How to become a dentist – Step by Step Guide

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Pain. Excruciating pain. An everlasting excruciating pain! Yes, that’s how most of us would define a toothache. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound.” That’s how miserable most of us feel right?!

But thanks to science, technology and the empathetic saviours around us whom we call dentists- these real-life tooth fairies use their scientific knowledge and tools to perform the wizardry that relieves us from all types of dental pain and gets us back our smiles. Making us happy just like everyone else ‘with sound tooth’. It’s very true when they say, ‘Dentists make the world a better place one smile at a time.’

Do you aspire to be a dentist or are you just exploring the field? In either case, you’ve come to the right place! This blog discusses the skills required, colleges and courses, salary, and what else it takes to become a dentist. Follow the step-by-step guide in the blog to become a dentist.

Who is a dentist?

Dentistry is a profession concerned with the treatment of health issues affecting the mouth, teeth, gums, and other soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Dentists assist people in maintaining their appearance and health.

How to become a dentist?

Step 1: Stream to select

To become a dentist, students should select the Science stream and take Biology as one of their subjects. Dentistry, as a largely science-oriented discipline, is heavily rooted in biology, and knowledge of biology can prepare students for dental school courses.

Step 2: Certification courses and project courses

The certification courses listed below can help you become a dentist.

  • Introduction to Dental Medicine
  • Implant Dentistry
  • The Oral Cavity: Portal to Health Disease
  • Digital Biomaterials
  • Become a Dental Assistant
  • Purpose-driven dental assisting
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Oral Mucosal Conditions
  • Form and Function of Oral Cavity
  • Intraoral and Extraoral Structures
  • Common Dental Diseases
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Restoring Implants
  • Everyday fixed prosthodontics
  • Everyday endodontics
  • A complete guide to Rubber Dam
  • Dental Radiography: Radiation Protection in Dental Practice
  • Dentistry 101
  • e-Den

Step 3: Educational qualifications

Students must first complete a bachelor’s degree in dentistry (BDS or BChD).

How to become a dentist after 10th?

After 10th, students can visit their local dentists to speak with them and ask them questions or concerns about the profession. Students can also strive to improve their communication skills by studying English, public speaking, and even regional languages, as communication with patients is very important in dentistry.

How to become a dentist after 12th?

In India

Candidates must have a minimum of 50% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology in their class 12th exams. Before applying to dental schools, candidates must first pass the NEET-UG (National Eligibility and Entrance Test).

Dentistry is a popular course among medical students, with fierce competition. The cut-off marks are usually very high, and students must score well on the NEET exam in order to be admitted to their preferred dental college.

UG courses to become a dentist in India:
CourseDurationFees
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).5 years (4 years + 1 year of compulsory paid internship).₹3,00,000 to ₹38,00,000
Top UG colleges to become a dentist in India:
RankName of InstitutionLocation
1Manipal College of Dental SciencesUdupi
2Dr D. Y. Patil VidyapeethPune
3Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical SciencesChennai
4Maulana Azad Institute of Dental SciencesDelhi
5King George`s Medical UniversityLucknow
6A.B.Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental SciencesMangaluru
7Manipal College of Dental SciencesMangaluru
8Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and ResearchChennai
9SDM College of Dental Sciences & HospitalDharwad
10SRM Dental CollegeChennai
Source
Abroad

In (most) European countries, a Dentistry degree is not available for both Bachelor’s and Master’s study. After high school, you enrol directly in a dental school/faculty, and depending on the country, it takes five or six years to complete.

Before applying to a dental school in the United States, you must first obtain a Bachelor’s degree (in any field), after which you can take the DAT, or Dental Admission Test.

UG courses to become a dentist abroad:
CourseDuration
Bachelor of Dentistry5 years
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)4 years
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)6 years
Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)4 years
Bachelor of Dental Medicine3 years
Top UG colleges to become a dentist abroad:
Name of InstitutionLocation
University of GothenburgSweden
University of Michigan-Ann ArborUnited States
The University of Hong KongHong Kong
King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU)Japan
University of California, San FranciscoUnited States
Harvard UniversityUnited States
University of BernSwitzerland
Karolinska InstitutetSweden
University of ZurichSwitzerland
Source

Step 4: How to prepare for the job?

Talk to and shadow dentists: One of the best things you can do to investigate a career is to spend time with people who are already in that field. Often, the best place to start is with your own family dentist. Talk to your friends and family to see if anyone knows a dentist and would be willing to introduce you. See if you can shadow in a dentist’s office and increase your experience and understanding of the field of dentistry.

