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Starting A Dental Practice: General Or Specialist — Which Is Best For You?

Part of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry.  Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.

As they start looking at their careers (and how they want to develop them), many dental students begin weighing whether or not it would be better to have a general dentistry practice or to concentrate on a specialty.

Female dentistThere are advantages to each option, and it is important to study each one in order to have a solid plan before starting a dental practice.

The demand for general dentistry continues to grow, and many new dentists will find they can be successful in general dentistry from the moment they leave school. Developing a practice in general dentistry is aided by the fact that virtually everyone needs general dental care, and even in cities with established dentists, there are locations where a new dentist can do well. General dentistry requires less training than a specialty, and graduates can get through school faster and begin earning an income to pay off school loans more quickly.

Specialties, however, are more lucrative in the long run. Currently, the American Dental Association recognizes nine specialty areas of practice: Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Peridontics, Prosthodontics, and Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

There is more training involved with specialties, both in dental school and in keeping abreast of new procedures and technologies after graduation, but specialists typically have patient loads that compensation for the extra investment. Many of their patients are referred by general dentistry practices.

Many practices may ultimately combine both options, as Charlotte Dentistry does with general dentistry, where our general practice dentists have successfully completed extensive specialized training in Orthodontics, Prosthodontics and Endodontics. This has allowed us to continue building our practice and given us opportunities to better serve patients who need specialized care at one familiar location.

If you would like to learn more, use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.

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