One benefit of being a dentist is that the career provides opportunities to make a difference in the community and help others improve their health. Dentists also benefit from being able to choose from various specialties, such as cosmetic, general or pediatric dentistry, and they may choose between creating their own practice, joining another dentist's practice or finding work in academia as researchers or teachers. The flexibility of the career leads to independence, a balanced lifestyle and the ability to pursue one's interests.
Another benefit of being a dentist is that the job outlook for the career is very good. As the population gets older and needs additional dental work, occupational growth for dentists is projected to be faster than average from 2012 through 2022, notes the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Along with the rise in demand is the high earning potential dentists have; their yearly median salary in 2012 was $149,310, according to the BLS. Salaries, however, do depend on the type of practice the dentist works in.
Although there are many benefits to being a dentist, one major disadvantage is the need for a dental school degree, which can be costly. Furthermore, state licensing is needed and requires passing some exams.