routine checkups and cleaning teeth, or ensuring they have been properly cleaned by a Dental Hygienist/Dental Assistant; and 
  • Preparing dental kits for patients and educating them on oral hygiene (e.g., brushing and flossing) in order to help them achieve continual dental care. 
  • Maintaining and evaluating patients’ dental records: 
  • Documenting dental assessment, treatment, and consultations. 
  • Managing a dental health team (e.g. Dental Hygienists, Dental Technicians, and Dental Assistants) and instructing them on implementing, coordinating, and evaluating patient care. 
  • Complying with safety standards at all times, and taking precautionary measures to avoid infection and contamination: 
  • Sterilizing dental instruments, or ensuring sterilization is done by qualified staff. 
  • Participating in dental care awareness programs, promoting excellent oral and dental health, and sometimes being involved in lectures and conferences. 
  • In some cases, taking part in budget preparation and other financing or business-related activities.