When you go to the dentist for a checkup, have your teeth cleaned, or check up on a potential issue, you are likely to first get in a dental hygienist chair. If there is a problem – your dental hygienist will call in a dentist.
There are many similarities when comparing the two careers, but dentists have additional responsibilities and fields of expertise. A dentist will use the information and data collected by a dental hygienist, set up a treatment plan, and carry out procedures such as fillings, dental surgery, and repairs.
These two professions – a dental hygienist and a dentist, can be easy to confuse as they often overlap. In this article, we are going to focus on how to get your dream dentist job by writing a great dentist’s resume.
Check out our tips, examples, and full resume sample and start writing your top-notch dentist resume.
Resume objective for dentists
If you choose to include it, the resume objective is your opportunity to show something beyond just your credentials. When a hiring manager is looking through a pile of applications, all dentists will have pretty much the same credentials and certifications. A well-written resume objective is a chance to stand out.
What is it about you that makes you the obvious choice? You could be the best dentist in the country, but if all applicants have similar training and educational background – why should the hiring manager call you?
We are eventually going to list certifications and other merits required to be a dentist in the United States, but first, let’s focus on what kind of dentist you are.
Write your resume objective with a mix of qualifications, personality traits, and experience to win the hiring manager over, and motivate them to want to continue reading.
Committed dentist with over 12 years of dentistry experience. Dedicated to providing top-quality oral care, passionate about dental health education, friendly, and always eager to listen to the patient’s needs and concerns. Specialized in combating dentist fear and anxiety.
Resume skills for dentists
Being a dentist is no easy job, and it involves being on your feet for the larger part of the day. You need physical stamina, the strength to lift and move equipment, a dedication to the profession, and excellent precision.
Use the skill section to show your compassion for others, a desire to aid and educate, professionalism, and problem-solving skills. Also, mention a set of hard skills such as radiography experience, oral prophylaxis procedures, restorative treatments, implants, and cosmetic procedures.
It is not enough to say, “I am a dentist,” and to stand out among other applicants – you need to be specific regarding what you can do and about your skills.
A tip is to look at the job posting you are responding to. The job post will have specific keywords to indicate what the dentist clinic is looking for, and it can give you valuable information regarding how to write your resume.
A job post might mention that they are looking for a responsible, goal-oriented, and dedicated dentist, or perhaps they are more interested in your hard skills like experience with specific computer systems, fluoride applications, or digital x-rays.
Use what you can from the job post when listing your skills, but due to the nature of dentist work, where a person’s oral health will be at the tip of your fingers, you need to make sure not to exaggerate or be untruthful. Only list the skills you actually possess.
Professional | Compassionate | Excellent hand-eye coordination | CPR & DEA certified | Team leader | Experienced with radiography | Communicative | Methodical | Strong work ethics
Dentist work experience
Experience talks, as they say, and a dentist’s work experience section will most likely be scrutinized before a hiring manager decides to offer an interview. Dentists are carefully trained in school and during the process of certification, but there is nothing like real, raw work experience.
Many dentists with little work experience opt for doing volunteer work to boost their work experience section, and this is something worth looking into if you feel you are missing out on all the best job opportunities.
Dentistry is about so much more than just work. Many dentists feel a true calling and a will to help those in need with their dental care, which is another reason why many dentists choose to volunteer with charity organizations enhance their resume or as a side project.
When you are putting together your dentist CV, list only your experience working as a dentist, at a dental clinic or in a medical field.
This is one of the jobs where it isn’t relevant if you have worked at a supermarket, in a surf shop, or at a local bakery – the hiring manager just wants to know if you have dentist work experience.
Sample Work Experience
Show That Smile Dental Services, Seattle, WA
Dentist, 2014 – 2020
Provided dental services to over 3,000 clients every year, and worked closely with a team of five dentists, three dental hygienists, two assistants, and additional staff. Carried out both restorative- and preventive treatments.
- Developed a program to help those with severe dental care anxiety or “dentist phobia,” which resulted in 83.6% of the participants seeking care more frequently.
- Often explicitly requested by patients who would not let anyone else work on their teeth.
- Introduced new and welcoming interior design concepts to the reception area, which customers reported made them feel more at ease.
- Delegated work tasks between myself, the dental assistant, and other staff members, to improve efficiency.
Raymond’s Dental Practice, Denver, CO
Dentist, 2011 – 2014
Worked as the only dentist on the premises, with a small team of one dental hygienist and one assistant. Carried out extensive cosmetic dental procedures, restorative treatments, endodontics, prosthodontics, and promoted good dental routines (regular dentist visits, brushing, and flossing).
- Participated in a program that visited nursing homes, High Schools, and assisted living facilities to educate about the importance of oral care.
- Increased office efficiency with 43% by implementing simple changes to the paperwork routines.
- Upgraded the x-ray equipment which ended up saving the clinic 40% in monthly maintenance costs.
- Traveled and held seminars for dentistry professionals.
DentaFlex, Richmond, VA
Dental assistant, 2007 – 2011
Assisted dentists and dental hygienists with basic procedures, and filled out reports, managed health records for patients, scheduled dentist appointments, and received patients.
- Implemented careful revisions of every client’s health history prior to their arrival, to save time and provide a more customized dental care experience.
- Introduced a stricter control of OSHA standards.
- Trained two new dental assistants and guided them through the process.
- Performed complex dental surgery on the victim of a severe accident, and was successful in restoring all teeth.
Dentists are required to have a DDS/DMD degree, and the program needs to be accredited by The Commission on Dental Accreditation. This is not something you can get around, and if you can’t list a valid dental program, then you can be sure they won’t call you in for an interview.
As we mentioned earlier in this article – it is easy to confuse a dentist and a dental hygienist, but the educational requirements greatly differentiate the two.
