In Summary - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
Dentist - Oral Surgeons typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
The dentist studies the patient's past history of dental care and examines the mouth and teeth, sometimes using X-rays, to detect gum disease or tooth decay. Typical routine treatment includes:
- extracting decayed or septic teeth
- drilling, preparing and filling cavities
- scaling and polishing teeth
- advising on oral hygiene
The dentist may treat irregular teeth by fitting appliances such as braces or may replace teeth by fitting crowns, bridges or dentures. Sometimes they carry out surgery on diseased gums and infected roots to help preserve teeth. Newly qualified dentists entering general practice usually begin their career as an associate in a group practice, where they can receive support from more experienced colleagues.
Dentists in the community dental service are responsible for the treatment of priority groups such as young children, expectant mothers and adults with physical or mental impairments. They work in local clinics and may travel to locations such as schools, day centres and residential homes to carry out inspections and advise on dental health education.
Some dentists work in the dental department of general hospitals. Newly qualified dentists begin their career as house officers and progress through the grades of house officer, registrar, senior registrar and assistant dental surgeon to consultant status. During this period, they combine work with study for one of the dental specialisms, which involves taking further examinations.
There are two recognised specialties in Ireland:
- Oral surgery
Oral surgeons work mainly in hospitals and universities. Dentists specialising in oral and maxillo-facial surgery treat injuries to the face or serious diseases of the teeth and gums.
Dentists specialising in orthodontics treat the more complex cases of crooked or missing teeth, fitting appliances to correct these and advising dentists in general practice.
Most orthodontists work in private practice, although some work in hospitals, universities and the Public Dental Service. To become a specialist, two years of general professional training must be undergone after primary qualification, and this is followed by three years of fulltime specialist training. To become a consultant may involve a further three years of higher training.
The training takes place in university teaching hospitals in Ireland, or other such recognised training establishments, often in the UK or other EU countries. Trainees generally provide dental care during their training and are normally paid as appropriate. On completion of training as a specialist you normally receive a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in orthodontics or oral surgery, issued by the Dental Council, and are entered onto the appropriate Specialist Register.
You may also receive a diploma from one of the Royal Colleges of Ireland or the UK, such as a “Fellowship” or “Membership”, or a master’s degree or PhD from a university. Aside from the two recognised specialties, there are other traditional specialist areas of dentistry such as paediatric dentistry, periodontology, and endodontics, where practitioners have undertaken further training and have limited their practices to their specialty.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.
- Use masks, gloves and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.
- Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health, diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.
- Formulate plan of treatment for patient's teeth and mouth tissue.
- Use air turbine and hand instruments, dental appliances and surgical implements.
- Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.
- Advise or instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.
- Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.
- Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.
- Design, make, or fit prosthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, bridges, or dentures, or write fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Interests - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
You need good communication skills and a sympathetic nature to help put nervous patients at ease. You should be able to think logically and handle delicate dental instruments with a steady hand.
Dentistry is a physically demanding career and unsuited to those with certain physical handicaps such as poor sight, disturbances in coordination of movement, certain back problems and any medical condition which would put a person at risk of contracting or passing on infectious diseases. If in doubt, consult a dentist or doctor before application.
An interest and academic ability in science is essential.
Entry Requirements - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
A degree in dentistry is required in order to register with the Dental Council of Ireland. Entry is competitive as only two Irish universities offer programmes: Trinity College Dublin offers Dental Science TR052 and University College Cork offers Dentistry CK702.
General admission procedures to the study of Dentistry is based on the CAO points systems for students presenting Leaving Certificate or Matriculation examinations.
Queens University in Belfast also run a degree course in dentistry. Studying Dentistry in Europe has become a popular option for Irish students.
Last Updated: October, 2017
Pay & Salary - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 39k - 100k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Dentist - Oral Surgeon
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Public Appointments Service
Irish Dental Association
Dental Health Foundation Ireland
Dental Council of Ireland
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Irish Dental Association