Dentistry in the United States is highly regulated like all other areas of medicine. Dentistry is regulated by several agencies and the regional board. Among the organizations overseeing the practice of dentistry in the United States, the most recognized ones are the regional board, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and American Dental Association.
However, giving practicing license is the responsibility of the states. This implies that you will get your license to practice from the state where you are based (where you want to practice). According to a reliable report, there are about 190,000 practicing dentists in the United States right now and many more are still being trained so the figure is likely to keep increasing.
Academic requirements to study dentistry
To be admitted into any American dental school, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in the pre-requisite courses. In the dental school, you must take some didactic education and some simulation courses. Most importantly, you must pass Parts I and II of the National Board Dental Examinations administered by American Dental Association (ADA). Part I is pre-requisite to Part II. The former is usually scheduled for the second year while the latter is slated for the fourth year.
To practice dentistry in the United States, you must graduate from any of the accredited dental schools in either the United States or Canada.
In addition, you should also pass a regional board examination. Region board is made of regional agencies whose responsibility is to conduct clinical tests for graduating dental students. The different boards in the United States are listed below.
- Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB)
- Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)
- Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA)
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS)
Academic requirements differ slightly in different states. For instance, Minnesota, California, and Connecticut give dental students the option of completing a 1-year program of either General Practice Residency (GPR) or Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) instead of taking board examinations. New York stopped accepting NERB in 2007. Instead, graduates are required to take either AEGD or GPR.
Areas of specialization
There are 9 areas of specialization in dentistry. Graduates are expected to go into at least one of them. These areas of specialization are orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial pathology, prosthodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, and dental public health (general dentistry).
Choosing a dental clinic
When it comes to choosing a dental clinic, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of them.
What matters most is the experience of the dentist in the clinic. So, don’t just write off any new dental clinic. It could be run by a very experienced dentist who just started his own clinic.
You need to also consider the facilities offered in the clinic. As technology advances, new tools for dental care will keep emerging. So, you should select dental clinics with the latest equipment.
You should ensure that your prospective dental clinic is fully accredited before going there. Accreditation is the best measure of competence.
Acceptance of insurance
While a lot of dental clinics accept payment through insurance, some do not. So, if your insurance policy covers the particular dental treatment that you need, it is important to opt for a dental clinic that accepts insurance.
Of course, it is a good idea to select the clinic with the lowest charges but it is not advisable to base your choice on only lower charges. After all, no amount of money is too much for your health. Besides, experience and sophisticated equipment both come with higher charges. Quality dental care is not cheap. Most popular dentist clinics are run by highly experienced dentists, they make use of the latest tools and technology, and most importantly, they are fully accredited.
Over the years, some dentists and dental clinics have distinguished themselves in the United States. The dentists below have really distinguished themselves in the United States over the years. They are all the best at what they do.
- Doctor Kim R. Glick – Tennessee
- Doctor James Ojjeh – Illinois
- Doctor Andrew D. Frangella – New York
In conclusion, there are many more distinguished dentists but these few have just been selected at random.