Like its close cousin medicine, dentistry is one of the most lucrative and rewarding careers that students with an interest in healthcare can pursue. In fact, 95% of dental graduates find work within six months of leaving university, with 99% finding work within the first year.
However, like medicine, setting out on a career in dentistry involves a lot of hard work, time and dedication. Read on to find out what skills you need and how you can get started.
What is Life as a Dentist Like?
Depending on the patients booked in, a dentist’s day can consist of anything from normal checkups to full extractions, fillings or denture fittings. If you specialise in a certain area of dentistry you may also take specialist referrals or take part in surgeries.
A normal day tends to be nine-to-five, but many dentists continue to study throughout their career, so you will need to take into consideration time spent on research, writing academic papers or taking further courses.
What Skills Do I Need?
Dentists need to have a special blend of both scientific and people skills. An interest in biology and chemistry is crucial, as well as an analytical mind, while patience, understanding and good communication are all essential for giving your patients the best care and treatment.
How Do I Get Started?
A career in dentistry starts quite early, by choosing the right subjects at GCSE level.
At A Level, Chemistry and Biology are usually essential, while taking Maths and Physics alongside these subjects will ensure you’re eligible for all dental courses in the UK. Most universities will also be looking for three A’s at A Level.
If you don’t have the right qualifications however, don’t panic; many universities also offer pre-dental courses for those starting late or looking for a career change.
Once you’ve gained a place at university, expect five years’ worth of training, including anything from lectures, coursework and exams, to practical work experience and research projects to gain your BDS or BChD.
Once you’ve qualified, you will have to register with the General Dental Council before you can start working as a professional dentist. As with all science-based careers, the rapid pace of research and innovation also means that your training and education is never really over, and you’ll most likely need to keep studying throughout your career as technology and knowledge moves forward.
What Other Dental Specialties Are There?
Many dentists go on to specialise in one area and you can choose from a whole range of dental specialties, from maxillofacial surgery to periodontics, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry or forensic dentistry – the examination of dental evidence.
Can I Work as a Locum Dentist?
Absolutely. As with many professions, dental practices often require short- or long-term temporary cover and dental locum positions often tend to be very well-paid – due both to the flexibility and high level of qualifications needed. Locum dentists are in high demand at the moment and you can expect to receive anything from £350 to £450 per day plus expenses, depending on your experience.
If you’re interested in a career in dentistry – either as a Dentist, Dental Nurse, Hygienist or Practice Manager – please get in touch with our specialist recruitment consultants to discuss our current vacancies, or upload your CV today to register your interest in relevant jobs.