With the large number of people living with one oral disfunction or the other, a lot relating to unhealthy gums and teeth, the need for professionals with the requisite knowledge to help treat and care for people with these cases cannot be emphasized.
A career in the area of dentistry becomes a wonderful choice especially if you have a special fascination for the teeth and would love to help others care for theirs.
In this article, we are not just going to be walking you through the steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta, we will also shed light on the peculiarities of the processes involved in becoming a dentist in Alberta, Canada.
Who is a Dentist?
Before we dive into the steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta, you should be acquainted with what a dentist represents, and the associated job role.
A Dentist is a person trained with the knowledge on how to care for a person’s oral health, and hygiene. In most cases, they are put through rigorous academic studies and clinical practices before they are certified.
For a Dentist who just graduated from his program to practice or be absorbed by any accredited health care institution, he or she must be licensed.
Some defined activities Dentist engage in on most workdays include;
- Engaging in Dental health education and orientation programs
- Cavity filling
- Separating bacterial buildup and decay from the teeth
- Detaching damaged teeth, to avoid bacterial spread.
- Introducing anaesthesia before every dental procedure
- X-ray evaluation of gums, teeth, and the mouth for proper diagnosis.
- Monitoring teeth growth, especially of infants.
Determining Factors to Becoming a Dentist
There are three basic factors/requirements that validate one’s claim with regard to becoming a dentist. Without the following one cannot accord himself such a title or responsibility;
Achieving a Doctorate in Dentistry
It takes about four years of academic study in a dental school and receiving a Doctorate in Dentistry to actually become a dentist.
And the depending on the particular institution, you can be awarded either of these doctoral degrees;
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
- Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
It doesn’t really matter which is awarded to you, as they both have a similar curriculum and course work, neither is the skills to be gained any different from the other.
The only distinguishing factor is the school itself. A Dentist with DDS has the same qualifications and will be valued the same way as a Dentist with DMD, and vice versa.
However, you must make sure you check that the school you are applying to is well accredited to teach and graduate students in Dentistry.
Meanwhile, it is worthy of note that you cannot apply to a dental school without first of all earning a bachelor’s degree in a related course like chemistry, or biology with at least a 3.2 GPA.
To practice Dentistry in Alberta, you will need to have the requisite license to do that. Alberta requires aspiring Dentists to do the following;
- Earn a Doctorate in Dentistry
- Pass the Written Exam
- Pass the Clinical Exam
It would be very illegal to go on to practice Dentistry without appropriate licensure from Alberta’s issuing body. Alberta’s Dental board has comprehensive information concerning all the requirements needed, you may want to keep up with them to find out more.
As already said above, you must have completed a four years course in dentistry from an accredited institution.
The second part is coming out successful in the two-part written examinations administered by the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE). This is usually taken at any time during the last two years of dental school.
The final requirement involves administering care to a live patient, this exam helps to validate and also evaluate the individual’s readiness to take on the responsibilities of the job role he is about to take on as a lifetime endeavour.
When all these are successfully met, you are then qualified for a license to practice.
Continued Education in Chosen Specialty
While it is not strange to find a lot of dentists who are general dentist practitioners, some others by choice or interest decide to pick a defined area of study in dentistry such as Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
This desire would always require some more levels of academic work and residency, to gain full mastery in that area of specialization.
For every specialty, there are distinct Licenses that one must have in other to practice legally, hence, it is required that you check to National Board for information regarding your proposed area of specialty.
Definitive Full Step Guide On How To Become a Dentist in Alberta
To ensure no one is left out, we are going to be as thorough as possible. So regardless of where you are at right now in your level of study, you should be a be find your level appropriately represented here.
We will go over the required steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta, from the high school level, College level, and Dental school levels.
The Steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta, starting from High school
I know right, you think it’s strange to actually start preparing to become a dentist from a high school level, but it sure promises a person of giant leap and advantage if he starts this early to get ready.
Here are some of the requirements for this level.
1. Have a Profound knowledge of science and maths in High school
Because the field of Dentistry requires a profound knowledge of high-level maths and science, you are expected to do exceptionally well in related subjects. It wouldn’t hurt to add a few advanced versions of these subjects, this is to enable you to gain deep knowledge on each of these subjects.
Of course, you really do not want to mess up your GPA by collating courses you know you do not have a great interest in. Do well to ensure to take advanced versions of courses you are sure you’d do exceptionally well at.
2. Ensure you Bombard Dentists around you with smart questions
If you’ve got braces on, you must know a dentist. Even if you do not have one on, you sure get to visit a dentist quite often.
