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BBC Website for Kids
Dr. Craig McDonald
1. Can you explain to young people what is a dentist?
A dentist is a doctor of the mouth. A dentist helps people to take care of their teeth for eating, talking and smiling. There are family dentists who see all p a tients and can do many procedures and there are dental specialists who pe r form only a specific treatment: oral surgery, braces/orthodontics, root canals, children’s dentistry.
2. What is the best part about your job?
I would say the best part about my job is helping people improve the look of their teeth and smile.
3. What are the most difficult aspects about your job?
Many people are afraid to have dental treatment and wait too long to seek care. This makes it harder to help them. A good dentist can gain a person’s trust and calm them.
4. What necessary skills/ degrees are needed to become a dentist?
You need a four year college degree, including courses in the sciences. You then need to go to dental school for several more years. You need good manual dexterity and eye-hand coordination. You need attention to detail, ability to communicate clearly and work closely with people.
5. What suggestions would you have for young people who might be interested in becoming a dentist?
See if you can spend a few afternoons with your dentist observing the variety of procedures done and how an office operates.
6. Where can you work in your career?
Most dentists have their own office/ business, alone or with other dentists. There are also clinics in hospitals, health centers and prisons where dentists are needed.
7. Describe a recent day on the job.
I’m a general dentist so I usually do a variety of procedures each day. Today I saw three people for exam and cleanings, extracted unrepairable teeth for two patients, worked on fitting dentures for two people with missing teeth, did fillings to repair decayed teeth for three patients, did checkup exams and treatment plans for five people.
8. What got you interested in your career choice?
My father was a dentist and I got to spend a great deal of time in his office. It was always in the back of my mind as an option.
9. Did anything in your school help spark an interest as well?
I was always interested in science and medicine. I also loved to work with my hands, woodworking and with mechanical things. I considered a number of careers while in college, but dentistry included most of the areas I enjoyed.
Note: Illustration from WPClipart.com