Careers in Dentistry

Dentistry is an essential health care service that improves patients’ oral health and appearance. Dental personnel not only perform important preventive and restorative oral health procedures, but also teach good habits for dental health, as well as educate the community about preventing disease and maintaining oral health. Opportunities are abound in the oral health care delivery system, including the areas of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and research of oral diseases. With the many innovative advances in technology, dental professionals and patients alike eagerly anticipate dynamic changes in dentistry. The future of dentistry is bright and promises a gratifying career.

There are several career areas for dental professionals, each with its own educational requirements; some requiring certification and licensure. Dentistry is a unique profession in that there are so many avenues of oral health to explore.

The dental professions offer a range of career opportunities:


Dentists enjoy a unique profession with numerous areas of service and expertise:

  • disease detection
  • diagnosis and treatment
  • esthetic improvement
  • surgical restoration
  • public education
  • prevention

There are also advanced education programs for specialty training in endodontics, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics. For more information, go to

Education/Licensing Requirements: Undergraduate education and four years of dental school; additional education for dental specialties. Dentists are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD).  (

Dental school in Louisiana for doctor of dental surgery:

Louisiana State University (LSUSD)
LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry
1100 Florida Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
Web site:

Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are an important part of the dental care team. Duties include taking the patient's history, cleaning teeth, taking and developing dental x-rays, placing sealants and fluorides, teaching patients how to brush and floss properly, educating the patient on how nutrition is important to good dental health, and more. There are good job opportunities on a full- or part-time basis in dental hygiene.

Education/Licensing Requirements: Completion of a dental hygiene curriculum, generally offered as part of a two- or four-year full-time curriculum at community colleges, technical schools, universities and/or dental schools. Additional studies are available for higher-level careers in dental hygiene, such as teaching, clinical practice or public health. Dental hygienists are licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD).  ( This license is renewed biennially. Licensed dental hygienists may apply to the LSBD for a special endorsement to administer local anesthesia for dental procedures under the direct supervision of a dentist.

Schools offering accredited dental hygiene programs in Louisiana:

Louisiana State University (LSUSD)
Dental Hygiene Program*
LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry
1100 Florida Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119

*For information on the LSUSD satellite dental hygiene program in Lafayette, La., call (337) 262-2072.

Southern University at Shreveport
Allied Health/Health Sciences Div. Dental Hygiene Program
3050 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive
Shreveport , LA 71107
(318) 674-3417

University of Louisiana at Monroe
College of Allied Health & Rehab. Professions
Department of Dental Hygiene
700 University Avenue
Monroe , LA 71209-0420
(318) 342-1621

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is one who is employed by and works in the office of a licensed, practicing dentist and performs the duties authorized by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry under the direct, on-premises supervision, direction and responsibility of the dentist. Such tasks include serving as the dentist’s chair side assistant, taking and developing dental x-rays, taking patient blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, removing final impressions, placing a removable retaining device in the mouth of a patient, conditioning teeth prior to placement of orthodontic bands or brackets, and removing sutures, post-extraction dressing, and surgical ligature ties.

Education/Licensing Requirements:
Dental assistants can receive on-the-job training. However, better opportunities may exist with a college certificate, two-year degree, or participation is some sort of vocational training program. The Louisiana State Board of Dentistry requires that all dental assistants must successfully complete a course in x-ray function and safety approved by the Board prior to or within six months of employment and must have documented hepatitis vaccinations.

Expanded Duty Dental Assistant

A person licensed to practice dentistry in the state of Louisiana may delegate to any expanded duty dental assistant any chairside dental act that said dentist deems reasonable, using sound professional judgment. Such act must be performed properly and safely on the patient and must be reversible in nature. Furthermore, the act must be under the direct supervision of the treating dentist.

Our state's Dental Practice Act is also clear on what procedures/acts may NOT be delegated to an EDDA. The most up-to-date listing can be found in Rules 20-22 of the Dental Practice Act. If you do not have a copy of this document, the most recent version can be downloaded from the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry website at

Education/Licensing Requirements: To qualify as an EDDA, an individual must have a permit from the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry (LSBD).  (

Schools in Louisiana for expanded duty dental assisting:

University of Louisiana at Monroe
700 University Ave.
Monroe , Louisiana 71209
(318) 342-1621

LSU School of Dentistry

LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry
1100 Florida Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119

Dental Lab Technicians

A dental lab technician is an important member of a very specialized health care team. Dental laboratory technicians work closely with the dentist in restoring a patient's lost or missing teeth caused by accidents, dental decay or developmental abnormalities. Exciting new technology in both materials and techniques allow dental lab techs to play a vital role in changing patients' lives by helping to create beautiful smiles and optimum oral health. Dental lab techs skilled technicians who are able to work in private dental offices, small or large commercial dental laboratories, dental schools or dental manufacturing companies. Dental lab technicians are the behind-the-scenes members of a dental team, working from the dental laboratory making full and partial dentures from impressions taken at the dentist's office. They also create crowns and veneers, orthodontic appliances and splints. The lab technician works with a wide range of materials and high-tech equipment and instruments.

Louisiana State University (LSUSD)
Dental Lab Technician Program
LSU Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry
1100 Florida Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119