Pursue meaningful extracurricular activities: If you choose to work in clinical dentistry, you will be interacting with and providing healthcare to patients on a daily basis. Many people will come to you with painful dental issues. Pursue meaningful extracurricular activities that give you experience working with the public to help you develop the skills you’ll need to serve others.

Keep working on your hand skills: The majority of dentists have bimanual dexterity. One should learn to play an instrument, participate in a sport, or knit, for example.

Internship: After passing the final BDS Examination, every candidate will be required to complete a one-year rotating internship in a dental college.

Private practice: Most dentists open a private clinic on their own or in collaboration with other dentists. But how does your business operate? How do you make money? The Clever Harvey- JuniorMBA Entrepreneurship programme answers these questions by teaching you to think like an entrepreneur. Try it out for yourself!   

9 most important skills for becoming a dentist

  • Patience
  • Strong and clear communication skills
  • A methodical and thorough approach
  • Focus and concentration
  • Manual dexterity
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Teamwork skills
  • Updated knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • To be thorough and detail-oriented

Salary of a dentist:

In India

An entry-level Dentist with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an annual compensation (tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of ₹290,161.

Source

Abroad

The following are some entry-level dentist salaries from around the world.

CountryAnnual Salary
United States$122,232
Belgium81,670 €
Finland84,107 €
Denmark742,928 KR
NorwayKR 956,533
Netherlands€56,160
Japan¥16,302,05
Iceland13,711,004 ISK
France72,483 €
Italy€49,132
Sources: 1, 2

Top 10 recruiters in India

  • Sabka Dentist
  • Star Dental Center
  • Aspen Dental
  • Pacific Dental Services
  • Orthosquare
  • Cigna
  • Toothsi
  • DentalOne Partners
  • Dentsply Sirona
  • Pediatric Dentistry

Source

Top 10 recruiters abroad

A hippo dentist cleans and inspects a hippo's mouth.
Hippo dentist! [Source]
  • Aspen Dental
  • Heartland Dental
  • Pacific Dental Services
  • Smile Brands Inc.
  • MB2Dental Solution
  • DentServ Dental Services
  • Western Dental Services
  • Great Expressions Dental Centers
  • Enable Dental
  • Gentle Dental

Source

More about dentistry?

If you’ve arrived at this point in the blog, it can only mean one thing: you like dentists and may one day become one yourself! As a bonus, a few Instagram accounts of a few dentists and dental enthusiasts are included here. Check them out and have fun exploring more!

Check out Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA Entrepreneurship and FutureCEO programs to start your own practice

  • @Sfdentalnerd
  • @Doctorseay
  • @Drscottmaclean
  • @Dentinaltube
  • @Central_ohio_oral_pathology
  • @Drpareshshah
  • @Topdentalpractices
  • @_naoki_hayashi_
  • @David.Wong.Dds  / @Plaquechyna
  • @Spongebobdentalmemes

Becoming a dentist takes many years of dedication, focus, and hard work, but by planning ahead of time, you can make your own path to dentistry much smoother. Best wishes on your path to becoming a dentist and spreading many smiles!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many years does it take to become dentist?

Ans: A BDS degree takes 5 years to complete, while an MDS degree can take up to 3 years.

Is Neet required for dentist?

Ans: Students must take and pass the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in order to be admitted to the BDS programme.

Is becoming a dentist HARD?

Ans: The years of schooling required, the financial cost of education and setting up a dental practice, and the competitive dental school application process all make becoming a dentist difficult.

What are the qualifications to become a dentist?

Ans: A bachelor’s degree in dentistry (BDS) will be required.

Is becoming a dentist worth it?

Ans: Dental school is expensive, but dentists are well compensated. They can be well-paid for doing something they enjoy and providing a service that allows them to have a significant positive impact.

What should I do after 10th to become a dentist?

Ans: After 10th, complete 10+2 in Science with BiPC subjects. Students choose Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) courses after the 12th, which is a 5-year undergraduate degree programme and one of the accredited dental courses after the 12th in India.

Is BDS easier than MBBS?

Ans: Both MBBS and BDS are equally difficult and simple.
An aspirant must study anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology as part of the MBBS course curriculum in order to understand everything about the human body in depth.
The basic course curriculum of BDS has been designed to help students gain a thorough understanding of the teeth, oral cavity, maxillofacial region, and surrounding structures, as well as a fundamental understanding of the various forms, functions, and common ailments of the human body as a whole.

Is becoming a dentist harder than becoming a doctor?

Ans: Dental school is more intense due to the focus on the head and all of its anatomy and physiology.

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