It is not easy to become a dentist, and it requires several years of studies, along with certification on the state you reside (more about this under ‘Certifications’). Here are a few examples of educational achievements you might see listed on a dentist’s resume.
Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine, Glendale, AZ
PREDOC, 2012 – 2016
University of Alabama School of Dentistry, Birmingham, AL
General Practice Residency, 2011 – 2012
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
BDS in Dental Surgery, 2006 – 2010
The course requirements may vary by state, so always look this up before applying for a job as a dentist in a new state. You do need to have CPR and DEA certifications to work legally as a dentist in the United States, and this is something you obtain by taking a course.
This is the place to list any courses you have taken that are related to dental care, and many job posts will hint at what courses and/or certifications they want you to have.
You can find plenty of information on the ADA (American Dental Association) and CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) websites if you are interested in taking additional courses for accreditation and boosted knowledge.
Course options for dentists are available both online and at local colleges, universities and dental schools.
- Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED session training
- ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program
Dentistry is a medical profession that requires certifications. List your CPR/DEA certification, as this is generally required, and your state-specific license. We want to stress the fact that just because you are licensed to work as a dentist in one state, it does not necessarily mean you can work in another state.
It could also be a good idea to list your driver’s license here, depending on whether you think you would be traveling on your new job, but if not – you can leave it out.
Mouth- and oral health are directly linked to heart problems and poor cardiovascular health, which is why proper oral care is so incredibly important.
According to statistics released by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Gum disease is surprisingly common in the United States, so any certification you have that highlights your medical knowledge or skills should be listed here.
- CPR/DEA Certified
- Dentist License (The Alabama Board Of Dental Examiners)
Complete dentist resume sample
We have gone through everything that needs to go on your dentist resume, and now we are going to take everything we have learned and use it to build a complete dentist sample resume.
The below post is a real dentist job post, where a company is looking to hire a new dentist, and we are going to show you how to write a resume tailored to this specific ad.
One thing you will notice is that few dentist job posts mention anything about educational requirements, and this is because they assume you already have the required education and licenses when you apply.
The ad mentions company-sponsored mission trips and providing free dental care to communities in need, so they are definitely looking for someone who is passionate about dental care and who wants to make a difference.
Hardworking and passionate dentist with 6+ years of experience working in the field of dentistry. Extensive experience of diagnosing patients and performing procedures like prosthodontics, cosmetic dentistry, preventive care, and restorative treatments. Dedicated to providing a pleasant experience for both children and adults.
Patient-oriented | Dedicated | 6+ years of documented experience | CPR, DEA, and First Aid Certified | Virginia Dentist License | Passion for oral care education | Compassionate | Hard-working | Patient
Evergreen Dentistry & Braces, Falls Church, VA
Dentist, 2013 – 2019
Work centered mainly around restorative- and preventive care for patients who cannot afford regular dental care. Participated in dental charity events across the state of Virginia and saw a total of over 4,000 patients a year.
- Recognized for excellent dental work and for making children and adults feel comfortable while in the chair.
- Organized demonstrations of affordable oral care at homeless shelters and group homes.
- Held a fundraiser to raise money to provide braces for children in the community.
- Appeared on the front page of a dental magazine after participating in a charity event.
ToothCare Clinic, Rosslyn, VA
Dentist, 2009 – 2013
Part of a team of three dentists and two dental hygienists, at a busy dental clinic offering full dental services (including preventive and restorative care). A fast-paced work environment where our focus was always the patient rather than the financial gain.
- Handled additional bookkeeping duties and supervised the completion of reports and schedules, and found ways to save both time and money.
- Kept the clinic organized by providing each staff member with clear directions and guidance.
- Worked closely with patients when designing plans of action, and walked them through the suggested steps.
- Used creative methods to make children feel comfortable in the dentist chair, which was appreciated by parents.
- Virginia Board of Dentist License
- CPR/DEA Certified
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Doctor of Dental Surgery Program (DDS Degree), 2005 – 2009
College of Central Florida, Ocala, FL
Associate in Science, Dental Practice Management, 2000 – 2009
- The Oral Cavity: Portal to Health and Disease (University of Pennsylvania)
- Implant Dentistry (University of Hong Kong)
It takes years to become a dentist, but it is a field with many career opportunities. If you have the correct educational background and credentials and if you have still struggled to find work – the problem is most likely your resume.
When writing your resume, make sure you complete each section with relevant information, and try to make your personality come across.
It is important for a dentist clinic to have dentists that make patients want to come back, and you need to use your resume to highlight both skills and personality traits.
If you are unsure how to define yourself – think of what you would want a dentist to be like if you needed dental care. Are you that person? Show it.
- You need a DDS/DMD degree to work as a dentist in the United States, so make sure this is clearly visible in your dentist resume.
- Do prior research and obtain the state-specific license before you apply for a new position, as every US state requires a different license.
- List only dental care specific work experience, and don’t forget that you need to be CPR/DEA certified.
Tips from Experts
“Tips and tricks on how to write a good dental CV: The most important parts of this are actually the memberships and the correct experience.” – Luke Arnold, Dental Elite
“Sell yourself. What do you bring to the table? Present a great you.” – Tonya Lanthier, Founder of DentalPost
A dentist does so much more than to just provide people with clean and shiny teeth, as poor dental health can have devastating consequences for our hearts and bodies. An untreated tooth infection causes bacteria that could spread, and the only way to prevent this is by going for regular check-ups at the dentist.
With this in mind, dentists become life-savers, and it is no surprise that the educational requirements are so strict for these health professionals.
The hard part about applying for a dentist job is just that – the set requirements, as every dentist has more or less the same training and background. Therefore, it becomes essential for your resume to stand out.