Career in Dental Sciences
Gone are the days when Indian dentistry was thought to be mere pulling out of troubled teeth & placement of removable prosthesis in the edentulous areas that too in rare cases. As compared to the dentistry of yester Years, modern dentistry is totally different.
It has now been changed tremendously specially in the last twenty five Years. Today, with the advent of novel equipments & technologies like computers, lasers & MRI, Indian dentistry is galloping and getting a new edge with state – of – the art equipments & multispeciality centers.
It presents a vast scope for clinical and research based experience. The very fact that it is a specialization right from the very beginning makes it a good carrier option for young generations.
How to Start Career as a Dentist
To be a dentist, the first thing you need to have is average scientific and logical reasoning skills and the ability to memorize and recall scientific facts. But above all, you need lot of patience and a cool temperament. You would have to qualify premedical test (PMT) at national or state level.
But qualifying the exam is not an easy job. Perseverance is necessary since thousands of aspirants appear in the exam. The papers basically consist of Zoology, Botany, Physics, & Chemistry. In some PMTs, English & General Knowledge of the candidates are also checked.
The minimum qualification is 10+2 standard whereas minimum age of the candidate should be 17 Years but no upper age limit is fixed till date for most of the PMTs. Apart from government colleges, there are many colleges that offer seats for a capitation fee between 9 – 15 lakhs for B.D.S. and 20 – 40 lakhs for M.D.S. depending upon the specialization.
Anyway, once you secure a seat, you’ll undergo four Years of pre – clinical (theoretical) and clinical (working in clinics) training followed by one Year of rotatory internship so as to make BDS a 5 Years course. Rotatory internship means you will be posted for 1 – 2 months in each of the specializations (refer to career overview).
After BDS you can either directly start working or prepare for PG Entrance Examination. There are about 450 PG seats in India contested by thousands of candidates each Year. MDS (Masters of Dental Surgery) is a 3 yrs. course, which obviously improves your carrier prospects manifolds.
There are about 200 dental colleges in India and according to latest estimates, nearly 12,000 people graduate with a BDS degree every Year. Apart from graduate and post graduate courses, some institutes also offer diploma courses of 2 Years in dental hygiene and dental mechanics.
The work of the dental hygienist is to assist the dentist during his clinical work and to cleanse the teeth and give oral hygiene instructions to the patients while work of the dental mechanic is to fabricate dentures and appliances etc. in laboratory.
Dentist Career Overview
The dentist assumes an important position in the health – care system because he alone can diagnose, intercept, treat, cure or prevent any disease or abnormality of the oral cavity. The primary job of dentist is to educate and motivate the patients to maintain oral hygiene because most of the dental & periodontal diseases are caused by poor oral hygiene.
There are various branches of dentistry in developed nations. The prominent ones are – Orthodontics, Periodontics, Pedodontics, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Cosmetic & Esthetic Dentistry, Oral Pathology, Forensic Dentistry, Oral Medicine, Crown & Bridge Dentistry, Preventive Dentistry, Operative Dentistry, Implant Dentistry, Community Dentistry.
But in India one may specialize only in the following branches by doing MDS after BDS:
Orthodontics : A specialized branch of dentistry that corrects malocclusion and restores the teeth to proper alignment and function with the help of different types of appliances which may be removable or fixed. The correction enhances the beauty of face.
Periodontics : The branch of dentistry that deals with diseases of supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, and bones.
Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry : It is concerned with dentistry related to dental problems in children with their prevention. It involves application of all measures which can effectively be used to prevent, intercept, control the progressive advance of already existing dental abnormalities, and to promote optimum oral & general health through education.
Prosthodontics : A specialty of dentistry that involves diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.
Operative Dentistry and Endodontics : Operative Dentistry deals with the defects of teeth such as abrasion, erosion, attrition, dental caries, hypoplasia, and discoloration. It is estimated that today’s general dentist spends 60 – 80% of his time dealing with such defects. Endodontics deals with injuries or diseases of the pulp or nerves of the tooth by treating them with Root Canal Therapy (RCT).
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery : It is concerned with the extraction of the teeth, surgery of the oral structures, injuries, deformities of the teeth, jaws, and associated structures.
Oral Pathology : It deals with the pathology of the oral cavity. It analyzes the oral tissue samples, salivary secretions, and other related structures to identify causes of oral diseases.
Oral Medicine : It deals with the medicines used in dental practice.
Community Dentistry : The science & art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community effects. It is concerned with dental health education of public with the help of dental health programs & researches.
Dentist can also be involved in researches like finding out the correlation between oral diseases and heart problems, diabetes, and respiratory ailments, causes of oral cancer, etc. Another area of research could be the synthesis and analysis of new dental materials for oral applications or electrical stimulation of the muscles of mastication.
One of the most important requirements of the dental profession is that as a dentist, you keep yourself constantly updated with the latest technologies, treatment methods and materials.
It will be must for you to read the latest journals, books, scientific updates etc. and attend CDE (Continuing Dental Education) programme, seminars, workshops and conferences through out your life.
