HOW TO BECOME A DENTIST
Dentistry is one of the most respected professions in the area of medicine and healthcare. Find out what it takes to be a dentist in Malaysia in this article.
Dentistry is a field that combines scientific knowledge and a passion for aesthetics. However, dentists are doctors in their own right as oral health encompasses more than just beautiful teeth.
What is Dentistry?
Also known as dental medicine, dentistry concerns the prevention, treatment and diagnoses of conditions and diseases that occur in the oral cavity and neighbouring body parts. Dentists not only fix and take care of the teeth, mouth and gums, but also look at the tongue, neck, salivary glands and jaw. This is because the symptoms of many diseases can be detected in the mouth and the areas surrounding it. Gum disease and inflammation are some of the symptoms of more dangerous diseases.
What Should You Study?
After completing their pre-university programmes, students who are interested in dentistry may enrol themselves in institutions that offer the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) programmes. Similar to a medical degree, the DDS takes five years to complete.
The first two years of a dentistry degree generally consists of the study of basic health sciences through lectures and laboratory instructions. Students will be exposed to subjects like Dental Anatomy, Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Dental Materials & Equipment. In addition, students will be taught the foundation principles of oral diagnosis and treatment and have the opportunity to practise their skills on mannequins.In the third year of a dentistry degree, students will tackle the heavy topics of general medicine, surgery and dentistry. Examples of these topics include General Medicine, Oral Pathology and Dental Radiology. The remaining years of the dental degree require students to practise what they have learnt in community clinics and outpatient clinics. Furthermore, students will learn more specialised dental subjects such as Orthodontics and Dental Public Health.
What Do Dentists Do?
Other than diagnosing oral diseases, dentists are also in charge of promoting oral health and prevention methods. They also have to read x-rays and run diagnostic tests for their patients. After that, they have to craft specific treatment plans for their patients for smooth restoration of their oral health. Dentists also monitor the growth and development of teeth and jaws, especially when patients go for their dental appointments twice a year. In addition, certain dental specialists carry out minor surgical procedures in the oral cavity, mainly teeth and soft tissues. During surgical procedures, dentists also make sure that the administration of anaesthetics is safe.
Where do Dentists Work?
After completing a dentistry degree, students have to register with the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC) and complete a year of compulsory government service. Once that is over, junior dentists can find jobs in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Higher Education or private sectors. Dentists are employed in the areas of service delivery, basic dental care, research, training and education as a Dental Officer. After a few years of working experience, dentists can specialise in Oral Surgery, Orthodontics and Restorative Dentistry, where they will be known as a Dental Specialist.
Those aspiring to be dentists will have an exciting career. This is because dentistry is a well-respected profession in the medical field. In addition, dentists are always on the forefront of cutting edge technology when it comes to improving oral health. Last but not least, dentists make people confident about their smile and also confident about their health.