Dentistry is all about looking after those pearly whites. Like all other medicine related courses, it’s crucial in preventing the decline of human health. As well as being an essential vessel for the consumption of nutrients, the mouth can also showcase the first symptoms for illnesses such as heart disease and – in some cases – cancer.
As a result, it is vital that the UK has a number of skilled dentists who can offer a wide range of treatments – from tooth whitening and fillings to administering X-ray treatments and anaesthetics.
If you are looking to pursue a career in dentistry, then you’ll have to attend an accredited dentistry degree programme (known as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, or BDS) at University.
The majority of dentistry courses will last for a minimum of 5 years, and they are very intensive programmes of study. In your first (and often second) year, you will be expected to attend lectures on a daily basis as well as learn through a series of seminars and tutorials. There will also be a number of different modules for you to pass – so expect a lot of examinations and written work as well as your practical assessments.
As you progress towards your final year, you’ll start to have more contact time that focuses on patient care. In your final years, the emphasis will be less on acquiring academic knowledge and more on refining your clinical practice skills (in this way, dentistry is structured similarly to medicine).
Unlike many other courses, the majority of dental programmes will not offer flexible non-compulsory study modules. Instead, the course will be rigidly structured to cover the core topics all dentists are required to have knowledge of (including the likes of oral health maintenance, diagnosing oral diseases, clinical competence, reflective practice and scientific understanding and analysis).
If you have good communication skills and a natural flair for science (and maybe even something of an artistic streak), then dentistry could be the perfect subject for you. It’s a specialist subject which requires a wide range of skills (no matter what people say, it’s a heck of a lot more than filling teeth all day), and it’s an industry that is constantly developing and expanding.
Oh, and it pays well. Which is never a bad thing, is it?
Becoming a fully qualified dental surgeon is not, unfortunately, a speedy process, and even after your 5 year degree you’ll have to undertake a further year’s vocational training (as a minimum). This is called Dental Foundation Year 1 and, on the plus side, you’ll no longer be a poor student (in fact you’ll be earning a tidy £30,132 salary, no less).
If the idea of clinical practice no longer appeals, though, don’t despair – becoming a dental surgeon isn’t your only available path, and a number of graduates go on to find work within charitable establishments and health organisations, taking control of healthcare initiatives or collecting and analysing market research.
Why study here? High-quality teaching, world-leading research, and a £200 million investment in a compact, friendly campus with an unrivalled position in read more
Why study here? Awarded 'Top Modern University in the UK' and 'Top University in Scotland for graduate prospects' by The Times Good Universities Guide read more
Why study here? Buckinghamshire New University (Bucks) is a friendly, vibrant place to study. Founded in 1893 as the School of Science and Art. We now read more
Why study here? Cardiff Metropolitan University offers the opportunity to study in one of Europe's most dynamic and cosmopolitan capital city read more
Compare against all the unis listed above.