Dentists treat patients who suffer from maladies of the teeth, gums and mouth, as well as provide preventive oral care.

Dentists are highly skilled professionals who complete extensive educational, training and licensing required to practice. Being a dentist offers several advantages and disadvantages.

Being Your Own Boss

According to, three out of four dentists work in private practice, so they have the opportunity to be their own boss.

They can hire their own staff, set the business hours for the practice and limit the size of the practice if they desire. Dentists also have the choice of specialising in an area of interest, such as orthodontics or oral surgery.

Helping People

Another advantage of being a dentist is the satisfaction that comes from helping people. Patients who are in severe pain can find relief and be able to eat normally again.

Dentists can also help patients improve their appearance with braces or whitening. Regular visits to the dentist can ward off potential problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Substantial Income and Good Job Prospects

Dentists have the advantage of earning a substantial income. According to, the median annual salary for dentists in the United States was £89,024 as of May 2006. Future job prospects for dentists also appear to be good, as new dentists will be needed to replace those who retire.

Difficulty Becoming a Dentist

A disadvantage of being a dentist is that it can be a long and difficult road to become one.

Potential dentists must complete four years of college and then gain admission to a dental school for another four years of studies. Upon completion of their studies, most dentists receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. States mandate that dentists must be licensed, which involves passing written and practical exams.

Dealing with Apprehensive Patients

Another disadvantage is that many people are uncomfortable, or even fearful, about going to the dentist, especially children.

Dentists must deal with people who are not always cooperative and need constant reassurance during a dental procedure. Dentists must be able to remain calm and professional during these often difficult times.