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How to become a dentist

Becoming a dentist is a time-consuming and expensive process, but it is an interesting, varied and well-paid career. Dental care is not just about pulling teeth, but educating the public to care for their mouths and teeth. This article will show how to become a dentist and how long it takes.

University

Undergoing dental training Anyone who wants to pursue a dentistry career has to undergo the same dental training. Degree requirements are a bachelors degree (either a BDS or BChD) from one of the UK's 13 approved dental schools. Requirements
For entry to standard five-year degree programmes, applicants need five GCSEs plus three A’ levels (including two sciences) at grades AAA to ABB. Chemistry and biology are required in most cases. Applicants with non-science A’ levels can apply for dental degrees with an additional pre-dental year. These courses are six years in length. Course syllabus
Applicants already holding a degree can be considered for entry onto five-year standard degree courses. They will normally need to hold an upper-second class degree and must usually also have A level grades close to an institution’s standard requirements.
Courses include academic education combined with theoretical and practical training in all aspects of dental practice. Subjects studied include a wide range of health, biological and behavioural sciences, as well as clinical skills.

Further training

Registration and undergoing training Upon graduation, students must register with the General Dental Council and undergo a year’s vocational training, where they will provide NHS general dental services under supervision in an established dental practice. Practice as an assistant Following vocational training, dentists usually enter an established general practice as an associate or as an assistant.
For those who want to work in a hospital, there is additional practical training in a hospital. Continuing education As with the majority of health care professions, dentists have to undergo continuing education throughout their career, to learn new techniques and treatments as they are developed.

Professional development

Dentist education continues through their practising life.
As well as vocational training, dentists can do specialist training in how to become an orthodontist or dental surgeon.
Cosmetic dentistry Another area which is becoming more popular is cosmetic dentistry.
Once a qualified dentist has worked in an established practice to gain experience, they may want to set up on their own, either becoming a practice owner or becoming a partner.

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