A part of the journey that is involved in the path of becoming a dentist is attending dental school. We will discuss dentistry in Las Vegas, requirements, the dental board, and much more.
Las Vegas, also known simply as Vegas, is the 25th-most populous city in the United States. It is also the most populous city in Nevada. Las Vegas is home to the third-largest community college by enrollment in the United States.
Let us shift the focus to dentists, shall we? Dentists are the people who have the best interests of dental hygiene in their minds. They treat several dental issues through different methods such as extractions, fillings, and surgeries.
They administer teeth cleaning and preventative care on a regular basis to patients. They are also known as dental surgeons.
The duties of dentists can include, but are not limited to:
- The examination of the medical records of their patients.
- The preparation of their patients for treatments through the application of oral sedatives or anesthesia.
- The diagnosis of dental problems in patients.
- Identification of tooth decay and the replacement of cavities with fillings.
- Education on proper brushing and flossing techniques and also on the use of fluoride.
- Application of treatments for teeth whitening.
- Conducting the extractions of tooth and root canal procedures on patients.
- They also schedule regular check-ups for their patients to help with preventive dental care and promote overall good oral health.
Dentists usually have supporting teams that are made up of dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some situations, dental therapists.
The completion of the education required of you to become a full-fledged dentist might take around eight years. A bachelor’s degree is required, followed by a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
You should know that DMD and DDS mean the same thing. Also, you would have a solid foundation so you can pass the national and state examinations that are required of you.
There are several good dental schools that will impact you with the required knowledge and skills you would need to become a dentist in Las Vegas.
It might be hard to make a choice but there are some factors that might help in narrowing your options down such as:
- The reputation of the school.
- The school’s facilities.
- The research or the clinical focus of the school.
- The dental experiences provided by the school.
- The type of curriculum the program offers.
- The geographical location of the school.
- The school’s student body.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2020-2030, there is a projected growth of 8% in the job outlook for dentists.
This means that there is a projection of about 5,000 openings for dentists every year on average for the decade alone.
And the majority of these openings are projected to stem from the need for the replacement of workers who will transfer to other occupations or retire from the workforce.
The bulk part of the projected growth in the employment sector for dentists is a result of the pandemic that started in 2020. Covid-19 has left a void that is still trying to be filled.
The demand for dentists would not be reducing anytime soon as there is likely to be a greater need for dental care in the coming years.
Also, just so you know, the average salary a dentist can take home in Las Vegas is $211,906 per year.
Requirements To Become A Dentist in Las Vegas
Just like doctors, the requirements for dentists are also rigorous. You have to attend at least four years of additional school after obtaining your bachelor’s degree. Then you have to pass some examinations. This is before you can think of getting licensure.
In 2020, dentistry was ranked the second-best career in the U.S. by the U.S. News and World Report. The report assessed the career by looking at the salary dentists receive, how they balance work and life and the potential challenges dentists would face.
For you to become a dentist in Las Vegas, you have to be licensed in the state. For you to be licensed, you have to have gotten a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree.
You are advised to get the degree from a dental program that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Then you have to write and pass the clinical exams.
If you would prefer a specialty, it is required that you go through additional training before you can practice. But, of course, if you are good at being a general dentist, then you would not need to go through additional training.
Upon completion of your dental education, you would have to be licensed in the state you want to work in. Most States require you to pass the National Board of Dental Examinations and a state or regional clinical examination in addition to your degree.
And yes, if you would prefer to practice in a specialty, you must get a license in that specialty.
Dentistry in Las Vegas: The Dental Board in Las Vegas
As you know, we can’t talk about dentistry in Las Vegas without talking about the dental board. Las Vegas is a city in the state of Nevada, this means that they are under the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners.
This board grants dentists in Las Vegas their licenses to practice in the state. It also has the responsibility of investigating any suspected case of misconduct by licensees and then imposing discipline.
A part of its mission statement is to “appropriately sanction violators of the laws in regards to the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene professionals”.
The members of the Board are eleven in total. They include:
- Six dentists.
- Three dental hygienists.
- One member is a representative of dentists who provide care for the poor.
- One member is a non-dentist who represents the general public.
For a dentist or hygienist to be eligible as a member of the board, he/she has to have been practicing in Nevada for five years and above.
The board has a meeting every month, at least once. The discussions from these meetings are posted online. You can check that out here.
Some actions can trigger disciplinary investigations or even actions from the board. You can take a look at some of the examples here.
Also, you can take a look at the regulations for dental and hygiene professionals. They are all codified in NRS Chapter 631.
Requirements For Dental Schools in Las Vegas
The requirements to gain admission into a dental school in Las Vegas vary from school to school. You are therefore advised to always check the official website of the school to confirm.
There are some general requirements, that are common across several schools, they are:
- As an applicant, you would have to complete some courses or the equivalent of those courses that are approved to study dentistry in universities.
Remember to confirm the courses from the school’s official website as they might vary.
- You have to gain a minimum GPA. Some schools would require a GPA of 3.0 in the last 30 hours of the science courses. But you should confirm with the school.
- You would be required to take a test called the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The test, alongside other factors, is used to admit students into dental programs.
