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Careers in Dentistry

For more information on Dental Careers and to view the video "Open Wide: Wide Open", click here
For information on a careers the dental field (via the Dental Health Education Association web site) go to: http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/Field/3/Dentistry

A Career in Dentistry... A Future in South Dakota

A career in dentistry offers many unique opportunities and benefits:
  • Be a respected professional
  • Help people
  • Be your own boss
  • Earn a good income
  • Live & work where you want

Being a Dentist

Most dentists will tell you that what they love most about dentistry is their patients and the diversity of their work. Every patient presents a new challenge and a new opportunity.

Dentists are licensed health care professionals who are trained in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease. This includes treating soft and hard oral tissues, restoring teeth, making cosmetic improvements and performing oral surgery.

Most dentists practice general dentistry, giving them the capability of providing comprehensive care to a wide variety of patients. Others limit their practice to a specialty like orthodontics, oral surgery, or pediatric dentistry.

Dentistry is a well-respected and prestigious profession. Dentists have the opportunity to develop rewarding life-long relationships with their patients, many times caring for multiple generations of the same family.

How to Decide 

More regular visits to the dentist for dental cleanings and exams, an increase demand for cosmetic dental procedures and the fact that Americans are living longer and keeping their teeth longer is driving the demand for more dental care. Most people make their decision to pursue a career in dentistry while they are in high school or early in college. Future dentists need to have a variety of skills. If you enjoy people, are detail oriented, and have an interest in science or medicine, dentistry may be the right career for you.

Work & Lifestyle

After meeting state licensure requirements, dentists may practice anywhere in the state. Most dentists practice by themselves or as associates, partners or members of a group practice. Dentists also may practice for the government in the military, correctional or behavioral facility or a public healthcare facility. Dentistry can be a financially rewarding profession. A dentist's income will vary depending on the type of practice, number of hours in the office and geographic location. Your local dentist may be able to tell you what a new dentist can expect to earn in your area.

An Education

Requirements include a high school diploma, three or four years of pre-dental courses at an accredited college or university and four years of dental education at an accredited dental school. Dentists may receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Two to six additional years of training are required for dental specialties, including: orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery and oral pathology.

A list of dental schools, and links to their web sites, is available from the American Dental Education Association.

More About Dentistry

The best way to learn more about a career in dentistry is to talk to your dentist. He or she should be able to answer most of your questions about the profession, education, and lifestyle.

You can also contact the South Dakota Dental Association for more information about dentistry in South Dakota and dental schools.

South Dakota Dental Association
PO Box 1194
804 N Euclid Ave, Suite 103
Pierre, SD 57501

Additional Information

For additional information visit:

Other Careers in Dentistry

A dental team includes dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and office personnel. There are also career opportunities as a dental laboratory technician. For more information on these dental careers contact the South Dakota Dental Association, or visit the following links to the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs in South Dakota: USD Department of Dental Hygiene usd.edu

Western Dakota Tech Dental Assisting Program

Lake Area Tech Dental Assisting Program

South Dakota Department of Health
Dental Tuition Reimbursement Program
Find Degrees and Careers in Public Health
Public Health/Online MPH Degrees and Careers
Public Health Online: Pre-Professional Experience In-Depth Guide
Public Health Job Resources


Medicaid Providers Required to Provide Interpretation Services to Those with Limited English Proficiency

The enforcement of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care prohibits entities that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex.  The rule applies to Medicaid providers. Compliance requirements include requiring covered entities to "provide meaningful access to individuals with limited English proficiency" as well as providing qualified interpreters and translators. The compliance date for the notices is Oct. 16. The rest of the rule went into effect July 18.

The rule requires offices to post notices of nondiscrimination as well as taglines in the top 15 non-English languages spoken in the state indicating that free language assistance services are available.
The notices must be posted in the dental office, on the website and in any significant publications and communications. For smaller items, such as postcards and tri-fold brochures, the practice may use a shorter nondiscrimination statement and taglines in the state's top two non-English languages spoken.

This link provides the translated information offices are required to post: http://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/translated-resources/index.html.

The 15 most spoken languages (other than English) in South Dakota are German; Chinese; Karen; Vietnamese; Nepali; Serbo-Croatian; Amharic; Sudanic; Tagalog; Korean; Russian; Cushite; Ukrainian; and, French.


Medicaid providers in South Dakota have access to live translation services Delta’s language line. 


Additionally, the ADA has prepared resources to aid in compliance with the rule, including an FAQ and checklist. Visit ADA.org/1557. There are also sample materials available on the OCR's website at www.hhs.gov/ocr.