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Tips For Pursuing A Career In Dentistry!

If you’re considering a career in dentistry, you’re in the right place, as we’re here with some tips to help you pursue it! Whether you’re still at school and weighing up your options, or you’re in a different career and are considering a change, we’ve got you covered. From work experience tips to finding a mentor and identifying your dentistry career path, the road to working in dentistry may not be easy but it is a fantastic career that can be highly rewarding. 

Choose The Right A Levels

First up, if you want to pursue a career in dentistry, particularly to become either a dentist or dental surgeon, it’s important to choose the right A Levels. Most often, a combination of the three sciences—biology, biology, Chemistry and physics—is preferred, with math a good addition. As a minimum, you should do biology and chemistry, then one further traditional subject. Choosing this combination just sets you up to ensure that nothing will hold you back when you’re applying to universities. 

Find A Mentor 

Our next recommendation would be to find a mentor to help guide you in the right direction. Becoming a dentist or working in dentistry isn’t easy and it takes a lot of time and hard work to get there. So, having someone who has been through it to help you will be really valuable. Reach out to local dentists and see if there is anyone who would be willing to help you, or you may know connections through family and friends and could find someone that way. It might be a qualified dentist, although we think that someone who is going through what you are, but just a few years ahead, is even more valuable, as they’ll have the latest advice to help you. This could help you with your dissertation through general advice. Just make sure that once you’ve started your career successfully, you’ll return the favour! If you’re already at university, sometimes they will have mentoring schemes in place with older students helping younger students, so make sure to ask about this if you’re struggling.

Consider The Different Career Paths Within Dentistry

While this article has mostly focused on becoming a dentist or pursuing a path that you need a degree for, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of other career options that don’t require 5 years of training. You could become a dental nurse, where you can complete your degree alongside your job and sometimes a practice will support you, or if you remain a trainee dental nurse, you don’t need a degree at all, although you won’t be paid as much. Dental hygiene is another great career path, which you do need a degree for but it’s not usually as long as a full dentistry degree. Dental technicians create things like dentures, crowns and bridges. Again,  you will need a dental technology degree but that isn’t as long as a dentistry degree and it’s a great career path with lots of opportunities.  

Think About The Pros and Cons

It’s really important to consider the pros and cons of dentistry when you’re preparing for a career in it. While there are plenty of pros, including a good income, working with people, transforming people’s confidence, variety, changes in technology, sociable working hours, creativity and demand, there are also cons. You need to commit a good portion of your time to education, which costs a lot of money, so this is important to think about to ensure you’re able to get your financial life back on track afterwards. It’s also a highly responsible job to be in charge of someone’s health and deal with challenging patients and those who have fears, so it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  

You’ll also have to deal with unpleasant oral health problems quite often, so it’s not a job for the squeamish. Sitting down and thinking seriously about all of the pros and cons is an important part of preparing for a career in dentistry, to help you make an informed decision. 

Focus On Getting Work Experience

Our next piece of advice is to focus on getting as much work experience as you can. Not only does this look great on your applications, but it’s also extremely practical in helping you decide whether or not dentistry is for you before committing to a 5-year course, along with helping you decide if there’s a specific area that one day you’d like to specialise in. You can also learn so much from this, from experienced dentists as well as just how practices run and function, which is a really important thing to understand for the future. 

It will also give you great talking points for university interviews and it will show you’re truly dedicated. We’d recommend trying out a few different types of dentists, from a general dentist in Birmingham to a cosmetic dentist in Sheffield, as all of them will show you slightly different perspectives, which will be useful. Spend some time emailing different dental practices, asking for work experience or shadowing; we’re sure many will have opportunities to help inspire the next generation of dentists.

Author: amy-jones