If you do not pass the test three times in a row, you would require special permission to be able to take the test after that.
You should study well before taking the test to avoid that. Some tips to help you prepare for the test are:
- Focus on the areas that you find to be most challenging for you.
- Take practice exams. This will help you understand the structure of the test and get familiar with it. There are many resources online that offer free practice exams.
- Make sure you arrive early at the test center. This will help you relax before the exam time.
- Some schools might require you to submit letters of evaluation.
Dental Schools in Las Vegas
- UNLV School of Dental Medicine:
UNLV School of Dental Medicine provides oral health education that is world-class. The school is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
The dental school has the belief that a life of learning will enhance the quality of care given to patients. It will also improve the personal and professional success of dentists.
The school has a history of providing advanced educational programs that are of top-notch quality and are competitive.
You can take a look at the tuition fee here.
- Las Vegas Dental Assistant School – Charleston:
Las Vegas Dental Assistant School – Charleston was established so students will have the chance to become Dental Assistants.
They can do this without the stress of student debts or many years of schooling. They are offered affordable tuition and payment plans that are flexible. The school provides students with all the skills and training they would need.
The school offers online and hybrid courses that consist of combined pre-recorded lectures, online learning, and hands-on laboratory skills. The hands-on training is carried out in a dentist’s office to help students practice and remember the things they learned.
The externship program the school offers provides students with an experience of the real world. An experience they would need to become qualified dental assistants. Students are encouraged to source for their externships.
Take a look at the tuition costs of the school here.
- College of Southern Nevada (CSN):
College of Southern Nevada has a dental hygiene program that features a dental hygiene clinic that is contemporary. It is equipped with up-to-date equipment and classrooms that offer state-of-the-art visual equipment.
The faculty members are dental and dental hygiene professionals who are highly qualified in clinical and academic experience. They also have a background that is diverse and rich.
This program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is an accrediting body that is recognized by the United States Department of Education.
You can check out the details of the school’s cost of attendance here.
- Carrington College – Las Vegas:
Carrington College – Las Vegas can be a great help for you in starting your career in healthcare. Here, you get to receive a quality education that will help you work towards your choice of an associate degree or certificate-level education.
The college is a small one that will allow you to get the attention you need. The instructors try to make the teaching as practical as possible. So the students get the working experience even in the classroom.
The dental assisting program is designed to provide students with hands-on training. This training makes use of the same technologies and processes that are used in the field. This would help students build their confidence in the real world.
This program was designed with the intention of helping its students connect with the healthcare community outside the school. This is achieved through clinical rotations or internships with these communities while they are still in school.
All in all, the dental assisting program offered by Carrington College prepares students for employment in entry-level in dental offices in as short as nine months.
- Northwest Career College:
Northwest Career College is an institution that is located in Las Vegas. It is private and for-profit. The highest degree offered at the school is an associate degree.
The school had a Dental Assistant Technical School that allows students to become Dental Assistants. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Dental Assistants are integral in dental practice. One might say they are “the beating heart of any dental practice.”
Students can earn degrees that will allow them to join the rapidly expanding job market of dentistry. These students are provided with in-depth knowledge, Dental Assistant training that is advanced and important soft skills.
The school also offers its students the chance to learn under professionals that have been seasoned over the years in the dental world. Also, it has an option for online training.
You can access the breakdown of the tuition fee for each course here.
Is It Hard To Become A Dentist?
For you to become a dentist in Las Vegas, the process is quite challenging.
It includes applying to dental school which involves a competitive process; years of required schooling; tuition fees for the education, and the ups and downs of setting up a dental practice.
But all these will be worth it when you are on a career path that gives you so much. You can read more on this here.
Is Dental School Harder Than Med School?
They are both hard. In fact, one can say they both have the same level of difficulty.
This is when their courses and disciplines are compared. Although, dental schools offer practical courses much earlier than medical schools.
How Long Is A Dentistry Degree?
A degree in dentistry usually takes eight years to complete. The first four years are for the student to earn a bachelor’s degree as an undergraduate.
The other four years are for the student to earn a DDS or a DMD from a dental school. If you would want to specialize, you would need additional training.
What Is A Dental Degree Called?
A dental degree can be called either Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS degree) or a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD degree).
Don’t fret, they are one and the same. Both degrees make use of the same curriculum requirements. Any Dentist with a DMD has the same degree as a dentist with a DDS.
It is the choice of the university to decide what degree they want to award to their students.
Is Being A Dentist Hard?
Being a dentist can be very challenging. Just like every profession, dentistry has its positives and negatives.
Part of the negatives is that the profession is a physically demanding one. Dentists are required to perform precise and tedious work in an area that is so small.
They have to use their hands and eyes and keep them focused on the small area for a lengthy amount of time. This is just one.
Just like we mentioned above, being a dentist is hard with its negatives. But the negatives are covered by the positives.
One such positive is that dentistry is a very stable career and there will always be a demand for a dentist. let us know what you think about dentistry in Las Vegas. Please leave your suggestions below.
So, if you have decided this is the road you want to take, do not lose courage. Go for it. We wish you the best!