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Your Practice Options

The dental profession offers a variety of practice options. The dentist may choose general dentistry or dental specialties. He / she may establish his / her own private practice or work as an employed dentist for another dentist or a public or private agency or institution. The dentist may choose solo or group practice or work with other health professionals. Career opportunities are also available in the armed forces. Some dentists serve as administrators or public health practitioners. Dental research or education offers further career opportunities to dentists.

Starting a New Practice

General Practice

Mostly dentists work as general practitioners- restoring damaged or missing tooth and provide preventative oral health care.

Speciality Practice

After getting a dental degree one can opt for specialisation in a field which requires 3 or 4 years of additional study and training. The following outlines the dental specialties:

  • Dental Public Health treats the community rather than the individual as a patient.
  • Endodontics deals with the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases of the pulp and other dental tissues.
  • Oral Pathology is concerned with diseases which affect the oral mucous membranes as well as other tissues which surround the teeth.
  • Oral Surgery includes diagnostic, operative and related services dealing with diseases, injuries and jaw defects and of associated structures.
  • Orthodontics is the science of tooth and oral structure development. The orthodontist treats problems related to irregular dental development, missing teeth and other abnormalities in order to establish normal functioning and appearance.
  • Paediatric Dentistry deals with the diagnosis and treatment of children, adolescents and young adults whose dental development is not complete.
  • Periodontics deals with the treatment of the soft and hard tissues.
  • Prosthodontics is the science and art of replacing missing natural teeth and associated structures with fixed or removable substitutes.
  • Oral Medicine & Radiology deals with various drugs that treat the oral and related disorders/diseases inclusive of the study of the diseases. Radiology is the study of the X rays and other diagnostic techniques using radiation, for the study of dental, oral and related disorders.

Solo/Private Practice

Private practice in solo mode, implies starting from "scratch" with a small staff.

  • Strict autonomy: You are the boss, it's your call to undertake financial risks and make decisions. There is no loss of identity in a private practice, that you may face in a partnership, group or merger.
  • Timings: You can work as per your convenience.
  • Income: There is no income security. There is a initial "lull" period till the dentist name is established.
  • Skills: Dentistry requires diagnostic ability and manual skills. Dentists should have good visual memory; excellent judgment regarding space, shape and colour; a high degree of manual dexterity and scientific ability. Good business sense, self- discipline and good communication skills are must for success.
  • Role: Dentists in private practice oversee a variety of administrative tasks, including book-keeping and the buying of equipment and supplies. They may employ and supervise dental assistants, technicians and receptionists.


Associate Employee

A dentist on hire by an organisation with or without practice becomes an associate employee of the institution. The job involves diagnosing and treating patients assigned to him during the tenure. The employer is solely responsible for the payment, policies, etc. to the individual.

The individual is treated as any other employee in the institution. The associate employee has no authority into decision making of any kind. He has to abide by the rules and regulations.This may be a contract for a time-duration. The associate is not entitled to any employee benefits or retirement policies of any kind. It is crucial for an individual to prepare a legal document before becoming an associate employee.


Dental practice in a hospital is regarded as institutional practice. It is generally termed as a ‘9-5 job’. A dentist earns a specific income from the very first month of practice. He has no financial risks nor requires capital investments. Institutional practitioners are also entitled to various employee benefits including retirement plans.

The dentist is an employee of the institution and has no involvement in decision making. In a government job one may earn less salary than the one at institution, but has job- security. The dentists has no control over patient care or organisational goals. One must be prepared for transfers to remote and extreme locations.

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Indian Dental Association
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