These degree courses usually take up to five years of full time study, eventually leading to a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree (BDS). Dentistry is a fast developing profession, with much competition for available university places, both of these are factors which make it hard to gain entry to it. For those that do persevere, are accepted onto a dentistry degree course and successfully complete it, the financial and long term career benefits are great.
It’s estimated that over 90 per cent of dentistry graduates walk straight into a job, the vast majority of them going on to become general dental practitioners. Those that do not do this, go into other careers in the NHS hospital service or the community dental service. There are a number of specialist careers available for dentists who wish to undergo specialist training and work in a hospital environment. The main specialist areas are Orthodontics, Paediatric Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry and Surgical Dentistry.
Whatever field of dentistry an individual enters, academic education in this field is recognised as a lifelong experience and continuing education is very much a part of the professional development of being a dentist.
Dentistry degree course overview
The course focuses on developing clinical skills and supporting knowledge as well as an understanding of how the human body works in health and disease. Students will be taught all areas of clinical dentistry, including clinical medicine, patient management and health promotion, and biomedical sciences such as anatomy, physiology and microbiology.
During their course students will be required to attend and be based at a ‘Dental Education Centre’, where they will have a opportunity to put to practise (under supervision) the skills they have learnt, by treating patients. This stint will include periods of returning back to the classroom to learn more complex procedures. Typically in the third year students start to attend clinics at local hospitals, where they get to see at first hand and understand the various specialities in dentistry. In their final years, many universities require students to work in enhanced training practices where they have their own surgery and nurse.
Health requirements for dentistry students
Due to the nature of the work and the subject, it is vital that every precaution is taken to ensure that dental students are protected from infectious diseases that could be contracted from their patients. In this regard it is a requirement that candidates for any degree courses show evidence of immunisation against hepatitis B and non-infectivity for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Some universities also require students to go through separate Fitness to Practise procedures. For clarification on this point prospective students should check with the university they are applying to confirm what their requirements are.
Typical course modules and areas of study on a Dentistry degree
Adult restorative dentistry
Crown and bridge
Minor oral surgery
Oral Diseases and Pathology
Oral Medicine and Surgery
Law and Ethics
Dental Public Health
Students will learn about
Dental and oral diseases and disorders.
Up-to-date facilities for patient care.
The management and treatment of patients.
Head and neck anatomy
Preparation for the provision of sedation
DENTISTRY PERSONAL STATEMENT
Below is a professionally written dentistry personal statement. You are advised not to copy it word for word, but to instead use it as a guide.
Dentistry personal statement example 1
I am organised, motivated person who can remain calm and work well under pressure either as a part of team or alone. I am capable of meeting tight deadlines and I am committed to self improvement, learning and adapting to changing times and situations.
Reasons why I want to study dentistry
Dentistry appeals to me mainly because I want to work in a medical profession where I can form long term relationships with my patients. In this field I will get a chance to work closely with people, on a face to face basis, and as many dental patients tend to stay with the same dentist for long periods, I will get to know them for a considerable amount of time. I will also enjoy the satisfaction of treating many patients almost entirely myself, unlike other healthcare professions where patients are treated by a team of professionals, i.e. doctors, nurses, hospital visits etc. I will get a chance to make a big, real and positive difference to the lives of some people.
Another reason for choosing this career is that as a profession you are very much in control of your life. If you become self employed, as many dentists do, then you can pretty much choose the hours you work, this flexibility appeals to me greatly.
The technical side also appeals to me too, I like the science behind it, the engineering and medical skills involved in treating patients successfully. I saw this at first hand during my work experience, where we worked with the latest medical equipment, and there was always a new challenge, and never a dull day.
I would also be lying if I didn’t say that I am attracted by the prospect of a very secure job, and the potential of a long term financially rewarding career.
Over the summer months I have been actively acquiring related work experience by working as a assistant in a local dental surgery, which offered a full array of high-quality dental services to patients. This period of employment gave me a different perspective into the profession, I observed how the latest computerised dental software was used in treatments, how patients were assessed in teh surgery, and saw the methods used to promote good oral hygiene. My own personal duties included making sure that patients were comfortable and fully informed about their treatment, accurately completing patient clinical records and ensuring that the clinical area and equipment was as clean, tidy and sterile as appropriate.
I walked away from the experience with an increased understanding of the latest advancements in the field of dentistry, including pain management, dental anaesthetics, and an ability to work on my own or as part of a team.
As a individual I feel that I have a calm, reassuring manner, good communication skills and the ability to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds. As a bit of a perfectionist, I’m always looking for ways to improve myself, and I thrive on positive feedback and really appreciate it when people comment positively about my work.
On a more practical level I posses other practical traits which are essential for dentistry, able to work with my hands, good eyesight, manual dexterity, together with the ability to concentrate for long periods of time and the communication skills required to clearly describe complex procedures to patients.
I am totally committed to becoming a dentist, and will always strive to" go that extra mile" achieve my ambition. All my experiences to date have convinced me that this is the profession for me, and I feel so lucky that I have an opportunity to study for a career I've always wanted to do.
Why I’m suitable for your course
I feel that my strong scientifically background, coupled with my commitment, reliability and a keen interest in promoting good healthcare, all make me a suitable candidate for a dentistry course at your university.
Why study at your university
Your universities dental course stands out from other similar programmes because of its high reputation in the dental field, its commitment to enhancing a students employability, and the welcoming and supportive system it provides to candidates. I am also excited to be part of your new way of teaching that was more patient focused. I have also chosen your institution over other dental schools because it offers new state-of-the-art facilities and because it teaches practical skills from day one. "