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Powering smiles

education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 17:10 IST
Hindustan Times
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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 (cavity), and fixing the position of the teeth in relation to each other and to the jawbones. Dentists 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 have to do it all!

Clock Work
This is the work schedule of a dentist in a public or a private hospital. The work day of a consultant or a dentist in private practice can be different
9am: Reach hospital
10am: Carry out routine clinical treatments and see patients in OPD Noon: Do administrative work
1pm: Lunch
1.30pm: Treat patients who have prior appointments
4.30pm: Meet staff/officials for next day’s appointments
6pm: Call it a day

The payoff
In the government sector, the average packages are Rs50,000 a month (at the entry level), Rs75,000 to R1 lakh a month (at the middle level) and Rs1.5 lakh per month (at the senior level). In the private sector, the pay varies according to experience and expertise. A doctor with a good private practice can bring home handsome earnings

Creativity and an innate interest in health sciences
. Steady hands
. Aptitude for learning new skills as dental procedures change often
. Ability to work tirelessly
. Good communication skills
. A good sense of humour can help you break the ice with patients
. Being a patient listener helps
. 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
. GDC, Trivandrum

Pros and cons
. No late nights
. You can transform a person’s life by changing his/her appearance
. You might have to sit for long hours and the probability of sufferring from back pain is quite high
. There is no correlation between your academic performance and earnings, it is a skill driven job