Dentists work with people in the community to help people maintain good oral hygiene by way of preventative methods and clinical treatment. A dentist may work for the NHS or a private clinic, and will treat problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. They would also fit dental appliances such as bridges and fillings.

University course

There are various universities around the country offering degree courses in dentistry. You would need to attain a bachelors degree (BDS or BChD) from an approved educational institute, which would typically last about five years. One such course is the Dental Surgery BDS course at Newcastle University.

Education pathway

In order to get on to a dentistry degree course you will need to have a minimum of five GCSEs (A-C) including mathematics, english and science, after which you will need to ascertain three A Levels. Subjects taken will need to include mathematics and one science. Most universities will only accept students who have gained a grading of AAA or ABB in A Levels. You would then be able to partake in a dentistry degree, which would give you a firm grounding in science and dentistry, after which you will ‘shadow’ more experienced practitioners in order to learn valuable skills.

Work experience

If you were to gain experience in a dental clinic during your time at college then this would clearly show to universities that you are serious about dentistry. Work experience will be a fundamental part of your dental degree, in which you will at first ‘shadow’ a practitioner to learn key skills, before taking on your own patients.

Career pathway after graduation

Once graduated, you will need to register with the General Dental Council to ensure your professional development. Vocational training with an approved dental practice is typically the next step after graduation. You can then join a dental practice and work as an associate. Once enough experience is acquired you may choose to become a partner at a dental clinic or possibly open your own clinic. Many dentists branch into cosmetic dentistry which is more artistic and lucrative. Many dentists undertake extensive postgraduate educaction and undertake several dental courses in different aspects of dentistry.