A variety of career pathways are open to new dental graduates. The final career for many graduates is general practice, although a minority may aim to be a consultant in the hospital dental service, a senior clinical academic in a teaching hospital, or a specialist practitioner.
Invariably newly qualified graduates will enter practice by way of a vocational training scheme. Vocational Dental Practitioners (VDPs) work in a general practice under supervision and have a day release course of lectures and demonstrations building on the undergraduate degree and giving instruction in all aspects of practice management. After this year, successful VDPs can begin work as an associate in a practice, later starting or purchasing their own practice.
A further group of newly qualified graduates may enter the community dental service where the emphasis is on the prevention of dental problems in the community and looking after priority groups such as those with medical problems, the elderly or young children.
The King’s dental degree programme, in line with General Dental Council recommendations, incorporates the latest thinking in dental education – early clinical exposure, an emphasis on ideas as well as facts, integrated teaching of all subjects with an emphasis on a systems approach, and a dimension of choice of special subjects by the student.
The integrated nature of the programme means that basic science teaching will relate to clinical practice and clinical teaching will be underpinned by scientific understanding. You will have contact with patients from the first few weeks of the first year and will be encouraged to assume an appropriate level of responsibility for patient care at an early stage. The programme emphasises whole patient care, which implies consideration of the patients’ total dental and medical needs, rather than just the provision of items of treatment.
Most of the teaching is carried out in small groups where students and staff get to know each other well. The fact that the Institute is the largest in the country with a total intake (for all programmes) of 164 students brings many advantages, including expertise in all areas of dentistry.
While preparing you for a professional vocation, a degree in Dentistry involves studying healthcare, clinical techniques and the properties and uses of dental materials. Dentists need a detailed knowledge of the structure and function of the body, particularly the head and neck, as well as an understanding of how the rest of the body functions, and the disease processes that may affect it. See each programme entry for further details.
For the standard five-year programme, the majority of your first three years will be spent at the Guy’s Campus where biomedical sciences are taught alongside applied dental science. In the last two years students divide their time more evenly between the Guy’s and King’s Denmark Hill campuses. Final-year students will also visit the St Thomas’ Campus and the new Outreach Centre at Portsmouth University.
Any offer of a place at King's is subject to satisfactory health clearance coordinated by our Occupational Health Service. This is:
- to ensure that you are medically fit to practise for the proposed course of study;
- to advise, where necessary, on any reasonable adjustments, so that any underlying health problem is not made worse by work;
- to ensure that you do not have a medical condition which could pose a risk to your safety or to that of your colleagues, patients or members of the public;
- to help us identify if there is a risk of developing a work related illness from any hazards in the proposed workplace.
It is recommended that all students are appropriately protected against chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella (German measles), meningitis C and tuberculosis prior to enrolment. Also, the Department of Health has recently published new guidelines for healthcare workers. These guidelines recommend that all new healthcare workers involved in exposure prone procedures (EPPs) should be routinely tested for HIV antibody, in addition to hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis C antibody prior to receiving health clearance. Consequently, as well as needing to have blood tests for hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis C antibody, as a prospective dental student, King's now require you to have a blood test to determine your HIV antibody status.
The final health clearance decision on your admission to (or continued enrolment on) the programme will be decided by the Dental Institute based upon recommendations from the Occupational Health Service.
Applicants with disabilities/ special needs
King’s is keen to encourage applicants from all sections of the community, including those with disabilities/special needs. If you are thinking of applying and you have a disability or health condition, you are welcome to visit King’s for an information visit before you apply.
As the dental programmes lead to professional registration, in accordance with General Dental Council guidance, students with disabilities can be admitted provided their disability would not prevent them from completing all parts of the dental programme and thus restrict their dental practice to certain activities. When you tell us about a disability/special need, it will not be considered in the main selection procedure.
If you are offered a place and accept it as your firm choice you will be referred to Occupational Health who will make a formal assessment, as part of the normal Occupational Health appointment and clearance. The Dental Institute will make a final decision based on their recommendations. Any details on your disability/special needs will assist the College in providing support during your programme.Criminal Records Bureau Clearance
All offers of a place, and continued enrolment, are made subject to a satisfactory Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure, and registration with, and clearance by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. All applicants are required to declare on their UCAS form if they have any spent or unspent convictions, cautions or reprimands.