Knowing that you want a career in dentistry is one thing but trying to narrow it down to a chosen specialty is another entirely. It can be quite overwhelming for an educated dentist looking to specialize, and you want to ensure that you make the right decision; thankfully, this guide is here to help you break it down and zone in on what the ideal dental specialty will be for you.
Exploring the Different Dental Specialties
In making the right decision, it is a good idea to break down all the specialties available to you. You may have one specific specialty in mind, or you may be trying to choose between a few which appeals to you. In making the right decision, understanding an overview first is key, and following your instincts for which one sounds best suited to your needs.
General dentistry (Public and Private)
As a general dentist, you will provide primary oral healthcare to patients. This can be on a public or private basis, depending on the patients your practice deals with, or it could be both. Some dental practices only take on private patients.
Choosing a specific age range
Specializing could mean that you would like to perform general dental duties, but only with a specific age range. You might want to take on adult patients, or perhaps pediatric dentistry appeals to you if you enjoy working with younger people.
Orthodontics or prosthodontics
Orthodontics is a key dental service for many people, focusing on the straightening and fixing of misalignments. This can be of great appeal to a trained dentist who would like to specialize in this side of things and help patients achieve a straight, aligned smile alongside good oral health.
With prosthodontics, you can also put more of a focus on building a straight smile for your patients by replacing missing teeth and assisting with implants.
Just like certain doctors will prefer to work within the operating room and specialize in surgery, so too can dentists find career satisfaction with this side of things. You may want to become an oral surgeon if you would like to perform surgery relating to the mouth and teeth, and this can also include jaw problems.
Focus on oral diseases: oral pathology
You might want to specialize in studying and treating oral diseases rather than working directly with general dentistry or teeth alignment. This might appeal if you have a specific passion for healthcare in the field of disease but would like to apply this to oral health.
These are just some examples of the main branches of dentistry.
Working Within a Specialty or Being Your Own Boss
Choosing the right dental specialty and ensuring that your career is the right one for you can also include the question of whether you should seek employment within the specialty you have chosen or open your own practice with your specialty in mind.
The right choice for you will depend on what you are looking for out of your career, and how much control you would like over your career progression. While career progression is certainly possible with employment in terms of further learning and promotion opportunities, being your own boss may give you more control over that side of things.
Pros of Being Your Own Boss
- Being your own boss and opening your own dental clinic can be a dream come true for those skilled in dentistry and who want to run their own business. It can allow you to meet your career aspirations if you have always considered entrepreneurial efforts alongside your dental qualifications
- This can allow you to have complete control over how you want your specialty to progress. If you are opening a dental clinic which only provides the dental service you specialize in, then you can put your dedicated time and effort into a clinic you can be proud of. You can have more autonomy over how your patients view you, how you market your specialization, and more
Cons of Being Your Own Boss
- Being your own boss can mean a lot of responsibility if you are providing services as a dental practitioner but also trying to run the business side of things too. On top of your normal working hours as a dentist, you will also be responsible for the running and marketing of your business, which can mean a lot of extra responsibility. Nevertheless, there are ways to make it a lot easier, such as finding marketing help and guidance for your dental specialization. Visit Hip Creative | Marketing for Orthodontics| here
- There is more of a risk of failure if you are responsible for owning and growing your own dental clinic compared to being employed by an established and successful practice
Exploring Your Own Interests
Now that you have explored some of the key specialization areas, you can better link them to your own interests regarding dentistry. Is there one focus that is more appealing to you, such as working with alignment and cosmetic fixes rather than focusing on oral health problems like diseases? Exploring your own interests and getting to know yourself and what sparks passion will help you match this with your dental career.
What Are Your Career Goals?
Another key point in choosing the right dental specialty for you is your own career goals. Some specialties may offer more long-term security than others, may offer more progression and further learning, or may provide a completely different branch to what you are used to if your aspiration is for a big change. Knowing your career goals will help you better narrow down which specialties most connect with that and help you plan for the long-term. If your career goals also include building up your own business, then naturally establishing a clinic within your chosen specialty can be a rewarding choice.
In closing, whatever specialty you choose within dentistry can be a rewarding career path if it aligns with your career goals and personal development.