For students interested in the college pathway, guidance counselors said that the medical field is an area that continues to offer employment opportunities after graduation.
Dentistry is an option for those interested in the medical field and with West Virginia continuing to rank as one of the worst states for dental health, that leaves plenty of opportunities for dental professionals. The WVU School of Dentistry has inaugurated a new postgraduate program in “Periodontology and Dental Implant Surgery.” This new program trains dentists to become specialists in preventing and treating gum disease and in the use of dental implants.
“Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs worldwide in 50 percent of the population, including West Virginia where we are unfortunately the top of the list in the prevalence of diabetes and smoking which which are the most important factors that leads to gum disease,” Dr.Gian Pietro Schincaglia, director.
Healthier gums and teeth improve the overall health of a patient, often times lessening the severity of diseases like diabetes and Morgantown native Kerri Simpson said she chose to continue to plant roots in north central West Virginia to help improve the quality of dental health of its residents.
“We also get to perform surgeries that can help people actually function better so maybe people who have a lower denture can’t eat as well so we can place implants and help with that and to see a patient for the first time be able to eat is amazing,” Kerri Simpson, periodontal student.
Dentistry is one of the highest paying professions in the country and the U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment of dentists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Right now, there are five periodontists in West Virginia, but with the rise of gum disease in our state that means that more West Virginians are likely to lose their teeth which means that the state needs more periodontists.