A dentist is a highly qualified health professional dedicated to oral health and hygiene. To be a fully qualified dentist, you will need to undertake both undergraduate and postgraduate dental education.
This page answers the following questions about dentistry:
- What makes a good dentist?
- Where can I study dentistry?
- What are the entry requirements for dentistry?
- What is the training for dentistry?
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What Makes A Good Dentist?
A good dentist needs to have the right physical abilities as well as personal skills. Take a look at our checklist to see if you’re up to the challenge:
- Good eyesight and colour vision. There is a lot of precision work involved in dentistry.
- Manual dexterity. Once you’re a practising dentist, you’ll need to be able to confidently work with medical instruments in delicate areas.
- An interest in and ability to acquire scientific knowledge, particularly about the human anatomy and oral disease.
- Confidence in offering advice and educating patients about their oral health is a key part of the role.
- Patience and compassion. Unfortunately, a lot of people are scared of the dentist! It’s your job to convince them there’s nothing to worry about.
Where Can I Study Dentistry?
If you think you can meet the above criteria, it’s time to start looking at dentistry courses.
The following Universities offer GDC-approved undergraduate dental courses:
Dundee, Aberdeen, Liverpool and King’s also offer accelerated courses, which you can apply for if you already have a relevant bachelor’s degree.
Cardiff and Manchester both offer pre-dental courses for those who do not meet the normal entry requirements.
King’s also offers an Enhanced Support Dentistry Programme for students from selected ‘widening participation’ schools. Check the King’s website and prospectus for detailed entry requirements.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Dentistry?
There is intense competition for places at Dental School. Most ask for at least 3 As at A-Level, often in relevant sciences.
If you don’t have the grades, you can look into doing a pre-dental foundation course. These are offered by some Dental Schools in order to widen access to the profession.
Each school will have its own entry requirements, so it is best to look at their website and prospectus to help you make your decision.
You can also look into other dental care professions that require less intensive training:
What Is The Training For Dentistry?
Undergraduate dental degrees usually last 5 years, and consist of academic work as well as theoretical and practical training.
Then you must complete your postgraduate training, which can have two stages:
- Dental Foundation Training (DFT). This is at least one year spent in primary care, and will allow you to complete the compulsory Vocational Training required by the General Dental Council (GDC).
- Specialist training can then be undertaken by those who want to work in hospital dental services. You will spend time in a hospital gaining experience of the various dentistry specialities.