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Dentists may do some or all of the following

  • listen to and talk with patients to establish what their needs are
  • examine the mouth, teeth, gums and jaw
  • diagnose diseases
  • assess and refer patients to other dental specialists and health professionals
  • give pain relief to patients
  • treat diseased teeth in various ways, including placing bonded fillings, fitting crowns or extracting teeth
  • treat infected and diseased teeth with root canal treatment
  • treat diseased gums, jaw-joint and other general mouth problems
  • advise patients on how to keep their teeth clean and prevent diseases
  • replace missing teeth with implants, bridges, or partial or full dentures
  • improve the appearance of teeth with veneers, crowns or bleaching
  • fit braces to straighten teeth
  • be involved in research.

Dentists need to have

  • knowledge of the structure and function of the teeth, jaw and mouth
  • skill in assessing and diagnosing dental problems
  • understanding of the structure and functions of the body, and general injuries and diseases of the body, especially the head and neck
  • knowledge of injuries and diseases of the mouth
  • knowledge of dental methods, materials and medicines
  • knowledge of oral health care methods
  • knowledge of hygiene and sterilisation procedures
  • good people and communication skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • decision-making skills
  • first aid skills.

Dentists need to be

  • patient, supportive and positive
  • concerned for others and able to relate to and empathise with a wide range of people
  • able to inspire confidence in their patients
  • accurate and responsible
  • able to work well under pressure.