Entry is competitive. You need to study for a degree in dentistry from an approved dental school, which usually takes 5 years. This gives you registration with the General Dental Council (GDC), which you need to practise as a dentist in the UK.
The Universities of Dundee and Glasgow offer the BDS in Dentistry.
For the University of Dundee, you need 5 Highers at AAAAB (first sitting) including Chemistry and one other science subject, plus National 5 English, Maths, Chemistry and Physics at B and Biology at A. For the University of Glasgow, you need Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry at BB, plus 5 Highers at AAAAB (at least AABB in fifth year) including Biology and Chemistry at A, and English and Maths or Physics. Glasgow will not consider applicants after fifth year.
Those who already have a degree in another subject can follow a 4-year Graduate Programme in dentistry at the University of Aberdeen.
Some dental schools also require work experience shadowing a dentist.
If you do not have the necessary sciences, Dundee University runs a Predental year – entry requirements 5 Highers at AAAAB (first sitting) including not more than one science subject.
Before applying to dental school you must sit the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). For entry in 2018 you must register and book a test before 19 September 2017 and sit the test before 3 October 2017. If you get an Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) you can apply for a bursary to cover the cost of the test. Check the website for further details at http://www.ukcat.ac.uk/
You will require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
You must undergo screening for blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis B and C or HIV.
Most dentists in Scotland are self-employed, working in general practice, doing a mixture of NHS and private work. There are also jobs in community dentistry, particularly in schools and in the armed services.
able to get on well with people from all backgrounds and of all ages
friendly and reassuring – patients may be anxious and in pain
confident to make decisions based on your specialist knowledge
able to work carefully and accurately with fine instruments
able to work alone and as part of a team
able to concentrate for long periods.
If you work in general practice you should have good business skills.
Once you have qualified and registered with the GDC, you must complete one year as a Vocational Dental Practitioner (VDP), under the supervision of experienced dentists. This is essential if you wish to work in the National Health Service (NHS).
Within the NHS you would go on to do Dental Core Training (DCT), which is a flexible training programme of one to three years.
If you decide to specialise in a particular area of work, you may need to do further training.
Throughout your career you must keep your skills and knowledge up to date through Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
You might decide to become a specialist in one area of dentistry.
You might work in a hospital, where complex treatment such as oral surgery is done.
In hospital you could move through a series of grades to become a consultant.
With experience you may move into teaching or research.
It can help to be able to move around the country.
You may be able to work abroad.
The University of Dundee offers a unique three day Dental Insight programme running every June. To be eligible for a place you must be an S5 secondary school pupil studying in Scotland, and be on track to achieve the minimum entrance requirements to study dentistry at the University of Dundee.
Students starting their dentistry degree from 2017/18 may be eligible for the new Dental Student Support Grant (DSSG). This provides £4,000 each year for those whose annual household income is less than £34,000 a year. They must commit to working in NHS Dentistry in Scotland after graduation. Full information will be available in August 2017 on the www.mygov.scot website.