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Dentistry guide

With great graduate prospects and starting salaries, Dentistry is a very lucrative field to be in.

Close-up portrait of a female patient at dentist in the clinic


  1. What's Dentistry?

  2. Why study Dentistry?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Dentistry graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Dentistry?

Dentistry is the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease and disfigurement in the mouth and oral area.

Serious dentistry requires numerous different roles working together at once. The dentist themselves, but also a number of reinforcements: dental assistants, nurses, hygienists, technicians and therapists.

Similar courses for Dentistry include: 

  • Clinical Dentistry 
  • Clinical Veterinary Medicine & Dentistry 
  • Pre-clinical Dentistry

Why study Dentistry?

Dentistry, like any other medical degree or profession, has the feelgood factor. You're changing lives for the better, learning how to keep people in good health.

Order our Dentistry subject table by the Graduate Prospects measure and you’ll see students enjoy a virtual guarantee of ending up in professional jobs within six months of graduating.

Average salaries for dentists working within the NHS range from just under £40,000 to over £80,000 a year. Other salaried posts exist in the armed forces and corporate practices. In NHS trust hospitals, dentists are paid according to nationally defined scales. Salaries at consultant level can reach over £100,000 a year. 

Dentistry degrees allow you to practise at local surgeries, with at least a year dedicated to practical work.

Dentist examining child teeth in dental clinic

What jobs can you get as a Dentistry graduate?

As well as being a dentist, you can have a private practice speciality or choose dental nursing instead. Areas such as research and charity healthcare are also options.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Dentistry graduates, such as BUPA and the NHS.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need?

Entry requirements vary at each institution, but usually high A Level grades (or equivalent) in Biology and Chemistry are needed.

Other useful subjects are Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics. You may also be required to take a UKCAT or BMAT.

Grades and requirements vary between institutions. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BDS Dentistry
  • BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy
  • BSc Veterinary Studies (Dentistry)
  • BDS Dentistry with foundation year

How will you be assessed?

If you study Dentistry, you'll need to know complex medical techniques and terminology, so be prepared for a lot of exams.

In support of this, there are practice exams and written coursework essays. The practical community work you do will also be carefully monitored.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include postgraduate diplomas, master's and doctorates in the subject, such as a three-year MSc in Clinical Studies, Endodontics, Primary Dental Care or Aesthetic Dentistry.

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