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The dental profession offers many career options combining science and technology with helping people enhance and maintain oral health.

An Overview

Start planning for a dental career! You can choose to become a dentist, or one of the valued members of the dental team: dental hygienist, dental assistant or dental laboratory technician. Regardless of the dental career you are considering, find out everything you can about it to determine if it is a good fit for you. You might also consider job shadowing at a local dentist's office.


Would you like an opportunity to join one of the most respected profession in the country? Provide a needed health service? Use artistic talent as well as scientific knowledge? Create healthy smiles? Own your own business? If so, then a career as a dentist may be right for you.

The future looks bright for the profession of dentistry. New information about the relationship of oral health to overall health makes dentistry an important health profession for the future.

As well, large numbers of dentists are projected to retire in the next 20 years, and new dentists will be needed in private practice, as teachers and researchers, and in public health dentistry. 

UMKC School of Dentistry

Dentist Online Resources

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists work with dentists in the delivery of dental care to patients. Hygienists use their knowledge and clinical skills to provide dental hygiene care for patients. They use their interpersonal skills to motivate and instruct patients on methods to prevent oral disease and to maintain oral health.

Hygienist Online Resources

Dental Assistant

In addition to assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures, other specific tasks dental assistants may perform include taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), sterilizing instruments and equipment and taking impressions of patients' teeth.

Assistant Online Resources

Dental Laboratory Technician

Since each dental patient's specific needs are different, the duties of a dental technician are comprehensive and varied. Technicians work with a variety of materials, as well as sophisticated instruments and equipment, to create dental prostheses (replacements for damaged or missing tooth structure).

Lab Tech Online Resources

Missouri ACES Program

Missouri Area Health Education Centers ACES Program

For Missouri high school students in grades 9-12 interested in pursuing a career in general dentistry or dental hygiene, the AHEC Career Enhancement Scholars (ACES) Program develops one-on-one relationships for students, their parents and communities to create a comprehensive statewide pipeline, funneling students into primary healthcare careers.

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