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Work Environment

Because most dentists are in private practice, they are free to set their hours and establish offices according to their individual tastes. Most dentists work from four to five days a week, many times averaging 40 or more hours. They spend about 90 percent of their time treating patients. The beginning dentist must set aside expensive decorating plans in favor of suitable equipment, but most dentists' offices are designed to be pleasant and comfortable. Dentists may have dental assistants, hygienists, or laboratory technicians, or they may carry out the special duties of each themselves. However, there is a growing trend to leave simpler tasks, such as teeth cleaning and other duties, to dental hygienists and assistants, so dentists have more time to perform higher-paying procedures, such as root canals.

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