Job Opportunities for dentists in India
Due to sudden outburst of private dental colleges in India especially in northern states like UP, a large no. of dentists are being produced every Year. With that, the demand of MDS has shot up sharply. Till early 1990s, there was only one Faculty of Dental Sciences, K.G.M.C. in UP, which was producing around fifty BDS and twenty four MDS per Year only.
But after 2000 the no. of colleges has gone up to around 30 in UP alone. Therefore, demand of MDS has increased manifolds to teach graduates. The colleges are paying as much as 25,000 to 45,000 to the freshers & 60,000 to over 1,00000 or more / month to the experienced faculties having MDS degree.
Almost all the colleges are producing as many as 100 BDS graduates every Year. Some colleges have also started postgraduate courses in different specialties producing 10 – 15 postgraduates every Year with a capitation fee of around 20 – 40 lakhs.
Till date Ph.D. in dentistry is not recognized by DCI (Dental Council of India) nor is NET qualification required for lectureship. After becoming dentist you can choose any one of the following fields: You can :
- Set up a private clinic.
- Work in a government hospital or a private institution.
- Work as a lecturer in any reputed dental college.
- Start a dental lab.
- Work in the research and advisory departments of a pharmaceutical or any other company producing oral care products and medicines like toothpastes, mouth washes, gum paints etc.
- Solve great mysteries by entering the realm of forensic dentistry.
- Work as dental consultant to models, film actors, artists and prominent figures etc.
- Carry out research on subjects like Oral cancer.
- Can go abroad.
Colleges Offering Dental Courses : As I have already mentioned there are around 200 colleges in India. Some offer both B.D.S. and M.D.S. courses while other only either of the two.
The premier government dental institutes that offer both B.D.S. and M.D.S. Courses are :
- Government Dental College Amritsar.
- Dental College & Hospital Patiala.
- K.G.S Dental University Lucknow.
- Nair Dental College and Government Dental College Mumbai.
- Dental College Goa.
- Dental College Ahmadabad.
- Government Dental College Bangalore.
- Dental College Kozhikode.
- Government Medical College Thiruvananthapuram.
- Dental College & Hospital Nagpur.
- Dental College & Hospital Aurangabad.
- Mahatma Gandhi Dental College and Hospital Pondicherry.
- Dr. R. Ahmed Dental College & Hospital Kolkata.
- Dental College Chennai.
Some private colleges also offer both the courses. AIIMS, New Delhi, IMS BHU and PGIMER, Chandigarh offer only M.D.S. course, while most colleges offer only B.D.S.courses. Diploma courses in dental mechanics and dental hygiene are also offered by some dental institutes.
If you think that you will start earning heavy amount right from the very beginning, you are wrong. Dentistry in one of the fields in which experience matters. As a fresh dentist, youll be able to earn 5,000 – 10,000 only. Youll be held a trainee and will get the basic or easy cases to handle.
Now it all depends on you how far and how fast you go from being apprentice to a master. An experienced dentist can earn between 20,000 – 1, 00,000 per month or more in private practice. If your idea is minimum work and maximum profit, then you would have to do MDS in any specializations.
The best way to prepare your self for life dedicated to dentistry is to prepare yourself for a lot of hard work, slow dividends in the beginning and a life long hunger for new, latest knowledge. If you are able to do that, then you can not only make financial gains but also produce good citizens of tomorrow giving them healthy dentition and better smile.
The dental mechanics can set up their labs and can earn thousands to lakhs per month.
Dentistry is a highly respected profession in all countries of the world. In many developed countries, dentists are one of the richest professionals. In some places, patient waits up to 2 – 3 months for a dental appointment and pay as much as ten – hundred times the cost of the same treatment in India. However, most nations do not recognize the Indian degree i.e. BDS.
To practice in such countries for example the USA one has to qualify few basic exams and then do another two Years of undergraduate course. In some countries, for example Australia and New Zealand, all you have to do is give a licentiating exam, on passing that; you can practice in that country. However, these exams include your entire four Years course.
But they are tough to crack and have a very high exam fees.
Future of Indian Dentistry
The future of Indian dentistry is very bright because it has emerged as a sophisticated profession in the recent past. An increasing number of foreigners from different shores even like USA and UK flock to India in search of dental treatment as ever rising cost of keeping dental health is not easy there.
Along with their treatment, they enjoy leisure & sight seeing during their journey and are ultimately benefited on the basis of pros and cons. Therefore, India is emerging as a new terminus for the foreigners with different dental afflictions and for those who want specialized & expensive dental treatments like root canal, crown and bridge fabrication, dental implants and treatment for oro – facial defects.
Few Years back an elderly couple settled in London flew down to India to get a set of brand new dentures at Government Dental College here. They got the treatment done in just 700 flat. The same, they said would have costed them nothing less than 5000 UK ponds (roughly 4 lakhs).
Likewise, every dental treatment is very costly in foreign nations. On an average every Year, Americans spend about $ 70 billion on dental services which ranges from basic checkups to advance treatment like implants & new cosmetic whitening.
This has widened the area of dental tourism as coming to India just for dental treatment works out much cheaper.
Therefore, government should establish multi specialty centers at different places to create dental awareness among Indian population and to promote and encourage dental tourism so that more and more foreigners flock to India in search of dental nirvana.
This will not only draw foreign currency but also open new horizons and carrier options in dental sciences for youngsters.