Finding yourself in another state or country means you have to pick up a career in that part of the world. A lot of people keep asking questions like “How can I become a dentist in Texas” How much do dentists in Texas earn in a month?
In this article, you will get to know how to become a dentist in Texas, especially for international students/graduates who found themselves in Texas due to one circumstance or the other but don’t know how or where to start their career in the state.
So, If you just relocated to Texas, or maybe you’re a domestic student in search of ways one can become a registered dentist in Texas then this piece of information is for you.
You will get to know the work of a dentist in Texas and how to become a part of them, the salary, and the different types of working environments open to qualified dentists in Texas.
What is the work of a dentist in Texas?
In Texas, dentists are professionally trained to specialize in oral healthcare. They promote oral hygiene such as protecting the teeth and gums, filling cavities, educating patients on oral health, recommending oral care practices, accessing jaws and bite patterns, performing X-rays on patients’ jaws and teeth, and administering anesthesia for dental procedures.
Top 11 Tips on How to Become a Dentist in Texas
The following are the top 10+ ways to become a dentist in Texas:
#1. Pursue a Bachelor’s degree in a science-related field
If you’re interested in becoming a dentist, it is important you pursue an undergraduate degree in science or any other science-related field such as biology or anatomy. An undergraduate degree will prepare you to meet all the prerequisites needed to enter dental school.
Other science courses include chemistry, physics, biochemistry, physiology, and microbiology. Either of the courses have to be a part of the sciences courses you will study at your undergraduate level.
#2. Letter of recommendation
Application to a dental school requires a letter of recommendation, the letter of recommendation has to be from a recognizable organization or work ethic because schools will always reject a weak letter from students.
With the recommendation letter, the admission will be able to know what you like as a student and as a person such as your character, strength, and academic achievements among many others which will enable the admission body to put the rest of your application into context.
#3. Apply for admission to a dental school
In Texas, once you earn your bachelor’s degree you can go ahead and apply to a dental school. Attending dental programs before becoming a dentist in Texas is not necessary but it’s important you choose one of the best dental schools for your studies in order to be recognized in the state and out of the state.
The dental accreditation body in Texas known as the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) works to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards in the nation’s dental schools and programs.
#4. Complete coursework at a dental school
It takes four years to graduate from dental schools in Texas, few other dental schools can complete their dental program in a shorter time. You are expected to complete your studies and clinical in other to be eligible for the employment opportunities that are available in the dental field.
#5. Take the Dental Admission Test
The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is compulsory in Texas, if you are interested in becoming a dentist in Texas, you have to take and pass this exam because it is given by the American Dental Association.
The test question is usually 280 questions and interested students are expected to reach an average score. But because dental schools are highly competitive, scoring higher will position you for success.
After the test, the dental school committees will use your score and academic record to assess if you are eligible to be admitted into a dental school. The DAT test has four sections; Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
#6. Pass the National Board Dental Exams
This examination is the United States national dental examination for students and professionals in dentistry. The National Board Dental Exams is required for licensure in the United States and may also be required when applying for postgraduate studies in dental specialties after completing a dental degree.
If you are a foreign-trained dentist, you must take this test in order to gain admission into advanced standing programs in US dental schools. the exam consists of 400 multiple choice questions from the area of human anatomy, embryology and History, Biochemistry and Physiology, Microbiology and Pathology, Dental Anatomy and Occlusion, Endodontics, Operative Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/pain control, Oral Diagnosis, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, Patient Management, Periodontics, Pharmacology, and Prosthodontics.
It takes two days to write National Board Dental Exams and you can either pass or fail. Candidates who did not pass the exam on their first sitting are eligible to take it for the second time but those who passed are not allowed another sitting.
#7. Consider a specialty
As a graduate, you can decide to specialize in a particular field in the dental setting but be aware being a specialist will affect the type of patients you treat, your credentials, and your salary. Some of the specialties might as well require additional schooling. Below is the list of different dental specialties;
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists
- Dentist Anesthesiologists
- Pediatric Dentist or PedodontistOrofacial Pain (OFP)
- Oral Medicine
- Dental Public Health (DPH)
#8. Earn a state license
To earn the state license, you are to contact any of the testing agencies in Texas. Each agency’s admission requirements and the content of the exam differ. Below are some of the generally recognized testing agencies in Texas;
- Council of Interstate Testing Agencies
- The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments
- Southern Regional Testing Agency
- Western Regional Examiner Board
- Central Regional Dental Testing Service
#9. Volunteer in a dental office
Most dental schools in Texas love to see students who are involved in extracurricular activities. As a dental student, you can get some experience and improve your dental school application by finding volunteer work in a dental office.
#10. Gain professional experience
If your time is flexible enough as a dental student, it is advisable you get a part-time job in any dental office and serve as a dental assistant or receptionist in other to gain professional experience while you are still in school.
Engaging in a volunteer job as a student or engaging in a job with a salary will help you to gain a variety of experiences that might not be taught in school.
#11. Decide where you want to work
After graduating, it is left for you to choose whether to work in a hospital or start your own private practice or join another private practice with other dentists. You can as well find job opportunities in the city or in rural communities. You can as well work for organizations doing lab research or become a teacher in a dental school.
The most important thing is to know what’s best suitable for you in terms of income, location, and environment.
Different Dental Specialties in Texas
Dental specialties in Texas are widely recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (NCRDSCB). Only these twelve (12) specialties listed and explained below are recognized by this body in Texas.
Endodontics: This dental specialty has the responsibility of diagnosing, treating, and preventing infections and injuries in the human dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth.
Orthodontics: This dental specialty involves the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.
Periodontics: This dental specialty involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of soft tissue (gum) diseases of the teeth, as well as the supporting structures (bones) of the teeth, whether they are natural or manmade teeth.
Prosthodontics: This dental specialty involves the diagnosis, treatment, and oral function, associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: This dental specialty involves the surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Oral and maxillofacial radiology: This dental specialty is concerned with ith the interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region which includes the face, mouth and jaws.
Dental anesthesiology: This dental specialty is concerned with managing pain, anxiety, and overall patient health during dental, oral, maxillofacial, and adjunctive surgical or diagnostic procedures throughout the entire perioperative period.
Oral and maxillofacial pathology: This dental specialty is concerned with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions.
Pediatric dentistry or pedodontics: This dental specialty is concerned with primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
Orofacial Pain (OFP): This dental specialty is concerned with the diagnosis, management, and treatment of pain disorders of the jaw, mouth, face, head, and neck.
Oral Medicine: This dental specialty is concerned with the oral health care of medically complex patients and the diagnosis and management of medical-related diseases, disorders, and conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region.
Dental Public Health (DPH): This dental specialty is concerned with the prevention and control of dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts including dental research and dental care.
What is the salary of a dentist in Texas?
The average salary of a dentist in Texas ranges from $186,103 and $209,535. The salary range is according to your location, experience, and level of education.
There is more to becoming a dentist in Texas but in all, you’re expected to be committed and consistent in improving your skills and knowledge in the dental field. Texas is a powerful and beautiful place to pursue a career in dentistry.