What is it like studying dentistry?

The bad news:

  • Expensive

£9000 a year in the UK, more if you’re an overseas student.

  • Taxing and time-consuming

You will spend a lot more time in labs, lectures and on clinics than your fellow students and, oftentimes, more than the average medical student.

  • Intense

The terms can be long and arduous, up to 16 weeks; most of this time will be spent under one roof.

  • Heavily examined

Dentistry is probably the most examined course in the country, but exams tend to be spread across the whole year and not in a single block in June.

The good news:

  • Stimulating-

Dentistry is fast-paced. Before you know it you will be asked to apply your knowledge and you will do the majority of your learning by carrying out treatment on patients; this makes it a diverse and, at times, exciting course to study.

  • Varied

The material that we learn is an interesting mix of scientific theory and practical techniques, rarely are two days the same in a dental hospital.

  • Rewarding

It can be incredibly satisfying to deliver successful treatment and observe first-hand the happiness that you can bring through your work.

Courses vary somewhat between dental schools, but the general format tends to be:

  • Pre-clinical (years 1 and 2): Mainly lecture-based supported by lab sessions covering the basic principles of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and pharmacology.
  • Clinical (years 3, 4 and 5): Focus shifts to practical elements of periodontology, paediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, restorative dentistry and oral surgery but with heavy emphasis on oral medicine, human disease and ethics and law throughout.

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.
— Peter F. Drucker


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