Public Health Dentist

Help underserved communities get the dental care they need.
picture of Public Health Dentist

Quick Stats

Salary Range
~ $141,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Public Health Dentists do?

You know what a Dentist does: they clean teeth, perform mouth surgery, cure oral diseases, and teach patients how to care for their teeth. So what does a Public Health Dentist do? The same things, but you work with underserved populations.

You help out homeless people, kids living beneath the poverty line, or those in rural areas. In addition to basic dentistry work, Public Health Dentists can also help create policies that improve the dental health of entire counties or cities.

Instead of working in private practice and seeing patients who pay you through private insurance companies, Public Health Dentists work out in the field. You might travel to health clinics that serve those who don’t have health insurance, or go to rural areas where people don’t have regular access to a Dentist. You might also visit schools to educate kids on how to clean and care for their teeth, or carry out research to find out what dental issues your city faces.

If you don’t want to work on teeth, there’s another option for you. Lawmakers need help deciding what the city’s policies should be on different oral issues. You use research, whether done by yourself or others, to figure out what the biggest problems in the area are.

Say, for example, you find that more and more kids are going to the Dentist with cavities. You come up with solutions (say, by putting fluoride in the water supply), and then advocate turning them into law.

Should I be a Public Health Dentist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.

  • How to become a Public Health Dentist

    Most Public Health Dentists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=||||master%27s+%281%25%29|doctorate+%2899%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,99
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