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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3113 Occupation: Dentists
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Dentists diagnose, treat, prevent and control disorders of the teeth and mouth. They work in private practice or may be employed in hospitals, clinics, public health facilities or universities. Dentists diagnose, treat, prevent and control disorders of the teeth and mouth. They work in private practice or may be employed in hospitals, clinics, public health facilities or universities.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read short explanations and instructions on labels. For example, read mixing and storage directions on the labels of filling materials. Read about undesirable side effects on prescription drug labels. (1)
  • Read memos from co-workers and letters from colleagues and patients. For example, read letters from other dentists asking for clinical information and responding to questions about referred patients. Read memos from hygienists and dental assistants on matters such as vacations and time off for training sessions. Read thank you and complaint letters from patients. (2)
  • Read treatment records prior to the clinical assessment and treatment of patients' teeth and mouth disorders. Synthesize information found in records, paying close attention to aspects such as reactions to drugs and diseases diagnosed by physicians and other dentists. Use this information to establish patients' profiles and to develop protocols for treatments. (3)
  • Read bulletins from Health Canada and provincial ministries of health outlining changes in health and safety procedures and offering guidance with treatments. Read these bulletins to gain information which may affect the practice. For example, a dentist may read a bulletin describing changes in sanitization protocols. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may read a bulletin presenting the results of a recent review of antibiotics and the selection criteria suggested by respirology, infectious disease and pharmacology experts. (3)
  • Read trade publications to stay abreast of legislative changes and technological advances in fields of practice. For example, a dentist may read about the Canadian Dental Association's guidelines for personal data protection. A cosmetic dentist may read about intraoral cameras and imaging software used to educate patients and show them what they will look like after dental work. An orthodontist may read about the reliability of new bracket and arch wire materials. (3)
  • Read a wide range of dental journals such as Oral Heath, the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics, the Revue de stomatologie et de chirurgie maxillo-faciale, the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association and the Journal dentaire du Québec. Select and read relevant articles to learn about the results of experimental treatment procedures and expand knowledge of diseases, injuries, disorders, dysfunctions and defects to teeth, jaws, facial bones, gums and surrounding tissues. For example, a dentist may read an article about the diagnosis and treatment of malignant tumours on the jaw. (4)
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Writing
  • Enter text and write short notes on forms. For example, a dentist may write notes about dental procedures in a patient's record. The dentist may also write instructions on a dental laboratory form to order an appliance to correct the position of the patient's teeth. (1)
  • Write lengthy memos to co-workers and letters to colleagues. For example, a dentist may write a letter to an endodontist to refer a patient whose pulp chamber is infected. The endodontist may write back to the dentist after seeing the patient to describe the root canal therapy administered. A pediatric dentist may write a memo to co-workers to inform them of a new method of filing patients' records. (2)
  • Prepare procedures to be used by co-workers and colleagues. Establish the steps that have to be followed when accomplishing certain tasks. Be explicit and precise to reduce ambiguity and the possibility of misinterpretations. For example, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may write procedures for nurses dealing with surgery patients in outpatients' clinics. A public health dentist may write a new disinfection protocol for dental office personnel. (3)
  • Write the text for brochures, leaflets and websites to promote oral health approaches and services. Address key questions about dental conditions, diseases, therapies, procedures, materials and equipment in an effective manner. Gather, select and rewrite information from various sources for a mixed audience of patients, dentists, physicians and representatives from community organizations. For example, public health dentists may write about the importance of dental care during pregnancy and the safety of dental x-rays and local anaesthetics. Dentists in private practice may write about their clinics' expertise in dental cosmetics and implants. (4)
  • Write articles and case study reports for dental journals and conference proceedings. Describe complex clinical conditions encountered, outline diagnostic and treatment procedures used and discuss results obtained. For example, a periodontist may write an article about pocket reduction, crown lengthening, soft tissue graft and other procedures used to treat gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. A dentist may write an article about the use of blood growth factors for bone regeneration in maxillary sinuses. A prosthodontist may write an article about diagnostic criteria for patients suffering from different forms of edentulism. (5)
