When pursuing an education in general dentistry, many students are surprised to discover that there’s a lot more involved than just teeth. A degree in general dentistry usually requires an undergraduate degree first, and students often find that they aren’t sure how to fill their electives. Discover five different subjects that pre-dental students might study and how they can be helpful.
While oral anatomy is an obvious requirement for dental students, it’s actually helpful to study the anatomy and physiology of the entire human body. Every part of the body including the nerves, blood vessels, skeleton, and glandular systems are interconnected, so understanding how these work together will help a future dentist treat the whole patient, not just one bad tooth. It will also prevent the dentist from making a decision that could affect other parts of the body.
2. Public Speaking
Public speaking courses are useful in almost any career. They can help people feel more comfortable as they speak with others and teach skills such as projecting confidence and understanding how to create the desired reaction from listeners. For dental students, this will help them build a better bedside manner, which is vital to making patients feel more relaxed, comfortable, and confident that their dentist is educated and knowledgeable.
Similar to how public speaking can help improve patient relations, studies in psychology can help a general dentistry student better understand how to relate to patients. Psychology can offer insight into how to best help patients to feel more comfortable about procedures that may seem intimidating at first.
What people put into their bodies has more of an effect on their teeth than they think. All students of medical disciplines, including general dentistry, should study nutrition to understand the consequences of food on the body’s systems. Vitamins and minerals affect the body in certain ways, and deficiencies of these may cause certain disorders. Some deficiencies may cause teeth to be brittle or for the roots to decay. In order to diagnose these, a dentist will have to understand the effects nutrients have on the teeth.
5. Foreign Language
In America today, a professional who speaks a foreign language will vastly widen their potential customer base. This is especially true in the medical professions, as they provide services that almost everyone will need to take advantage of sooner or later. Speaking to people in their native language will help them feel more comfortable and eliminate any confusion caused by a language barrier. Additionally, studying Latin can help with making sense of complex medical terms, which are often based on the ancient language.
These courses offer vital enhancements to a dental degree and will provide many additional benefits in the workforce and beyond.