The field of dentistry offers many opportunities for rewarding careers in North Carolina (PDF, 416KB). Professional oral health care requires a team effort to ensure success. The core of the oral health care team is comprised of dentists, hygienists, assistants, and laboratory technicians.
- Dentist: The dentist is responsible and accountable for everything that goes on in the dental office or clinic. Only a licensed dentist is educated and trained to diagnose dental problems, plan treatment or prescribe medication or refer to dental specialists. As long as the licensed dentist supervises, certain phases of dental treatment may be delegated to other members of the dental team. Dentists can be either general practitioners or specialists. The American Dental Association recognizes 12 professional dental specialties.
- Dental Hygienist: The dental hygienist cleans teeth and performs other functions under the direction and supervision of a licensed dentist. North Carolina dental hygienists must be licensed. Their title is Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH).
- Dental Assistant: Under the supervision of a licensed dentist, the job of the dental assistant is to help the dentist at chair-side, take x-rays and perform other support functions. There are two categories of dental assistants working in North Carolina: Dental Assistant (DA) and Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).
- Dental Laboratory Technician: The dental laboratory technician, with a prescription from a licensed dentist, uses models and measurements to fabricate dentures, crowns and other dental prosthetic devices.
These team members provide the services necessary for total oral health care. Dental professionals treat people, not just teeth, gums and mouths. Good oral health is an essential component of the total health of a person. Dental professionals interact with people of all ages and personalities from a wide range of cultures. Their skills in working with people can have a lifelong positive impact on the total health of the people who use their services.
Many other career paths, other than traditional private dental practice, are open to trained dental professionals. These include careers in community health departments and other public health agencies, hospitals, military, dental education, dental research, and in industry, such as dental product development and sales. Dentistry is a challenging and rewarding career.
There are training opportunities in North Carolina for all specialties in the oral health profession. North Carolina colleges and universities throughout the state (see below) provide training for dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental laboratory technicians.
The North Carolina Area Health Education (AHEC) Program provides guidance for planning a career in health services.
Another excellent resource for specific dental health careers in North Carolina is NC Health Careers@CFNC.org sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina. Additional information on North Carolina health careers can be found at the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program.
Educational Programs for Dental Careers in N.C.
|Alamance Community College
P.O. Box 8000
Graham, N.C. 27253-8000
|Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
340 Victoria Road
Asheville, N.C. 28801-4816
|828-254-1921||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Cape Fear Community College
411 N. Front St.
Wilmington, N.C. 28401-3910
|910-362-7000||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Catawba Valley Community College
2550 U.S. 70 S.E.
Hickory, N.C. 28602-8302
|Central Carolina Community College
900 S. Vance St. #220
Sanford, NC 27330
|919-775-2122||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Central Piedmont Community College
P.O. Box 35009
Charlotte, N.C. 28235-5009
|704-330-2722||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Coastal Carolina Community College
444 Western Blvd.
Jacksonville, N.C. 28546-6816
|910-455-1221||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Durham Technical Community College
1637 Lawson St.
Durham, N.C. 27703-5023
|919-563-7200||Dental Laboratory Technology|
|East Carolina University
2516 Health Sciences Building
Greenville, N.C. 27834
|Fayetteville Technical Community College
P.O. Box 35236
Fayetteville, N.C. 28303-0236
|910-678-8400||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103-5197
|336-723-0371||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Guilford Technical Community College
P.O. Box 309
Jamestown, N.C. 27282-0309
|336-334-4822||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Halifax Community College
P.O. Drawer 809
100 College Drive
Weldon, N.C. 27890-1121
|Martin Community College
1161 Kehukee Park Road
Williamston, N.C. 27892-4425
3901 Capital Blvd.
Raleigh, NC 27604
1021 WH Smith Blvd. Ste. 102
Greenville, NC 27834
5000 Market St.
Wilmington, NC 28405
|Montgomery Community College
1011 Page St.
Troy, N.C. 27371-8387
|Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
P.O. Box 1595
Salisbury, N.C. 28145-1594
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 7450
Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-7450
|919-966-1161||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Education, Dentistry|
|Wake Technical Community College
101 Fayetteville Road
Raleigh, N.C. 27603-5655
|919-866-5000||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive
Goldsboro, N.C. 27534-8212
|919-735-5151||Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene|
|Western Piedmont Community College
1001 Burkemont Ave.
Morganton, N.C. 28655-4504
|Wilkes Community College
P.O. Box 120
Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697-0120