This question may receive some groans from dentists themselves (let’s remember that dentists have fillings too), but many people are not certain so let’s get to the root of it!
A Dentist’s Education vs A Physician’s
Simply put, yes dentists are doctors. Are they the same as a physician? No, but there’s a lot of crossover between the two. Both professions require a four year degree once a bachelor’s is completed, but a physician will also need to complete a residency program after they graduate before they can begin to practice.
Dentist do not have to do this. Once they have graduated and passed the required certification tests they can begin to practice. However, if a dentist would like to specialize in a specific area of dentistry, they would be required to complete a postgraduate program which may add years to their time in school.
If a dentist does decide to specialize they could be looking at up to a total of 14 years of schooling! Physicians can be in school for even longer if they too specialize. Not only that but both professions require continuing education so that they are up-to-date on everything that is going on in their part of the medical world.
It’s safe to say that both professions attract serious, intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated individuals. They most likely also share the same flossify regarding patient care and wanting what is best for whomever they treat.
Let’s Break It Down
A general physician can typically treat the whole body, while a dentist is specialized in oral health. However, a dentist is educated on the entire human body because of their extensive schooling. This doesn’t mean that they can treat you if you say have diabetes, but it does mean that they can easily connect the dots between your gum disease and your blood sugar levels.
Many people would assume that a medical physician would always make more than a dentist. This isn’t actually true. Family physicians and lower-tier specialists may actually make less than some dentists. The average annual salary for a dentist in the U.S. has a wide range but is not too shabby if you ask me!
So the next time you’re at the dentist, know that you are in the hands of a real doctor. I’ll leave you with a dentist joke – What does the dentist of the year get? A little plaque! If you have a dentist pun I missed or just a comment to make, please leave one below!