Dentists care not only for teeth and gums, but also for the muscles and bones within or supporting the mouth. They do routine procedures such as filling cavities, cleaning teeth and repairing broken ones. They may also perform surgeries within or around the mouth to promote dental health, improve appearance and prevent disease.
Once students graduate from dental school, they must be licensed. In most states, they are required to take written and practical exams that test their knowledge of dentistry and their ability to apply it to solving problems.
Eric R. Boyd, DDS
Truth be told, for me dentistry was something I sort of fell into. I knew I wanted to do something involving medicine and I just figured my natural place was out front being the leader. When I was in undergrad I had several friends who were part of the now defunct 6 year program. They were the same age as me, but further along in school. So I had an idea of what I was getting into, but truth be told I was still wandering aimlessly. I’d love to sit here and say “I chose dentistry for X reasons”… but the truth is it sort of found me more so than the other way around.
Now fast forward a few years and I can tell you that for myself, it’s a great profession. I guess sometimes in life things work that way… you just sort of find yourself here or there and then realize it’s where you were supposed to be. The things I genuinely enjoy about this job are:
I get to genuinely help people. I’m a big believer that today there are lots of ways in which we act like we’re helping other people, more so just to feel good about ourselves, but in reality our efforts are pretty trivial. Not so with this profession. The things I do matter, and they matter a lot to some of these people. Which means:
– I get to change lives. It doesn’t happen every day, or even every year. But there are those people you meet at the right time in their life that you inspire some pretty significant changes. You watch them blossom and do a total transformation before your eyes. That’s an amazing experience.
– I get to fix things. When I was younger I had a habit of taking everything broken apart to see if I could fix it. I’ve always been a MacGuyver type. I’m constantly challenged in this career with new problems and finding new and unique solutions to them. Almost everything I do requires some degree of structural or chemical engineering and it’s constantly keeping me on my toes.
– I get to be my own boss. This took me a while to achieve (like anything worth having right)… but I love it. People think being the boss means less work. Honestly it means twice the amount of work, but it gives me the autonomy and freedom to do what I know is right in my heart, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.