Since childhood, Dr Neetu Kamra, head, dental department at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, was drawn towards dentistry. “For me, dentistry is an art of creating and beautifying smiles and I always aspired to become the creator of such smiles,” says Dr Kamra.
Dentists identify and correct diseases of the teeth, supporting bone and gingival tissues, and other tissues in the oral cavity, head and neck. They treat gum disease, root cavities and infections and oral cancer.
Dr Kamra says that patience and good interpersonal communication are the prime skills required for a successful career as a dentist. “One needs to devise different strategies to deal with patients of different age groups with the same ailments,” she says. The dental postgraduate entrance exam - MDS, is highly competitive. “After the completion of BDS, one can specialise in pediatric dentistry, endodontics, prosthodontics and oral surgery. However, aspirants should not be disheartened if they are unable to clear the postgraduate entrance exam, as the diploma courses that can be pursued after BDS are also good options,” she says.
Dr Kamra, who has 13 years of experience in dentistry, finds it to be one of the most flexible fields in medicine. “It is a good choice for females or people looking for a relaxed medical field because it does not involve night duties and emergencies as dental problems mostly cause discomfort. Lives are seldom at threat,” she says.
Dentistry has advanced by leaps and bounds as far as treatment techniques are concerned. “Initially, we would carry out treatment for root canals manually but procedures have become less painful,” she adds.
An active member of the Indian Dental Association, Dr Kamra says that as a dentist, one needs to keep oneself abreast of the latest developments in the field. “I regularly attend national and international medical conferences and workshops to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the field of dental care,” she says.
She believes that people have become more aware of the importance of dental hygiene. “The last 10 years have seen a huge growth in dentistry. Initially, people would walk up to a dentist only when they had a toothache. But these days, most of the people make it a point to visit a dentist every six months for a regular check-up,” says Dr Kamra.
According to this Pune University graduate, cosmetic dentistry that is aimed at bringing about a positive change to a patient’s looks is also a lucrative option. She believes in minimal invasive dentistry which reflects how the cosmetic dentist can provide the highest level of treatment by being least invasive. “The concept of smile designing is now at the forefront in India. Cosmetic dentistry that includes procedures such as braces, bleaching to make teeth whiter, closing gaps between teeth, covering broken teeth with porcelain crowns is very common these days,” she adds.
About job satisfaction levels, Dr Kamra says her day is done when there’s “An instant change in the dental condition of a patient. That gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”
All you need to know about a career as a dentist
Dentists are healthcare ­professionals who provide ­preventive and restorative ­treatments for problems ­affecting the mouth and teeth. According to a report published by Dental Economics, the ­dental care system will further evolve in the next 20 years than in the previous 50 years as the rates of dental visits by patients continue to edge upward
* King George’s Medical University, Lucknow;
* All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi;
* Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi; www.mamc.ac.in
Take up biology in Class 11 and continue with it in Class 12. Thereafter, you need to clear the entrance test for BDS (bachelor of dental surgery), followed by MDS (master of dental surgery). The diploma courses after BDS also have great prospects and enhance the career growth of aspiring dentists. Dentists can also set up their own private practice
Skills and traits
* The ability to communicate information about oral hygiene and treatments to patients in a clear and articulate manner
* Good manual dexterity, eyesight and a steady hand
* Good physical coordination and stamina
* Excellent knowledge of the science of oral health
The daily drill
A dentist identifies and corrects diseases concerning the teeth and takes care of oral hygiene
Rs. I take home
Rs. 4 lakh- Rs. 30 lakh per annum
I love my job because...
I help bring back smiles to my patients’ face
With the world ­becoming more aware of the ­importance of oral health, dentistry is a very lucrative medical field. Constant upgradation of knowledge is key