Like most careers in the health industry, a dentist is required to be caring and compassionate as well as clever and competent. Since many people are afraid of visiting a dental office for treatment, it is beneficial for a dentist to be good with people and to be able to reassure them and explain procedures to them in a simple way.
Academic qualifications vary around the world but generally require a bachelor of science degree and then further postgraduate studies. Most countries performing western medicine require a dentist to have completed four years of postgraduate study to qualify as either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). Other dental degrees valid in various countries include: BDent (Bachelor of Dentistry); BDSc (Bachelor of Dental Science); MDent (Master of Dentistry); and DD (Doctor of Dentistry). There are others that are accepted in various countries, but these are the most common.
After the academic qualifications have been obtained, clinical training is undertaken. In most places, this is at least two years and then certification exams are required. Once fully qualified, further study can be undertaken in order to train in a specific specialty.