How To Earn A Dentistry Degree: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Maintaining good oral health and hygiene is important for improving an individual's physical appearance and for maintaining their general health, so people value the dental profession. Dentistry can give you the opportunity to help people and it can also be financially rewarding. Learning about dentistry and how to earn a degree in the subject might help you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we explain what a dentistry degree is, describe why it is important, share how to get one and list the skills necessary to pursue a career in this field.

What Is A Dentistry Degree?

A dentistry degree is a professional qualification that is necessary to pursue a career in dentistry. Earning a degree can help you become a dentist and perform your duties successfully. A dentist, also referred to as a dental surgeon, is a licensed doctor specialising in dentistry. Getting a dental degree can aid you in the proper diagnosis, prevention, care and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. Dental training is available as a five-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course, which comprises four years of academic study and one year of clinical experience as an intern.

After completing your degree, you may then choose to specialise by studying for a diploma or certification or opt to pursue a master's in dental surgery. This may help you increase your experience, specialise and raise your earning potential.

Related: How To Become A Dentist (With Multiple Career Options)

Why Is A Dental Degree Important?

The healthcare system is changing due to the increased demand for high-quality, convenient medical services. The demand for highly knowledgeable healthcare professionals is increasing. Maintaining or improving oral health is a concern for people living in metropolitan communities. Since a BDS is a professional degree, earning one can give you a variety of career options.

Graduates with a BDS can opt to work in the public or private sector. They can choose to work for the Indian Railways, the Defence Service, or the state governments. Hospitals, dental clinics, pharmaceutical firms, and companies that produce dental products often hire BDS graduates as dental experts. You could even open a clinic and start your own private practice. A dental degree is important because it provides you with a licence to practise as a dentist and increases your employment options.

Related: 25 Dental School Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

How To Earn A Dentistry Degree

Listed below are some steps you can take to earn a degree in dentistry:

1. Complete your 10th boards

Consider starting your exam preparation at least three months before the first board exam. This provides you with enough time to gain a complete understanding of all the subjects and review all the information you have learnt. Continue to revise your notes and reinforce what you have learnt during the month before the tests. Preparing well for your exams might help you score a higher percentage, which is necessary for gaining admission into a reputed college and taking the required subjects in your senior secondary (10+2) from a recognised education board.

Related: How Much Does A Dentist Make? (Career, Trends And Salary)

2. Enrol in 10+2

Dental colleges only permit students with a 10+2 certificate from a recognised education board and an affiliated college to enrol in undergraduate (UG) courses. Students can prepare for advanced courses in dental school by acquiring a working knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry. Therefore, when studying for your 10+2, it is important to opt for these subjects and get good marks. Candidates who want to study dentistry require a minimum of 50% aggregate in their 10+2 examinations.

Related: 18 Commonly Used Dental Tools (With Tips On Maintenance)

3. Prepare for entrance exams

It is important to prepare for the entrance exams. It is compulsory to pass these exams and only students who succeed may gain entry to dental schools. To gain admission to a reputable medical institution, you may prepare for the medical college entrance exams throughout your higher secondary education. You might even have private tutors or enrol in coaching institutes that help candidates succeed in entrance exams. After passing your 10+2 finals, all candidates take these mandatory National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-UG exams conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

Related: How To Write A Dental Resume Objective In 3 Easy Steps

4. Pass the entrance tests

All candidates wanting to join medical school require a pass with qualifying marks in the mandatory entrance exams, such as the NEET-UG exams conducted by the NTA. Dentistry is one of the most rewarding career options, so many aspiring medical candidates may wish to join this profession. Due to the limited number of places available in medical and dental colleges, competition may be intense so you may want to make intensive preparations.

Only students who earn high scores on the entrance tests may be able to secure themselves a place at their preferred dental college, as cut-off scores are typically high.

Related: How To Write An Objective For A Dental Assistant Resume

5. Complete your UG studies

A UG dental degree course lasts for five years. This professional medical programme consists of four years of academic education and one year of rotational internships. Dental hygiene, oral pathology, periodontics, orthodontics, pharmacology and radiology are among the subjects covered in this UG course. In their final year, students complete a practical internship in which they diagnose and treat patients under the guidance of dental professors. Completing your BDS UG degree earns you a licence as a medical professional specialising in dentistry. You can apply for jobs or establish a dental clinic after earning this degree.

Related: Writing An Orthodontist Resume (With Template And Example)

6. Study for your master's degree (optional)

While most dentists begin their careers straight after receiving their UG degree, you might opt to specialise in a particular area of advanced dentistry. If you have also completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree, you can pursue a postgraduate (PG) programme after passing the NEET-PG exam. Alternatively, you may decide to study for the NEET-MDS exams. After your UG degree, it is necessary to complete three more years of study if you want to become a specialist.

As an alternative, you might enrol on a short certification or diploma course to update your knowledge and become an expert in a particular area of dentistry.

Related: 7 Types Of Dentists (With Salaries And Requirements)

Important Dentistry Skills

Here are some of the key skills that are necessary to succeed as a dentist:

  • Communication: As a dentist, you might discuss medications and technological developments with other dentists and dental nurses in your workplace. You may often use your effective communication explain test results, treatments and preventative actions to patients in terms they can understand.

  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail is important to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the appropriate course of treatment. This ability is also necessary when shaping, colouring and aligning teeth.

  • Dexterity: Dentistry frequently involves working with tiny, sharp tools and other dental equipment. You require dexterity to move your hands and fingers expertly to complete activities if you want the patients' teeth to align perfectly.

  • Adaptability: As a dentist, you may encounter a wide variety of patients every day, including children, the elderly, the disabled, patients with various medical conditions and patients who are anxious about going to the dentist. To give each patient the utmost consideration and attention, it is beneficial to keep your treatment plan flexible when possible.

  • Decision-making: Dental clinics typically administer routine dental procedures, but as a dentist, it is also your responsibility to treat dental emergencies. By developing your decision-making skills, you can manage staff, business-related problems and dental emergencies.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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