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How to Build your Resume for a Dentistry Career
We’ve assembled resume examples and advice for a variety of popular dental jobs — use this expert guidance to create your own resume.
Career Track: General Dentistry
A whopping 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost annually in the U.S. because of dental-related illnesses. Dental issues are also the most-chronic childhood disease, with 47.2% of adults (aged 30 or older) suffering from periodontal disease. Which is to say: General dentistry will always be in demand.
Dental Assistant$37,000 Median Salary
Resume format: Functional Resume
Dental assistants offer technical support and are also involved in patient care, office management and routine lab tasks. Make sure your resume highlights your expertise, with the focus on skills that show you can get the job done, such as excellent organizational ability, and practical dental knowledge.
Summary statement tip: Focus on your management skills along with technical, job-specific training. In addition, emphasize interpersonal skills that show that you can deal with patients and colleagues effectively. For example: “Affable and organized Dental Assistant with over three years of experience in both private and corporate dental offices. Able to skillfully schedule routine procedures, maintain patient records, and communicate with my regular patients.”
Skills to feature: Feature hard skills such as developing radiographs, instrument sterilization, infection control and mouthguard fabrication, as well as soft skills such as ability to multitask and handle responsibility.
Get to the next level: Show how you’ve expanded your skill set by listing proficiencies you have in areas such as coronal polishing, sealant application and fluoride treatment. Also look to gain and feature Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist $75,000 Median Salary
Resume format: Combination Resume
Emphasize both your skills and your work experience in this profession. Substantiate your accomplishments as a dental hygienist with examples from your professional history.
Summary statement tip: Mention your best traits and work experiences thus far in areas such as periodontics and oral cancer, presenting yourself as an expert who can work closely with both dentists and patients.
Skills to feature: Your soft skills should center around patient management and ability to educate diverse groups on oral hygiene. Stress hard skills such as dental radiography, oral cancer detection, tartar buildup, periodontal charting and debridement.
Get to the next level: Feature additional training you’ve completed, such as the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, or licensing in local anesthesia administration and dental radiography. Also list any advanced degrees you have in dentistry, as well as any teaching or specialized research experiences you have in dental schools and education programs.
General Dentist $160,000 Median Salary
Resume format: Chronological Resume
These primary dental care providers are expected to have a decent amount of experience — make sure your resume reflects that, with an extensive work history section.
Summary statement tip: Give a brief overview of your top skills and experiences, presenting yourself as someone who can offer holistic dental treatment. Maintain an authoritative tone in your resume. For example: “Efficient General Dentist with over five years’ experience serving 800+ patients in family practice settings. Specializing in diagnosis, treatment planning and periodontal work.”
Skills to feature: Highlight your expertise in performing both standard (e.g., placing fillings, oral disease diagnosis) and complex dental procedures (e.g., root canal therapy, dental implants), as well as your ability to communicate with patients and provide a positive office atmosphere.
Get to the next level: Follow up your Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree with certification in specializations such as oral and maxillofacial radiology, endodontics and prosthodontics. Demonstrate how you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field, and how you’ve contributed to successful organizations (e.g., your dental practice receiving favorable user ratings).
Career Track: Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a fast-growing field: it’s estimated that up to 75% of the population can benefit from orthodontic care, while 4.5 million Americans wear braces or other dental appliances, with this statistic only expected to grow in the coming years.
Orthodontic Assistant$38,000 Median Salary
Resume format: Functional Resume
The quality of an orthodontic assistant is based mainly on practical skills, so showcase your technical know-how as well as your ability to interact with orthodontic staff and patients.
Summary statement tip: Emphasize your ability to assist in orthodontics practice, perform office management duties whenever required, and educate patients about dental appliances and aftercare. Remember to include critical attributes like manual dexterity, accountability and strong verbal communication skills.
Skills to feature: Classify your skills under technical (e.g., sterilization of orthodontic tools, dental radiography, fabricating retainers, taking teeth impressions), organizational (e.g., handling patient records, maintaining inventory, collecting diagnostic data) and interpersonal (e.g., assisting patients in pain, coordinating with orthodontist) categories.
