Dental laboratory professional hard at work

Guide to Alternative Careers for Dentists

Looking to change your dentist career path? Consider these other jobs in the dental field.

For many professionals, the dentist career path is very straightforward: complete dental school, gain a few years of experience as an associate, establish or purchase a dental practice, and dedicate the next few decades to providing exceptional dental services and patient care. However, some individuals find themselves unsatisfied with the general dentist route and begin looking for other jobs in the dental field.

If you have found that you belong in that second group, this guide to alternative careers for dentists was created with you in mind. Read our list of non-clinical jobs for dentists and decide which dentist career path is right for you.



Also known as “practice management advisors,” dental consultants are certified by the American Association of Dental Consultants to guide new practices through the first stages of their launch or simply increase revenue in an already established office. Their major functions focus on management (time, marketing, personnel, etc.), patient care, general office efficiency, and financial performance.


Closeup view of dental equipment used for patient care



Professionals with experience providing dental services have a lot to offer dental product manufacturers. The expertise gained throughout your time as a general dentist can be invaluable for marketing and product development. You might even consider starting your own business, selling cosmetic dentistry products and/or dental care equipment.



This is one of the non-clinical jobs for dentists on this list that demands extensive experience and an exceptional eye. If you have both, then you can help practices earn the accreditation that insurance companies and states require. Or you can use your skills as a member of an accreditation agency and evaluate dental offices on quality of care and level of patient/practitioner safety.


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There are several opportunities for dental professionals interested in joining an insurance company. They may verify insurance claims, consult in disputed claim cases, or engage in scientific research and analysis for the company. Note that this job requires strong interpersonal skills, as clients may be stressed or uncooperative.


Military/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Healthcare

If you wish to continue providing patient care while moving out of a traditional general dentist setting, consider seeking a position with the military and/or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These groups offer healthcare to current and veteran military personnel and their families. This wide range of patients may present significant challenges, especially as patients may return from service with complex and diverse dental health issues.


Public Policy

Take a detour from your dental career path to help write the guidelines and standards of care states require in the future. If you are interested in politics or legal regulations regarding dental services, public policy may be the perfect fit for you. Those involved in public policy development work with state departments of health and/or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to guide and establish regulations and legislation.


Dental instructor training students on how to perform a patient examination



Moving into the educational arena may be the solution for individuals searching for alternative careers for dentists who possess strong communication skills and are enthusiastic about preparing the next generation of students. Professors often provide hands-on instruction utilizing a dental school’s resources, and so have the benefit of maintaining a working knowledge about current dental technologies and patient care procedures.


Clinical Research & Product Development

Two opportunities for getting involved in research are new product testing and oral health research. Product testing is usually performed by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, while the epicenter of dental health research is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other places to look for research jobs include government institutions, universities, and private corporate research centers. When considering a research position, verify whether the specific opening requires additional training, and if so whether the institution offers the training or if you need to complete it elsewhere.


Forensic dentist reviewing dental records


Forensic Dentistry

This is one of the few – if not only – jobs in the dental field where you can help put criminals behind bars. Forensic dentists— or, “forensic odontologists”— work with law enforcement to analyze dental records in order to identify suspects from bite marks, human remains, and missing persons. This position requires certification from the American Board of Forensic Odontology.


Online Patient Advising

Telemedicine is an excellent opportunity for dental professionals looking to move away from face-to-face patient care. Many websites that provide medical services or patient consultations employ professionals who can converse with clients via live chat sessions. These positions offer flexible hours and, frequently, the opportunity to work from home.


If you’re looking for alternative careers for dentists that still involve working in a traditional clinical environment, you might be more inclined to consider entering one of the nine specialty dental fields than any of these options. No matter where your dentist career path takes you, you can find your next dream job on iHireDental.


By Erin Coursey, iHire | February 11, 2019
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