Teeth treat

The lowdown
A dentist is specially trained to take care of people’s dentures. Dentistry is the science of diagnoses, prevention and treatment of diseases related to the teeth, gums, jaws and soft tissues of the mouth. The treatment includes restorative dentistry, which focuses on correcting problems of the teeth caused mainly by dental decay, and fixing the position of the teeth in relation to each other and to the jawbones. They also treat injuries, infections, tumours and other conditions of the teeth, jawbones and related tissues. From cleaning of teeth to filling cavities to performing complicated surgeries — they do it all! Not all the surgeries are done by dentists with a BDS degree. Those with an MDS degree do the specialised care. Orthodontists, pedodontists, prosthodontists, periodontists, operative dentists and endodontists and maxillofacial oral surgeons are clinical sepcialists who do major surgeries. The non clinical specialists include oral pathologists, oral medicine and radiology experts etc

This is the work schedule of a dentist in a public or a private hospital. The work day of a consultant, a dentist in private practice or teaching job can be different
9am to 1pm: Carry out routine clinical treatments and see patients
1pm to 2pm: Lunch
2pm: Treat patients with appointments
5pm: Leave for the day

The payoff
A person with a BDS degree can earn Rs. 8,000 initially and and for an MDS starting salary is Rs. 25,000 that can go up to Rs. 1 lakh. In the government sector, the average packages are Rs. 50,000 a month (at the entry level), Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month (at the middle level) and Rs. 1.5 lakh per month (at the senior level). In the private sector, the pay varies according to experience and expertise. A doctor with good private practice can bring home handsome earnings

* A humane approach and good sense of humour can help you break the ice with patients
* Ability to work with patience and dedication helps
* Aptitude for learning new skills as dental procedures often change 
* Creativity and an innate interest in health sciences
* Steady hands
* Ability to work tirelessly
* Good communication skills 
* Ability to oversee the accounts, payrolls etc in your clinic

Getting there
Take physics, chemistry and biology in Class 12 and then clear the pre-medical entrance examination of states/boards/institutions. After the five-year bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) course, you can go in for a postgraduate degree. There are several specialisations to choose from. The Indian Dental Association organises various continuing dental education (CDE) programmes which can help you update your knowledge of modern dentistry. You also have the options of working in any private or public hospital or start your own private practice

Institutes and URLs
* Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi
* Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Lucknow
www.kgmcindia.edu/ www.csmmu.in/
* R Ahmed Dental College Kolkata
* Government Dental College, Mumbai
* Dental College, Dharwad, Karnataka
* College of Dental Sciences, Manipal
* Government Dental College, Trivandrum
* The Dental Council of India

Pros and cons
* No late nights
* Remuneration has no limits
* Not many job opportunities
* There is no correlation between your academic performance and earnings, it is a skill driven job

In India, dentistry has come of age because the importance of teeth as a major contributor to the overall health has been understood --Dr Bela Jain, senior consultant and head of unit in department of dentistry, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi


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