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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

Dental Specialties

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Recently at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, we had a panel of guest speakers come to talk to us about the different specialty options out there that we can pursue after we graduate. Currently, there are nine recognized dental specialties, including dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral and maxillofacial radiology, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Each guest represented a different specialty, and they each gave us the pros and cons of going into one specialty or another. The lecture was very interesting. I’ve always been open to the idea of specializing, but I never really took into account all of the different aspects of it! Some factors that I would want to take into consideration before choosing to pursue a specialty is location…are there programs in my specialty of interest in the state/area that I want to be in? You can find out where certain programs are by going to this link: http://www.ada.org/en/coda/find-a-program/search-dental-programs#t=us&sort=%40codastatecitysort%20ascending. Also, I would want to consider whether the program charges tuition or pays a stipend. I find it odd that some choose to have the student pay whereas others pay the student, but considering the amount of debt I will be in after dental school, getting paid a stipend, even if it is far less than my expected salary, would be great! Also, and most importantly, if I were to specialize, I would want to make sure that that specialty is something I am truly interested in. Since I am still a second-year dental student, I haven’t been exposed to all of the specialties yet. And even when I am exposed to those specialties during my third-year clerkships, I do not think that will be enough time for me to truly decide whether a certain specialty is right for me. I would advise dental students to volunteer in a specialty clinic that they are interested in during their free times and breaks from school or to take an elective course in that specialty if available. There are a lot of options to choose from when deciding what to do after graduation. I look forward to exploring these specialties further and hopefully finding my niche!