After studying science subjects at school, including Biology and Chemistry, you should study for a Dentistry BDS. Dentistry is a caring profession and you may have to reassure nervous patients or treat small children, so the ability to empathise and build rapport, a calm, friendly manner and good communication skills are essential.
You should enjoy working as part of a team; as a dentist you will work with other dentists, dental nurses, technologists, dental hygienists and dental therapists.
Other important skills include:
- good manual dexterity
- acute eye for attention to detail and colour vision
- ability to offer advice and educate others
- ability handle stress and pressure very well
- good organisational and leadership skills.
The dental profession offers interesting and varied career options – after your five year undergraduate degree which includes clinical training and patient treatment, you could choose a career in:
- General practice: graduates undertake Dental Foundation Training working under supervision with day-release lectures. They then can work as an associate in a practice, and later start their own practice.
- Industrial companies, in Government service and in the Armed Forces where cadetships leading to commissions are available.
- NHS services: where the emphasis is often on the prevention of dental problems in the community and looking after priority groups – people with special needs, older people, pregnant women and young children.
- A hospital specialty or a practice-based specialty, undertaking a master’s degree and further training, leading to becoming a consultant and/or clinical teacher.
- Clinical academia and research, which will initially require studying for a PhD.
Visit the open day of a university that offers Dentistry and attend the subject talk. This will give you insight into the BDS programme and the chance to hear from current students.