Dentist (DDS)

  • Dentist (DDS)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Dentists diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth, gums, and related oral structures.
  • Examine patients to determine conditions and diseases using x-rays and a variety of dental instruments.
  • Clean, fill, extract and replace teeth and provide preventive dental services such as instruction on proper diet, brushing and flossing as well as placing protective plastic sealants on teeth, straightening teeth, and performing corrective surgery on the gums and supportive bones to treat gum disease.
  • Most are in private practice and usually work with a Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant, and office and billing staff.
  • May be a part of a dental or medical group, or they may work in a hospital, Public Health Department, or the military.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • There is an EXTREME shortage of Dentists in Wisconsin. Soon there will be entire counties without a Dentist.
  • Dentists like helping people. Pediatric Dentists love to work with and treat children.
  • Usually enjoy prestige in the community and higher incomes.

 Education: 6-8 years

 Patient Interaction: High

 Physical Activity: Low

 Salary: $163,744

 Job Growth: High

Related Careers

Dental Assistant/Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

Dentist (DDS/DMD)

Certified Dental Technician (CDT)

Dental Laboratory Technician (DLABT)

Dental Hygienist (DH)


Getting Started

  • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
  • Helpful high school courses would include anatomy & physiology, algebra, chemistry, biology, physics, foreign language (minimum of two years), and statistics and probability.


  • Some Dental schools only require a minimum of 2 years of college level pre-Dental education. However, admission is competitive and almost all Dental students have a Bachelor’s Degree for acceptance into Dental school.
  • Dental schools are 4 years with coursework including clinical sciences, anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, histology, and physiology.
  • Marquette first- and second-year students participate in Comprehensive Patient Management Group (CPMG) activities operated as a group practice. They do simple dental procedures on patients and serve as Dental Assistants for third and fourth year students.
  • Upon completion of an accredited Dental school program students receive the degree Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or an equivalent degree, or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
  • Some Dental school graduates work for established Dentists as Associates for a year or two in order to gain experience and save money to equip an office of their own.
  • Many Dental school graduates purchase an established practice or open a new one immediately after graduation.

Educational Institutions

Marquette University

  • Most Dentists first graduate from a four-year Bachelor’s Degree program.
  • Many Bachelor’s Degree majors are acceptable preparation for admissions into Dental school as long as prerequisite courses are met.
  • However, the majority of people admitted into Dental school have an undergraduate degree in pre-dentistry studies or one of the life sciences.
  • Applicants exceed the number of students admitted into Dental school; it is VERY competitive.
  • Admission into Dental school is multi-stepped and is based on college grades, scores on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), faculty recommendations regarding the applicant’s personality and aptitude, extracurricular activities, and a personal interview.
  • At Marquette University School of Dentistry the minimum entrance requirement is 90 semester credits of liberal arts study including 16 hours of chemistry—2 courses (8 semester hours) of inorganic including lab and 2 courses (8 semester hours) of organic including lab, 8 hours of biology—zoology and comparative vertebrate anatomy preferred, 8 hours of physics including laboratory work. Three semester hours in Biochemistry taken at a four-year institution is required; laboratory work is not required. Also 6 hours of English, and 49 hours of elective courses (recommended are anatomy, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, and mathematics)
  • Students must graduate from an accredited Dental school and pass state certification examinations before they are licensed to practice.

Alliance of the American Dental Association
211 E. Chicago Avenue, Suite 730
Chicago, IL, 60611-2616
800/621-8099, Ext. 2865

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
402 W. Wilson Street
Madison, WI, 53703
608/222-8583 or 800/543-9220

American Dental Assistants Association
140 N. Bloomingdale Road
Bloomingdale, IL, 60108-1017
630/994-4247 or 877/874-3785

American Dental Association (ADA)
211 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60611-2678

American Dental Hygienists’ Association
444 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 3400
Chicago, IL, 60611

Dane County Dental Society
PO Box 6407
Madison, WI, 53716
(608) 222-8344

Dental Record
6737 W. Washington Street, Suite 2360
West Allis, WI, 53214
(800) 243-4675

Greater Milwaukee Dental Association

International College of Dentists
G3535 Beecher Road, Suite G
Flint, MI, 48532-2700

Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
211 E. Chicago Avenue, Suite 600
Chicago, IL, 60611-2637

Wisconsin Dental Association
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 2360
West Allis, WI, 53214

Wisconsin Oral Health Coalition
6737 W. Washington St., Suite 1111
West Allis, WI, 53214
(414) 337-4560


Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 1,920
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 129,000
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 152,300
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 18%
Expected Annual Openings: 4,960
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $163,744

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Dentists usually work 32 hours a week, Monday thru Friday.
  • They may be on call for emergencies.
  • Dentists can devote another two to five years of postgraduate study to their field of specialization… Endodontics, Orthodontics, Prosthodontis, Oral Surgery, Biomaterials, etc.
  • Dentists who want to teach or conduct research usually spend an additional 2 to 5 years in advanced training in programs.