About Our Profession

The dental profession has undergone great evolution. From its original days as a technical trade, dentistry has evolved into a profession which is the leader of the oral health care team. Like physicians, dentists are primary care providers and are critical to the overall wellness of patients.

Today's patients are more sophisticated, better informed, and personally involved in the decision-making pertaining to their health. As oral health experts, dentists help patients not only understand the relationship between their oral health and overall health, but help to maintain and improve their quality of life and appearance by diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the teeth, tongue, gums, lips and jaws.

Careers in Dentistry

Dentistry is a rewarding career in which practitioners combine knowledge of science and technology with helping patients enhance and maintain their oral health.

Today's dentist serves the public in many ways - by providing an essential community health service, by educating the public and by doing useful research.

Dentists are oral health specialists. They are on the front line when it comes to detecting and providing appropriate treatment for many diseases affecting the teeth, tongue, gums, lips and jaws.

Dental specialists are involved in restorations, cosmetic enhancements and a wide range of clinical preventative activities.

Over the years, dentists have also been active in the promotion of a variety of community-based preventative programs, such as community water fluoridation and oral cancer screenings.

Advancements in oral health over the last 40 years mean that a growing number of older adults are keeping their teeth longer. Dentistry continues to evolve to meet the needs of a changing population and provide new treatments.

The graduates of Canadian dental schools are more representative of the national population than ever before. Women represent approximately 50 percent of the students entering dental faculties, and the cultural and ethic diversity of Canada is well represented.


The majority of Ontario's more than 8,000 licensed dentists are general practitioners. The others are dental specialists who limit their practice to one of nine recognized specialities in Ontario: Public Health Dentist, Endodontist, Oral Pathologist, Oral Surgeon, Orthodontist, Pedodontist, Periodontist, Radiologist and Prosthodontist.

General practitioners must complete four years of dental studies at a university before they pass the necessary examinations to receive a Doctor in Dental Surgery (DDS) degree or Docteur en Medecine Dentaire (DMD).

To be licensed as a dental specialist, two or more years of additional studies in a specialty program are required after the completion of four years of dental school.

Career Options

The majority of dentists are self-employed, providing graduates with an opportunity to be their own boss and own a dental practice.

Other dentists may work in public health dentistry, including community agencies and those serving northern and aboriginal communities.