An initial dentistry course is a 5 year degree course within a dental school at a university or other institution of higher education.
The entry requirements for such a course are 5 good GCSEs and 3 A Levels, 2 of which should be in scientific subjects such as biology or chemistry. A/S Levels and Scottish equivalents may also be accepted in some cases, although applicants should check for confirmation of this directly with their chosen dental school. For those students without a scientific background, there is a 12 month pre-dental course that may be completed prior to commencing the degree.
For entrance to over 50 per cent of the UK’s dental schools, the applicants will also be expected to sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which aids an institution when selecting applicants for a medical or dental course.
Graduates of a biology or chemistry based degree also have the opportunity to complete an accelerated 4 year dental course, where it is offered, but again the applicant should discuss this potential opportunity with the institution directly to confirm the details.
A dental course culminates in a period of supervised employment within an established practice where the individual will be referred to as a VDP or vocational dental practitioner.
This vocational period lasts for a minimum term of 12 months.
Additional dentistry courses are available for the qualified dental surgeon, dental technician or dental auxiliary to increase their expertise within the profession or further their careers.
Examples of such courses are; implant courses, orthodontic courses, cosmetic dentistry courses, restorative courses, teeth whitening courses, dental hygienist courses and practice management courses.
The majority of dental courses combine a combination of academic work and practical work and the course length and prices can vary considerably, dependant on the subject and institution hosting the dental course.