Written by: Raina Palit, Dental Student Univ. of Sheffield

“I hate dentists!” is a comment we’ve all heard a thousand times. So why would anyone want to do dentistry?

This was a thought that had crossed my mind several times during work experience at a dental practice to help support my application to dental school. However, ultimately, several reasons overrode those negative aspects for me, and this is why I chose to be a dentist.

The BDS undergraduate dentistry degree in the UK is a 5-year programme that presents various challenges and rewards along the way. The most compelling reason why I continue to enjoy dentistry every single day is the privilege of helping another person, in often a life-changing way. Preventative dentistry encompasses a large part of the role of a dentist and involves educating patients to motivate and inspire them to look after their oral health. If you enjoy immersing yourself in a vibrant and diverse community of people, then dentistry will put you at the heart of that.

Oral health combines the unique aspects of function, health, and aesthetics; teeth are often what we notice first in another individual. This makes dentistry an incredibly interesting subject with several components to always consider when treating a patient. It really does show what you can do with a dental degree! The vast range of treatments that a dentist can carry out on a day-to-day basis still amazes me: from simple fillings to more complex root canal treatments and even placing implants. In this way, to me, a dentist is also a surgeon.

A lot of people compare a dentistry course and medicine, and they do possess many similarities, but dentists pave the way in combining healthcare, business, art, manual dexterity and continuity of patient care. These are all reasons that excited me to step into a profession that is ever-evolving, and patient-centred. As well as this, dentists apply sound knowledge in science to every decision made, making sure to utilise evidence-based research and guidelines to dictate treatment planning. As someone that always enjoyed sciences at school, I knew I wanted to combine this in my future career.

Some may see dentistry as a narrow field; however, this could not be further from the truth. Thirteen specialist lists exist on the GDC website including areas such as oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics, and restorative dentistry. Career progression and choices are plentiful, allowing you to be the type of dentist that you want.

At dental school studying for a dental degree, you will not only progress in your practical skills to treat patients but also cover the supporting theory in many different subject areas. A dentistry course is designed to make you a confident and compassionate clinician, aligning with the General Dental Council (GDC) values. If you are someone that thrives in a leadership position but also works well as a team, dentistry is a great option for you.

Being a dental student itself is also incredibly rewarding as you get given a huge amount of responsibility. You will have patients directly under your care with supervision from tutors and provide numerous treatments such as crowns, restorations, and dentures. Although it can be frustrating in the beginning when faced with a large amount of content to learn and difficult practical sessions, there is plenty of time to improve over the five years. Dentistry really does provide a stimulating, challenging and scientifically advancing career with the opportunity to work with people, learn for life, and maintain a good work-life balance. This is why I chose to be a dentist.

For further reasons to choose dentistry as a career, check out RainaOnTheCusp‘s YouTube channel.