A reconstructive dentist works to reconstruct a patient's teeth, jaw, and sometimes even gum tissue. He does this not only for cosmetic purposes, but also to improve function of various parts of the mouth and to correct defects. To become a reconstructive dentist, you will typically have to graduate from high school and then go on to earn an undergraduate degree, possibly in a science field. Then you will usually have to participate in dental admissions testing and gain admission to dental school, where you will study for about four years. In most cases, you will have to pass a licensing exam to secure the right to practice as a dentist in your jurisdiction and also seek additional training in reconstructive dentistry.
While dentistry requirements may vary from country to country, you will typically need a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a reconstructive dentist. Gaining acceptance to a respected college can prove important for securing a quality undergraduate education and getting into dental school. Science and math courses may prove particularly important in high school, as these courses can provide the basic knowledge you'll need to succeed with further education. Courses that teach verbal and written communication can prepare you for communicating with patients and other dental professionals as well as writing reports about procedures.
Once you are in college, you can choose just about any major you want, as most dental schools do not limit their student bodies to only science majors. A science major can provide good preparation for dental school, however, and many aspiring dentists choose such majors as biology, chemistry, or even pre-dentistry. Whether you choose to study science or not, however, it is generally important to study hard and earn a high grade point average (GPA). Most dental schools will consider your grades carefully when deciding whether or not to admit you. Additionally, you will likely have to score well on admissions testing to get into dental school and become a reconstructive dentist.
Though this may vary from place to place, dental school usually lasts for about four years. It includes classroom learning and lab work as well as clinical practice. The clinical component of dental school often takes place in the last couple of years of school and allows you to get hands-on practice under a dentist's supervision.
Most jurisdictions also require licensing for people who will provide dental care, and you'll typically have to pass a rigorous exam to obtain it and become a reconstructive dentist. You may also choose to seek specialty training in reconstructive dentistry to build on what you learned in dental school. Specialty training requirements can vary, but most programs last for about two to three years.