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Document Use
  • Scan product and equipment labels for various data. For example, an orthodontist may scan the label on an orthodontic kit for the numbers and dimensions of the bands, brackets and arch wires it contains. (1)
  • Enter data into tables and schedules. For example, dentists may enter the locations, treatments rendered, time spent and fees into summary tables so that patients' accounts and records can be updated. They may enter the dates and times of upcoming appointments into treatment schedules. (2)
  • Locate data in lists and schedules. For example, read bibliographies at the end of journal articles to identify other articles relevant to treatments of conditions such as gingival recession. A pediatric dentist may read the daily operating room schedule at the hospital to locate data on the day, time and location of a scheduled surgery and the names of assistants. (2)
  • Complete forms. For example, dentists may complete dental laboratory forms to order crowns, bridges and other devices intended to correct the abnormal positioning of the teeth and jaws. They enter data such as prescription dates, addresses, ages, drug names and dosages on prescription forms. (3)
  • Locate data in forms. For example, a dentist may review a medical history form completed by a patient to locate data on illnesses, disorders, pregnancies, hospitalizations, anaesthesias, symptoms of gum diseases, allergies to medications, drugs taken and ongoing medical treatments. (3)
  • Interpret radiographs. For example, a dentist may interpret a radiograph of a patient's jaw and teeth to identify pathologies, cavities, tooth root problems, missing and impacted teeth, tumours of the jaw and signs of gum disease. A dentist may also interpret panoramic radiographs to determine the success of anchorage implants. (3)
  • Interpret graphs contained in textbooks, trade publications and academic journals to learn about the effectiveness of materials and techniques used in the treatment of diseases, injuries, disorders, dysfunctions and defects to teeth, jaws, facial bones, gums and surrounding tissues. Combine information, as necessary, from a number of graphs to fully understand the effectiveness of a technique. For example, a prosthodontist may interpret a series of graphs to learn about the strength, flow, stiffness and radiopacity of resin composites used for intracoronal restorations. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Write and edit text for memos, letters, procedures, promotional materials and journal articles using word processing programs such as Word. Use basic page and character formatting features. (2)
  • Access professional association websites and perform keyword searches to obtain information on dentistry-related topics. (2)
  • Enter and retrieve patients' treatment, appointment and billing data from databases using programs such as Access and Windent. Search, display and print data from these databases. (2)
  • Receive correspondence and send email to colleagues, suppliers and patients. Attach scanned radiographs and patients' history files to email messages. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. In order to develop effective presentations for professional conferences, import scanned images, tables and graphs. Create three-dimensional representations of patients' teeth and jaws using digital x-rays and imaging software such as Dolphin's Imaging Plus. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers about technical specifications, price quotes, service options and delivery times for dentistry equipment, materials and supplies. For example, a dentist may speak with a cavity sealant supplier to obtain price and shipping information. An orthodontist may talk to a laboratory technician to specify the type of appliance needed for a patient. (1)
  • Provide directions and discuss job tasks with dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists and other dentists. For example, a dentist may give instructions to a receptionist about the scheduling of a follow-up appointment with a patient. The dentist may also discuss the next surgical procedure with a dental assistant and provide directions about the preparation of instruments and materials. (2)
  • Share information on patients' conditions with fellow dentists, doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals. For example, a dentist may discuss a patient's health history, gum disease and treatment plan with a periodontist to whom he has referred the patient. A dentist may consult a pharmacist on the use of a new antibiotic and its possible side effects for a patient. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may speak with an anaesthesiologist before a surgery to discuss a patient's condition and special needs. (2)
  • Attend meetings with co-workers to coordinate tasks and discuss appointment schedules, office administration, equipment use and other matters affecting the work. At these meetings, teach procedures that have been developed and demonstrate how to operate new equipment. For example, a dentist may teach the proper completion of a new patient health history form to staff members. The dentist may also demonstrate how to load digital x-rays when using a new imaging system. (3)
  • Interact with patients and their relatives. Interview patients and their families to collect health history information. Listen to complaints about teeth and mouth sensitivity and recommend ways of relieving pain. Explain diagnoses and discuss treatment options, if needed. Answer questions about dental procedures and alleviate concerns. Educate patients on proper oral hygiene practices. To be effective, dentists have to establish patients' trust and provide reassurance. (3)