You must ensure that you utilize all of those visits to the dentist, and ask them a lot of smart questions.
You can ask questions like;
- What inspired their choice of career
- Challenges they face every day as dentists
- Their advice to you
You get the drift now right? Satisfy all of your curiosities.
3. Job shadowing
Job shadowing is a word used to describe the act of being around a particular professional, observing their daily job-related activities, and also learning what and how they do what they do.
To job shadow a Dentist, you will need access to a Dentist near you. During that one day or one week period depending on how much access you get, you will be privileged to observe and monitor all of the activities a Dentist engages in.
You will really learn a lot doing so.
4. Submit College Applications that are Outstanding
As you may have already heard, a lot of schools make it really tough for unserious students to get in, it is therefore imperative that you make your application as outstanding as you possibly can. Here are a few tips to ensure your application stands out;
- Get a very good GPA
- Ensure you were involved in a lot of extracurricular activities
- Submit very catchy personal statements.
Just to add, your personal statement is the best opportunity you have got to appeal to those in charge of admission processes in your school of choice. So do well to submit something that sells you off as a very smart and valuable person.
Steps on how to become a Dentist in Alberta, starting from College:
Now you’ve successfully scaled through the hurdles of high school, now is the time to take as many steps as you can to help you align with the possibility of actualizing your dreams of becoming a Dentist in Alberta.
The following are continual steps you must take at this stage;
Irrespective of the course of study or the institution you chose, ensure you take as many science and health-related courses as possible.
Of course, this is to help you get grounded in the topics that concern health and science as it relates to dental care. Also, ensure you do well at them. Many schools have course advisors, people you can consult for guidance to know the combinations of courses you will be needing.
Meanwhile, here are a few of the courses you must excel at;
- Biology (including lab work)
- Chemistry (including lab work)
- Organic chemistry
All of these are expected to prepare you for the kind of knowledge you will be exposed to in dental school.
One of the fastest ways to grow and expand one’s knowledge base is to be a part of a community of like minds. This helps for knowledge exchange.
How else will you know of new and modified systems in your profession, if you do not relate occasionally with other professionals?
Do well to find these associations in Alberta, and commit to being an active member.
7. Prepare to ace your DAT
DAT is the short form for Dental Admission Test, this is a test taken by all those who intend to apply to dental school.
Without acing your DAT no dental school will admit you. You know what that means right?
So you must do all you can to ensure you do very well in the exam.
8. Apply to Dental school
The end of all these is that you get into a dental school where your dreams of becoming a dentist in Alberta can be accomplished.
You should keep in mind that, your application process will be evaluated based on the following;
- Your GPA
- Recommendations from Science or health professors
- Successful interviews
- DAT score
If all of that is done then, you’re ready for the next stage.
Steps on how to become a Dentist in Alberta, starting from Dental school:
Now you are at the final lap. You have successfully gained a spot as a dental school student, your dreams are about to come through, of course by now you already know dental school lasts for four years during which you will be exposed to both classroom work and clinical learning experiences.
Here are some more steps to take at this stage to help you seal your chances;
9. Become a community-driven person
Since most of your life will be dedicated to seeing that the health conditions of people get improved, you may as well start learning this from now.
By relating with people, you’d learn empathy, and other soft skills required to excel in this line of duty. Also joining movements, health movements geared at community health is something you may want to be a part of.
Continue to volunteer for community-based health outreaches. Get used to being around meeting the needs of people around you.
10. Decide which area of Dentistry appeals most to you, just in case you choose to specialize
Specialization comes with its own perks and you may like to explore all of that, so this stage is when you should do your due diligence in seeking out and researching all the individual areas of specialization that there are.
This will save a lot of mental stress in the future.
11. Ace the National Board Dental Examination
You don’t want to go through all these rigours without completing one of the major hurdles to becoming a licensed practitioner.
Hence, the need to prepare and excel in this exam.
12. Prepare to ace the Clinical Examination
The clinical examination is the final step on the steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta. You will be seating for it after dental school and it would follow the part 1 and 2 NBDE exams.
This stage validates all of your theoretical knowledge. If you scale through this then congratulations you have qualified to be a Licensed Dentist in Alberta.
Conclusion on the steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta
Having seen the steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta, it is important to note that general dentistry is important to maintaining the health of your smile as well as your overall health.
Unaddressed tooth decay or gum disease can lead to infections and other conditions that can put your entire body at risk for health issues. Becoming a dentist is great, therefore ensure you take these steps on how to become a dentist in Alberta assiduously.