courses typically require five years of study, followed by further training whilst working. This training is further extended if you want to specialise
in a certain area. For this reason, it’s vital to ensure that Dentistry is the right career for you before you apply to Dental School
What is Being a Dentist Like?
Dentistry is a career unlike any other. It’s a challenging career path in which you will be treating patients even during your degree training. What’s more, for the right individuals, Dentistry can also be extremely rewarding.
To a certain degree, studying Dentistry ties you to the career path of being a Dentist. Whilst many Dentists work within the NHS, it is also possible to work privately at a later stage in your career.
It is vital to understand the realities of being a Dentist. These include how long you’ll be studying for, the lifelong learning commitment of continual professional development, and the practicalities of the work that Dentists do on a daily basis.
Similarly to Medicine, Dentistry combines scientific knowledge and problem-solving with patient interaction. In addition to this, Dentistry is a hands-on career that requires high levels of manual dexterity and perseverance to develop the required skills. Combining these skills allows Dentists to make an impact in people’s lives; whether it’s alleviating the pain of a carious tooth or giving a patient an aesthetic smile through orthodontic appliances.
On the flipside, Dentistry can be stressful. It often involves working to tight deadlines, treating anxious patients and sometimes dealing with situations where you are unable to help.
One of the best ways to decide whether Dentistry is the career for you is by doing some Dentistry work experience.
What Skills Does a Dentist Need?
There are certain skills and qualities that make a good Dentist, which include:
- Communication skills
- Academic knowledge
- Detail-oriented approach
- Comfortable with close patient contact
- Time-keeping skills
- Personable, with empathy for patients and ability to build a rapport
- Stress management
- Commitment and passion for the career
- Trustworthiness and honesty
- Ability to follow regulations
What is the Dental School Application Process?
Applying to study Dentistry is a challenging process that involves many steps. These are:
- Deciding on Dentistry – to ensure that Dentistry is the right path for you
- Doing Work Experience – to strengthen your application and understand what being a Dentist involves
- Choosing Dental Schools – deciding where you want to apply
- Writing your Personal Statement – to explain why you want to study Dentistry
- Completing your UCAS application – applying for four UK Dental Schools through the UCAS system and submitting your Personal Statement
- Sitting the UCAT – a good score in the UCAT is required for entry to most Dental Schools
- Sitting the BMAT – certain Dental Schools require the BMAT instead of the UCAT
- Passing the Dentistry interview – if Dental Schools are impressed with your application, they will invite you to interview
- Getting into Dental School – if you receive an offer after interview, you’ll need to meet the A-Level grade requirements specified in your offer to secure your place at Dental School
Are There Other Options in Healthcare?
If you are interested in healthcare but you aren’t sure about becoming a Dentist, you might be interested in pursuing a career in Medicine or another Allied Health profession.