  • Make presentations to colleagues and community members. For example, a public health dentist may deliver an oral presentation to health care managers and community members on the influence of parents' behaviour on their children's dental health. A dentist may present a case study on the use of blood growth factors for bone regeneration in maxillary sinuses to colleagues at an international conference. (4)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify purchase order and invoice amounts. For example, verify purchase order amounts for dental products, materials and equipment. Calculate line amounts, discounts, surcharges and sales taxes when preparing invoices for dental services. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Calculate amounts for payroll, utility and tax accounts. For example, dentists in private practice calculate payroll amounts. They multiply hours worked by hourly wage rates, calculate and subtract deductions for federal and provincial income taxes and contributions to pension plans and employment insurance. They may have to use different hourly wage rates for overtime and work on statutory holidays. (3)
  • Create work schedules for workers under your supervision. Take into account workload indicators and the need to distribute job tasks equitably. It may be necessary to adjust work schedules because of vacations and sick leave. For example, an orthodontist may create work schedules for a dental clinic employing four dentists, four dental hygienists, four dental assistants, an office administrator, a bookkeeper and three receptionists. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor operational budgets for the dental office and unit. Ensure that expenditures incurred for salaries, rents, dental and office supplies, utilities, insurance, accountants, lawyers, periodicals, advertising, conferences and courses are fully covered by the budget. It may be necessary to change budget line items because of unexpected events. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Calculate quantities of materials for mixtures, using ratios, rates and percentages. For example, a dentist may calculate the amounts of water and plaster needed for a specific amount of dental cast. (2)
  • Measure distances, lengths, widths, depths and angles in patients' mouths using callipers, protractors, periodontal probes and other specialized instruments. For example, an orthodontist may measure the movement of a tooth whose root is tipped to correct a crown's angle. A dentist may measure the length of a root to plan a root canal treatment. A periodontist may also measure the depth of a periodontal pocket to ascertain the need for periodontal surgery or closed flap scaling. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare distances, lengths, widths, depths and angles in patients' mouths to reference ranges and historical data to aid in diagnosis. For example, a pediatric dentist may compare the distance between a child's teeth to a reference range to determine the need for corrective measures such as braces. An orthodontist may compare a patient's tooth movement over a number of months to determine whether it is increasing, decreasing or remaining constant. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may compare the distance between a patient's upper and lower teeth before and after a temporal mandibular joint operation for evaluation purposes. (2)
  • Collect and analyse operational data. For example, a dentist may collect and analyse data on the number of dental procedures of each type performed over a period of time to determine the need for additional hygienists, assistants and dentists. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times needed to perform job duties using past experience as a guide. For example, a dentist may estimate the time required for an appointment with a patient by assessing the nature and complexity of dental procedures to be performed. (1)
  • Estimate costs of dental procedures for patients. For example, a dentist may estimate the cost of a dental implant for a patient taking into account the estimated time to perform the procedure, an hourly rate and the amount covered by the patient's insurance plan. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Dentists plan and organize job tasks to meet the treatment needs of their patients. They set priorities and provide input into the day-to-day scheduling of patients' visits although their actual appointments are usually booked by their receptionists. Emergency visits from patients and other unexpected events force them to frequently reorganize job tasks. Dentists play a central role in organizing, planning and scheduling day-to-day oral health services and contribute to long-term and strategic planning for their organizations. They are responsible for assigning tasks to dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists and other workers. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Select tasks to assign to dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists and other staff. Consider individual backgrounds, skills, experiences, strengths, weaknesses and availabilities. (2)
  • Choose the dentistry products, materials and equipment to purchase for offices, clinics and units. Use professional knowledge and take into account such factors as budgets and anticipated demand for services. (2)
  • Decide to refer some patients to other dentists and health care professionals when treatments needed are beyond your competence. To make appropriate decisions, assess the severity of the patients' condition. For example, a dentist may decide to refer a patient presenting signs of advanced periodontal disease to a periodontist. A periodontist may decide to refer a patient whose lower gum presents a lump to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon more suitably trained to diagnose and treat mouth cancer. (3)
