Dentistry deals with the diagnosis, study, prevention, understanding and treatment of ailmentsand disorders that involve the oral cavity maxillofacial region and its associated structures.There are nine specialties within this branch of medicine including Prosthodontics, Orthodontics,Endodontics, Oral and maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Public Health Dentistry, and Paediatric Dentistry.
If you are passionate about becoming a dentist, there are plenty of universities abroad and some highly reputable dental schools that can help you achieve your objectives.
A dentist usually works along with a support team consisting of dental assistants who assist a dentist like a nurse would a doctor; dental hygienists who perform certain tasks like scaling polishing and preparing a patient for a procedure; dental technicians who create dental appliances; and dental therapists who can treat children's teeth and help maintain their oral hygiene.
Undergraduates can begin their careers as practitioners in government hospitals, industrial and corporate hospitals, andprivate nursing homes. However, a specialized degree at the postgraduate level opens up more career opportunities. Postgraduate degree holders in dentistry can either teach at universities and dental colleges or can set up their own private practice. Qualified professionals can also find plenty of career opportunities abroad in countries like the USA, the UK and Australia.
Some countries have regulating bodies such as the General Dental Council in the UK or the Dental Council of India in our country. You need to register with them to be able to practice dentistry privately or publicly in that country.
What to study
The first step towards becoming a dentist is obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university. The typical undergraduate degree to choose is in the field of science. After completing your undergraduate course, it is recommended that you apply to a reputed dental college or School of Dentistry. The duration of the course is usually four years during which you have the opportunity to specialize in a specific field or become a general practitioner. While attending dental school, you get to attend a number of lab classes and treat patients as part of the course requirements.
Another option would be to do a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Science (BDS), and then go on to a specialisation at the postgraduate level. The Master of Science degree in Orthodontics or the Master of Dental Science offered by universities abroad is for duration of two to three years.
To apply for a BDS degree, students will need to have completed 10+2 in Science with biology or chemistry.
Entry requirements for a master’s degree would be an undergraduate degree in dentistry or in other scientific disciplines. Some universities abroad ask for two to three years of clinical work experience.
Image courtesy by gameanna