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More than one in four adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay and nearly half of adults over 30 show signs of gum disease.

Those statistics alone are enough to make you want to brush and floss, both of which are key to overall great health. So is regular treatment by a dental health professional. Here are some jobs in dental health worth exploring.

Dentists

These are the general specialists for your teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth. Dentists must be licensed in the state in which they work and must usually have a doctor of dental surgery or doctor of medicine in dentistry. Demand for dentistry is growing.

Dental Hygienists

These are the health care specialists you generally see before the dentist comes in. They clean your teeth and check for signs of oral diseases and provide preventive care. To become a dental hygienist, you need an associate degree in dental hygiene, which normally take three years to complete.

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants take X-rays, keep records and schedule appointments in the dentist’s office. Some states require examination and licensure, but some allow on-the-job training. Check with your state licensure board for local requirements.

Orthodontists

Orthodontists treat irregular teeth, inappropriate bites and facial growths. They use devices such as braces, retainers and bands to change the position of teeth. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a dental degree, as well as a certificate of orthodontics. You may also be required to get separate certifications depending on your area of practice.

Endodontist

These dental specialists care for problems that affect the pulp or the inside of the teeth. Endodontists are dentists who undergo at least two more years of training to diagnose and treat tooth pain.

They treat tooth decay, tooth abscess and injuries, such as cracked teeth. You may see an endodontist for procedures such as root canals.

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