Dentistry is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disfigurement and disease in the mouth and oral area – it isn’t solely about pearly whites and laughing gas. Teeth are important within the study of dentistry, but it involves more than our gnashers. The area of dentistry also includes Nurses, Hygienists, Dental Assistants, Therapists and Technicians.
Similarly to other medicine-related courses it is related to human health, as well as being an important part of survival, the mouth can display primary symptoms for serious illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Dentistry requires hard working and intelligent candidates and can be a tough profession to gain access to. Top universities, Russell Group Universities, will ask students to have AAA or equivalent in science subjects, such as biology and chemistry.
Students are advised to check with their university and desired courses to ensure they understand the UCAS entry points for their course.
Individuals wishing to pursue a career in dentistry will need to attend an accredited dentistry degree programme, known as a Bachelor’s of Dental Surgery (BDS) at university, however, there are Bachelor’s of Science degrees available for those wishing to pursue a career (as mentioned above) related to dentistry but not to become a fully qualified dentist. Degree courses include BDS Dentistry, BDS Dentistry with foundation year, and BDC dental hygiene and therapy and BSc veterinary studies (dentistry).
Accredited courses in dentistry typically take five years to complete, and students who are completing a foundation year prior or as part of the course should expect to complete within six years.
The majority of dentistry degrees will be intensive programmes of study and students will throughout their first and second years to attend lectures on a daily basis, as well as learn through a series of tutorials and seminars – (Learn more – University terms glossary).
Due to the heavy workload candidates should expect to complete written examinations and practical assessments alongside their module work and coursework. Towards the final year, modules begin to centre on patient care, and during the final years, studying may focus on refining practical clinical skills instead of academic knowledge in preparation for employment.
Choosing a degree course in Dentistry tends to be structured to cover the core topics all dentists are required and expected to pass to become qualified, making dentistry different from other degrees where students are typically allowed to tailor their degree to their specialised pursuits.
Students will acquire the skills to apply theoretical and practical elements of dentistry and health care to provide treatment for patients. Candidates may even perform treatments during their final year which will be a different learning experience than the beginning of their degree.
Individuals will learn anatomy, neuroscience, metabolism and homoeostasis, cell biology, respiratory, physiology and cardio biology – therefore a love affair for science and all things health will benefit studies.
Dentistry involves a minefield of examinations for students to pass during each year of study. However, there will be opportunities for practice or mock exams and coursework essays to aid students throughout the course/
Dentistry will provide candidates with an extensive list of practical skills and techniques within the world of mouth and oral care – which there are too many to list. However, those interested in the skills gained can gain an insight into the skills learned with the study options above.
Dentistry will appeal to those interested in health, problem-solving and hard work as it isn’t the easiest of degrees to obtain.
Employers will be looking for candidates who can collaborate with other healthcare professionals and hardworking for patients as well as the company. Communication skills and a natural flair for science would benefit dentistry students, who wish to become a member of an industry that is constantly expanding and evolving.
Dentistry graduates tend to have high employability rates as they are not only fully qualified but also hard working and completed five intense years of university. Also, society will always need dentists; therefore, the demand for dentists will never cease.
However, those who wish to enter a different career sector upon graduation can find work within charitable establishments, health organisations, or a member of market research.
Dentistry will offer students the opportunity to gain experience in the field which is vital for employment and training. Studying this subject provides individuals with the tools needed to become fully qualified.
Graduate prospects within this area range from working with private practice speciality, dental nursing, research, charity health care as well as becoming a dentist.
For candidates wishing to continue with their studies, postgraduate study options include diplomas, Doctorate qualification and Masters within endodontics, clinical studies, aesthetic dentistry and primary dental care.
Mark Spitz, who is the owner of a record-breaking seven gold medals during the 1972 Olympic games, was accepted into dental school but decided to pursue swimming instead!
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