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Dentists help people maintain good oral health. This includes prevention (oral hygiene instructions, cleanings, fluoride treatment), restorations (fillings, crowns, implants), and cosmetics (bleaching, veneers). What most people don't realize is that someone's smile can affect their confidence, their bite can affect how good food tastes, and so forth. So there's a lot more benefits to good oral health than being cavity free.
There are different dental programs that have different requirements. Some universities have a program that lets you go through college + dental school in 5-7 years, instead of the 4 years of undergraduate plus another 4 years for dental school. If you plan to apply to an accelerated 5-7 year program, then you would want the best grades you can get. It does not hurt to try to apply anyways. If you plan to go through the traditional route (4 yrs undergrad + 4 years dental), your undergraduate grades will be more important than your high school grades.
Determining whether all that school is worth it depends on your goals in life. As a dentist, you can be your own boss, set up your own office the way you want it, choose your own hours of work, etc. Or, you can work for another dentist, as an associate, where you get control of some but not all of the things I just mentioned.
The classes you will have to take will be the major science courses in college. This includes math, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics. Many dental programs have a list of courses they want you to take, so it's best to look at some of their websites to take a look.