  • Select techniques, approaches and procedures to treat, prevent and control disorders of the teeth and mouth in patients. For example, select pulp capping or root canal to treat the exposure of pulp. Consider diagnostic data such as radiographs and all other relevant factors including the patients' age, health and financial resources. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Face suppliers' delays which may adversely affect the appointment schedules. For example, dentists may face delays because the laboratories they regularly use are missing technicians and unable to process orders. They contact the laboratories to confirm delay times and source other laboratories to fabricate dentures in the interim. (2)
  • Encounter frightened patients who cannot be approached easily. For example, pediatric dentists often treat children who are scared of the sting of needles and the sound of drills. With the help of dental assistants, they may reassure the children and turn their attention towards pleasing objects such as stuffed animals. While the children are distracted, they may perform the necessary procedures as quickly as possible. They may also reward good behaviour afterwards with small toys. (2)
  • A patient has lost consciousness in reaction to local anaesthesias. Immediately call paramedics for assistance. In the meanwhile, place cold compresses on the patient's head, tilt them backwards in their chair and give them oxygen. In cases of cardiac arrests, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation to patients while waiting for paramedics to arrive. (3)
  • Experience difficulties in getting some of the patients to comply with treatment requirements. Try different approaches in order to motivate patients to conform to prescribed procedures. If attempts fail, recommend different treatment approaches for the patients. For example, orthodontists experience difficulties in getting some patients to wear their braces. They may recommend inserting anchor implants into their mouths. (3)
  • Face absenteeism, misconduct and other breaches of employment contracts. Depending on the severity and circumstances, meet with the concerned workers to discuss the reasons underlying their behaviour and remind them of employment standards and expectations. Issue reprimand letters, as necessary, to warn these workers that reoccurrences may lead to disciplinary actions and permanent discharges. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find historical information on patients' dental health by interviewing them, consulting referring dentists and searching treatment records. (2)
  • Find detailed information on dentistry products, materials and equipment by contacting manufacturers and searching their websites. (2)
  • Find detailed information about drugs such as optimal dosages, indications, potential interactions, physiochemical characteristics, mechanisms of action and side and adverse effects by referring to labels and package inserts, consulting pharmacists and searching the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties. Analyse this information to prescribe appropriate medications to patients. (3)
  • Find information about pathologies, disorders, dysfunctions and treatments which are not familiar by consulting colleagues and searching a wide range of sources including textbooks, trade publications, dental and medical journals and websites. (3)
  • Find information about the legal and ethical aspects of dentistry including employment laws, legal standards for exposure to x-radiation, issues of confidentiality and access to patient information by third parties and patient-dentist conflicts of interest. Search government websites, read legal handbooks and journal articles, attend conferences and discuss with colleagues. Consult legal experts as required. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the suitability of dentistry materials for specific patients. Consider the strengths and limitations of each material and the particular needs and wishes of the patients. For example, a dentist may judge the suitability of using gold, silver, composite resin or porcelain for a patient's filling. The dentist must consider the colour, texture, strength, flow, stiffness and durability of each material but also the patient's preferences. (2)
  • Evaluate patients' oral health. Review patients' medical and dental history forms, referral letters and treatment records. Examine patients' teeth, jaws, facial bones, gums and surrounding tissues and interpret radiographs. These evaluations may lead them to the diagnosis of cavities, disorders, dysfunctions, malocclusions, anomalies, defects and life-threatening diseases. Treatment plans may be recommended as a result of these evaluations. (3)
  • Assess the effectiveness of procedures used to treat patients' mouths and teeth. For example, an orthodontist assesses the effectiveness of the application of braces to a patient's teeth. The orthodontist schedules frequent visits with the patient during treatment to verify tooth positioning and movement and regular visits up to two years after treatment to ensure there are no relapses. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of dental hygienists, dental assistants, receptionists and others working with them. As part of these assessments, determine the extent to which these workers have met expectations and adhered to established rules, procedures and schedules. These conclusions may lead to recommendations for further training, increased supervision, promotions and job task reassignments. (3)
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