Get to the next level: Supplement your associate degree with certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), show that you’ve kept abreast of new infection control methodologies and demonstrate expertise in important areas such as medical protocols in case of emergencies (e.g., soft tissue inflammation in the oral cavity, or displacement of orthodontic appliances).
Associate Orthodontist $221,000 Median Salary
Resume Format: Combination
Counseling requires both specific skill sets and some prior work experience — use the combination format to satisfy both needs. Mention soft skills like critical thinking, etc. along with skills acquired from work experience, like facilitating individual and group counseling sessions.
Summary statement tip: Emphasize your best soft skills, like empathy and verbal communication, as well as your educational credentials and job experiences. For example: “Diligent counselor with Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification, and three years experience working with substance abuse cases.”
Skills to feature:
- Excellent verbal communication skills
- Ability to empathize
- Critical thinker
- Efficient problem-solving abilities
- Cultural sensitivity
- Guidance skills
- Culturally sensitive and tolerant
Get to the next level: To upgrade your career, get an advanced degree in psychology, as well as a state license to practice. Also look to gain more experience in managing internal teams and processes, and collaborating with management to improve overall organization performance.
Orthodontist$234,00 Median Salary
Resume format: Chronological Resume
Focus on the work history section, showing how you’ve progressed in your career through your professional achievements, giving examples of how you’ve deployed the skills you’ve learned over time (e.g., “Worked with children and adults in all aspects of orthodontics, specializing in Invisalign”).
Summary statement tip: Give a brief overview of your top skills, including the techniques you use to prevent, diagnose and treat dental irregularities. Include background on your experience solving a wide range of problems, such as crooked teeth, malocclusions and mismatched jaws.
Skills to feature: Mention your level of expertise with orthodontic treatments such as dental braces, headgear, space maintainers, jaw repositioning appliances, palatal expanders, retainers, and lip and cheek bumpers.
Get to the next level: Underline your proficiency in Invisalign treatment, and demonstrate your knowledge of new technologies such as electronic dental record (EDR) systems. Make sure your certification with the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is up to date. Finally, show how you’ve been recognized or rewarded for your performance, such as an increased client base or positive ratings from patients.
Recommended Dentistry Resume Templates
To make your resume stand out, use the right template — our modern, creative template designs call attention to your expertise while adding the right dash of personality to your resume.
Draw employers’ attention to your skills in the stylish side section and elaborate on your work history in the main section through this dual-column resume.
This design presents information in a clear manner and is excellent to make a good first impression. The simplicity of the body format is eye-catching, and the bright-coloured header makes the name standout.
Choose this template for a logical flow in your resume and to pass applicant tracking systems (ATS). The colored-text play makes it elegant, yet simple & effective resume layout choice.
Dentistry Resume FAQs
1.Which format should you use for your resume?
To make this decision, identify what you want the employer to focus on:
Functional format: Your goal is to take attention away from your work history and focus it on your skill set. This is ideal for entry-level roles where you need to highlight technical and intangible skills.
Combination format: This format features skills and relevant work experience. Use this presentation if you have a few years of experience in the field that you can feature, or are switching career fields but can show off transferable skills, such as administrative ability, or your ability to be accurate and use sensitive instruments.
Chronological format: This format showcases your professional journey and demonstrates how your experiences have made you an expert in your field. This is ideal for specialized roles in dentistry, or for jobs that demand a high level of experience.
2.What qualifications and certifications are employers looking for in the dentistry industry?
For assistant positions, you should have an associate’s degree in dentistry, an accredited college degree or on-the-job training. It is also helpful to have a certification from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
To be a dental hygienist, you should supplement your associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree with National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) certification.
For highly-skilled roles like that of a general dentist, it is crucial to have a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree, which can be followed by more field-specific certifications. To be an orthodontist, supplement your DMD/DDS degree with a degree from orthodontic school, or become a board-certified orthodontist through the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).
3.What qualities and personality traits are required to be successful at dentistry?
The following qualities are necessary to be a suitable candidate for any position in this field:
- Attention to detail
- Manual dexterity
- Ability to deal with all age groups
- Time management
- Ability to adapt to office culture
- Good networking skills
- Knowledge of dental technology and terminology