Pursuing a career in Dentistry

If you have ever thought of a future career that provides a facinating mix of creative ability and surgical skill, plus a balanced lifestyle and rewarding patient care, Dentistry could be the right challenge for you.

School Education

Three A levels in biology, chemistry and physics with two A grades and one B grade will get you short listed for an interview at one of the university dental schools. A proven track record with the use of your hands with intricate attention to detail will be noted. I had served an apprenticeship in sheet metal engineering which appeared to gain more attention than my four A levels. An additional proactive interest in the arts is considered favourably.

University Education

Dental Schools are located in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. London has 3 schools including Guy’s at London Bridge, King’s at Denmark Hill and The London at Whitechapel. The provinces include the well established redbrick universities of Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. Recent new additions include Southampton and Plymouth.

The first year involves joint lectures with the medical students involving anatomy including human dissection on cadavers, physiology, and biochemistry. The second year includes General and Oral Pathology, Microbiology, Dental Technology and Material Sciences. The final 3 years are devoted to supervised clinical activities on willing patients. An extraordinary situation whereby a person allows someone to practice and develop their skills with a drill rotating over 300,000 times a minute in their mouths.

The General Dental Practitioner

After successful passing of the exams a Bachelors degree in Dentistry is awarded by the University followed by mandatory registration with the General Dental Council. In fact to practice dentistry without registration is a criminal offence. This is then followed by a mandatory period of supervised clinical activity in general practice for one-or two years before the practitioner is able to become an independent principle. Approximately 35,000 general dental practitioners are currently registered in the UK.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Clinicians have both medical and dental undergraduate degrees and focused upon major head and neck surgery including trauma, developmental anomalies such as cleft palates and lips and the management of cancer of the head and neck. Many of these clinicians gained an initial degree in dentistry which helped finance the return to complete their medical studies. A long 8-9 year stint of undergraduate study before securing their first job.


Another dental specialisation led to the formation of Orthodontists who were dedicated to the movement of teeth and to rearrange their positions with the use of braces and fixed appliances to provide a more pleasing appearance with the patients’ smiles. Traditionally, the vast majority of this work was performed on children but in recent years, this is now universally carried out also on adults.

Restorative Dentistry

Most recently, a third major specialisation in dentistry has led to the development of Consultants/Specialists in the field of Restorative Dentistry which also includes Prosthodontics, Periodontics and Endodontics. These Specialties involve restoration of damaged and missing teeth, treating gum disease and damaged nerves in the roots of teeth.

Are you considering a career in Dentistry?

Toby Talbot is offering you the opportunity for an informal chat on your career, call 01225 426222 on Mondays between 8-11am.

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