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Career profile: Dentist

dentistThinking of becoming a dentist? Get the lowdown on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train.

A what?

Dentists are health care professionals who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of problems that affect the mouth and teeth.

On the job

The work requires concentration, scientific ability and steady hands. Dentists have a range of responsibilities from diagnosing and correcting potential dental problems to treating diseases and decay.

Some of the tasks a dentist might carry out in a day are, taking x-rays, giving anaesthetics, drilling decayed teeth and fitting crowns or dentures.

Course entry requirements

For entry to standard five-year degree programmes, applicants will usually need five GCSEs plus three A-levels (including two sciences) at grades AAA to ABB. Chemistry and biology are required in most cases.

Applicants with non-science A-levels can apply for medical degrees with the additional pre-dental year. These courses are six years in length.

Always check entry requirements with the institution of your choice as entry levels may vary.

What does the training involve?

Becoming a dentist involves undergraduate dental education of at least five years study at dental school, followed by one or two years of postgraduate dental education or vocational training.

These first two stages all a dentist to take up a post. From then on they are expected to continue professional education and development right up to retirement.

Related links

(Information taken from NHS Careers)