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Different Types of Dentists and Job Opportunities

Dentists are doctors that diagnose and treat problems involving teeth, tissues in the mouth, and gums. Dentists are also responsible for promoting health eating and brushing habits to their clients, along with the importance of flossing and the use of fluoride. Employment growth in dentists is expected to be faster than in average jobs, and job prospects for dentists are expected to good, due largely to the large amount of dentists expected to retire in the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, there are several different types of dentists that can specialize in a number of different areas.

The most common type of dentists are orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Orthodontists, which account for the largest group of specialists, work with and correct misaligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists commonly recommend the use of braces and brackets or other headgear to fix problems with alignment in the mouth. Oral and maxillofacial dentists are surgeons that operate on the mouth, jaws, teeth, and gums. They correct diseases, illnesses, and injuries in these areas, and commonly perform procedures such as the removal of teeth, correct jaw and cheek fractures, and perform reconstructive surgery. Prosthodontists replace missing teeth with permanent teeth and work with dentures, crowns, and bridges in the mouth. There are also pediatric dentists, which specifically work on children and patients with special needs.

The average median salary of dentists in general in 2008 was $142,870. Salaries of dentists can vary greatly due to experience, location, and the specialty in which they practice. Additionally, as a whole, dentist employment growth is expected to be faster than the average job. Orthodontists are expected to see a growth of 20% by 2018, adding about 1,500 jobs, while oral and maxillofacial surgeons are expected to increase by 15%, adding more than 1,000 jobs. In addition, prosthodontists are expected to see a 28% growth in employment, with over 100 new job openings, as these specialists are not very common.

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