Study Dentistry: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Embarking on a journey to study dentistry in the UK is a decision that opens doors to a rewarding and impactful career in dental medicine. This comprehensive guide is your compass through the intricate landscape of dentistry education. Whether you’re a prospective dental student or simply curious about the path to becoming a dental professional, join us as we explore the essential facets of studying dentistry in the United Kingdom.


Table of Contents

What is Dentistry?

Dentistry is a branch of healthcare that focuses on taking care of our teeth, gums, and overall oral health. Dentists are like doctors for our mouths. They help us maintain healthy smiles by cleaning our teeth, fixing cavities, and making sure our mouths are in good shape. They also help with things like straightening teeth and even replacing missing teeth with artificial ones. So, in a nutshell, dentistry is all about keeping our mouths healthy and our smiles bright.

Why Study Dentistry?

Studying dentistry can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for several compelling reasons:

  1. Helping Others: Dentists play a crucial role in improving people’s lives by ensuring their oral health. You’ll have the opportunity to alleviate pain, prevent dental issues, and give people the confidence of a healthy smile.

  2. Job Stability: The demand for dental services remains consistent, providing a stable job market. People will always need dental care, which means you’re likely to have job security.

  3. Financial Reward: Dentistry can offer a financially rewarding career. Dentists often earn a competitive income, and many have the potential to run their own practices, which can be financially lucrative.

  4. Independence: Many dentists have the option to run their own practices, giving them a sense of independence and control over their work environment and patient care.

  5. Continuous Learning: Dentistry is a field that constantly evolves with new technologies and techniques. If you enjoy lifelong learning and staying up-to-date with advancements, dentistry offers that opportunity.

  6. Respected Profession: Dentists are usually highly respected members of the healthcare community. You’ll be part of a profession that is trusted and valued by society.

  7. Personal Satisfaction: Making a positive impact on your patients’ lives can be personally satisfying. Seeing patients smile with confidence after your treatment is rewarding.

It’s essential to note that studying dentistry requires dedication, a strong academic foundation in science, and excellent manual dexterity. However, for those passionate about oral health and helping others, the benefits of pursuing a career in dentistry can make the journey highly worthwhile.

Best Universities for Dentistry in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

RankInstitutionEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionResearch QualityContinuationGraduate prospects outcomesGraduate prospects on trackOverall Score
1University of Dundee2284.513.3996.696.0100.0100.0
2University of Glasgow2324.423.4894.
3Newcastle University1694.243.51100.098.0100.099.5
4University of Bristol1703.903.55100.0100.096.099.4
5Queen's University Belfast1754.403.53100.
6Cardiff University1813.683.39100.
7University of Manchester1693.373.5899.296.0100.098.7
8University of Sheffield1653.873.4999.2100.098.098.3
9University of Plymouth1774.623.01100.0100.0100.098.1
10University of Birmingham1714.053.3699.498.098.098.0
11University of Leeds1613.543.50100.0100.098.097.8
12King's College London, University of London1712.953.6498.698.090.097.5
13University of Liverpool1574.293.37100.
14Queen Mary University of London1733.903.3399.388.096.096.0
15University of Central Lancashire1343.923.00100.

Entry Requirements for a Dentistry Degree

Entry requirements for dentistry programmes in the UK can vary between universities, but there are general guidelines and standards that most programmes adhere to. Here are the typical entry requirements:

  1. Academic Qualifications:
    • A-levels or Equivalent: Most dental schools in the UK require A-levels in chemistry and biology, and some also require physics or mathematics. These subjects are typically essential, and you should achieve high grades.
    • Scottish Highers or Advanced Highers: In Scotland, Highers or Advanced Highers in relevant subjects are usually required.
    • International Baccalaureate (IB): Some universities accept the IB diploma with specific subject requirements, often including chemistry and biology at a higher level.
  2. Grades: Competitive dental programs often require high grades in the required subjects. As a guideline, you should aim for A* or A grades in A-levels or equivalent.
  3. Admissions Test: The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) is often required as part of the application process. These tests assess your cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and scientific knowledge.

Jobs for Dentistry Graduates

Dentistry graduates in the UK have several career paths and specialisations to choose from, depending on their interests and expertise. Here are some of the main career paths within dentistry:

  1. General Dentistry: General dentists provide a wide range of dental services to patients, including routine check-ups, cleanings, fillings, and preventive care. They are often the first point of contact for patients seeking dental treatment.

  2. Orthodontics: Orthodontists specialise in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. They use braces, aligners, and other orthodontic devices to straighten teeth and improve bite alignment.

  3. Oral Surgery: Oral surgeons perform surgical procedures related to the mouth, jaw, and face. This may include tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and corrective jaw surgery.

  4. Endodontics: Endodontists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases and conditions of the dental pulp and root of the tooth. They often perform root canal therapy to save damaged teeth.

  5. Periodontics: Periodontists specialise in the treatment of gum diseases and conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth. They perform procedures such as scaling and root planing and may also place dental implants.

  6. Prosthodontics: Prosthodontists are experts in the restoration and replacement of missing or damaged teeth. They design and fit dental prostheses like dentures, crowns, bridges, and dental implants.

  7. Paediatric Dentistry: Paediatric dentists, or paedodontists, provide dental care to children and adolescents. They focus on preventive care, early intervention, and making dental visits comfortable for young patients.

  8. Academic and Research Roles: Some dentists choose to pursue careers in academia and research. They teach at dental schools and conduct research to advance the field of dentistry.

These are just some of the career paths available to dentistry graduates in the UK. It’s important to choose a path that aligns with your interests, skills, and career goals. Additionally, further training and specialisation may be required to pursue certain dental careers beyond general dentistry.

Dentistry Graduates Employment Trends

Dentistry is a highly vocational degree and this is reflected in the destination data of graduates. Three quarters of dentistry graduates (74%) in employment in the UK are working as health professionals and 3% are health associate professionals.

Salary for Dentistry Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 


Topics for Dentistry Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of dentistry and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

    1. Dental Implants and Bone Health: Explore the latest advancements in dental implant technology and their impact on bone health and longevity of dental implants.

    2. Oral Cancer Prevention and Early Detection: Evaluate current methods for oral cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment outcomes. Consider the role of patient education and awareness campaigns.

    3. Dental Materials: Investigate the development and testing of new dental materials, such as bioactive composites or antibacterial coatings, and their potential applications in restorative dentistry.

    4. Pediatric Dentistry: Study the effectiveness of preventive measures, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments, in reducing dental caries in children.

    5. Orthodontic Advances: Explore recent advancements in orthodontic treatments, including the use of clear aligners, and their impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction.

    6. Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health: Investigate the links between periodontal disease and systemic health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy outcomes.

    7. Teledentistry: Assess the use of teledentistry in providing remote oral health consultations, especially in underserved or remote areas.

    8. Dental Anxiety and Fear: Explore strategies for managing dental anxiety and fear in patients, including the use of relaxation techniques and virtual reality interventions.

    9. Dental Ethics and Patient Rights: Investigate ethical dilemmas in dentistry, such as informed consent, patient autonomy, and the dentist’s role in balancing patient interests and professional responsibilities.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Health Sciences
  • Pharmacy
  • Biomechanical Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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