Being a dentist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, comes with many perks. The average dentist has many career paths from running a private practice, public health dentistry, academic dentistry, international Health care, and hospital dentistry. A dentist can also enroll as a researcher for scientific discoveries. [4:15 minutes to read]
With over 1000 dental specialists in Fort Lauderdale, the state is equipped with several hospitals that offer premium services to their customers. The job outlook for dentists is bound to increase by 33% from 2012 to 2022 making the dental profession one of the most lucrative in the market.
The dentist’s primary responsibilities and duties consist of performing preventive, maintenance, or treatment of the teeth and gums. The dentist seeks to educate the patient on the proper tooth and gum care, reducing infection chances. Dentists also perform reconstructive surgeries to correct defects in the tooth or gums.
However, how does an individual become a dentist in Florida?
Qualifications and requirements
Being a dentist requires a doctorate in Dentistry from an accredited school with a good GPA. After graduating, the student must then take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) at least a year before joining the dental school, as recommended by the American Dental Association. The DAT scores should be excellent, and the student must work with a dentist to get excellent recommendation letters. These will facilitate entry to dental school, coupled with the required science degrees and courses needed for an application.
The dental school program includes four years, broken down into two years of coursework and two years of clinical training. Every dental school has its training method to ensure the dentists have the same qualifications for practice in the field. After completing the training, the student becomes a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
Additional tests from the National Board of Dental Examinations (NBDE), the Florida Laws and rules examination, and the ADEX dental licensing examination are required to attain the license required to practice in Fort Lauderdale.
After completing the examinations, one can choose a specialty in various dental fields such as pediatric dentistry and orthodontists. As 20% of dentists in the U.S are specialists, these additional qualifications require additional training for up to six years, depending on the area of practice. A certified dentist in the Fort Lauderdale region requires a minimum of 1200 hours a year.
For licensing and registration, the dentist must apply thirty days before expiry to enable the Florida board of dentistry to review the application in the same number of days and approve if the following requirements are met:
- The required fee for license renewal with all required permits
- A completed application for renewal
- A completed financial responsibility form
- Current place of practice
- Verification of current status
For dentists who have been dormant or out of practice for a while and wish to renew their license, they should apply for reactivation, dependent on the necessary educational requirements. Additional fees are also charged for such requests as they require the board to remove the licensee from the delinquent list. Reactivation licensees require the reactivation form and proof of continuing education credits.
Average earnings of a dentist
Most dentists in Florida earn an hourly minimum of $64.36, with a minimum of $133,862 a year. The average dentist in Fort Lauderdale earns an income in the range of $235,833 a year. This average income is dependent on educational qualifications and years of practice. For instance, the higher the years of practice, the more experienced a dentist is, thus the higher the income. Dentists with excellent performance reports also tend to attract higher salaries.
Despite the above-average income dentists earn, they also enjoy various benefits, including health insurance, visa and green card sponsorship, loan assistance and payment programs as well as flexible schedules depending on their employment type.
A specialized dentist like orthodontists can earn a minimum wage of about $190,456 annually, a Chief Dental Officer earning a minimum of $144,371, and a dental surgeon $280,518 annually.
With the rising advancements in technology and the recent cases of Covid -19 pandemic, dentists in Fort Lauderdale are embracing new systems of teledentistry to communicate with their clients, avoiding the congregation of patients. This enables patients to communicate with the dentist on a one on one basis and get an evaluation before the actual appointment.
Most dentist centers accept most dental insurance plans, for instance, Care Credit, Credit cards such as Master cards, VISA, Discover, and American Express. As Medicaid does not offer dental benefits, there are healthcare financial companies that offer financing in dental procedures for adults with minimal or no interest rates.
Being a dentist requires the doctor to measure success by the patient’s long term health. This requires the right procedures to assure healthcare quality, making them come back and refer to others. Therefore, dentists acquire skills in oral health with the required certification, making them conversant in specialist equipment. Dentists should have hand dexterity and good eyesight to be able to diagnose their patients effectively.
Dentists should have cognitive-communication skills to communicate with their patients and advise on the best course of treatment. This also enables the patient to be open and receptive to treatment in the presence of a warm, caring, and attentive dentist.