Dentistry is a vocation. Like medicine, it has a very difficult application process. In the UK you are required to sit the UKCAT exam the summer before you apply (UCAS applications for medicine and dentistry typically close in early October). This exam tests your ability to work under pressure, solve puzzles and test your judgement. There are a lot of prep books and websites to help you with this. Work experience is very important for applying to dentistry, it is crucial to reflect on it in your personal statement, so try and stand out from the crowd!
It is a competitive course as there is a 15:1 application-to-place ratio for undergraduate dental schools here in the UK. It’ll show that you’re willing to take on new challenges and can be used to show how your skills have developed. Sports can build your teamwork skills and help manage stress. Volunteering in a care home, hospice, or charity can build your rapport with those being cared for or provided for. If you have paid work, reflect on your experience of teamwork, or response to difficult situations. Coming along to one of our post-mortem events is a unique opportunity to write about in your personal statement and it’ll also help get you prepared for dealing with the anatomy of the head, neck, and torso! Read news or dental journals about developments in dentistry or the NHS.
See if you can talk to dental professionals – not just dentists, dental hygienists, nurses, and radiographers, about their experiences. Talk about what you’ve learned in your application, and how it’s influenced or motivated you.
Dentistry is a very worthwhile career as you are positively making an impact in your patients’ lives by improving their oral health. Albeit stressful to study, once you have graduated from dental school you typically will have a better routine than medical doctors as shift work is rare in the dentistry world. Dentists are highly employable once they have graduated with their 5-year degree. They can start work immediately in a dental surgery earning a good salary. There are also opportunities to specialise and continue your education later in life. Studying dentistry does not mean you are only dealing with the teeth.
Throughout your studies, you will be studying the anatomy of the head, neck, and chest so be prepared for the work you will be facing! Dentistry courses are typically very practical, and you will be meeting with patients from your early years of university. This is great exposure and will help prepare you for the real world.
Dentists are needed everywhere so you will be guaranteed a job once you have graduated! It is a career to consider.