The best way into Dentistry for a mature student. Watch

scaredofuni
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#1
What is the best way into Dentistry for someone who would be a mature student?!
I'm 20 years old with no experience in Dentistry, but I am interested in becoming a dentist. At the moment, I'm not looking at getting straight onto a dentistry course at university because I do not have the qualifications for it yet.
I was wondering if anyone had any advice on which route to take as an older student. I know the options that are available to me, i.e. doing A levels, doing an access course, doing a dental course with a foundation year etc. At the moment I have a good set of GCSE results.
It would be great if anyone had found themselves in a similar situation, even if unrelated to Dentistry and had any advice? Thanks
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James77
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Hi, Im doing the same as you, Im older than you at 28 and have never before done anything in dentistry, What I am doing is enrolling on an Access course at my local university and taking the relevant subjects needed. Doing an access course is not A level but is A level equivalent, and also spending time doing work experience shadowing with a dentist, its often better to get work experience at more than 1 practice and not always just with a dentist, maybe with hygienist and orthodontist as will give you a fuller rounded knowledge of all aspects of dentistry work, plus always ask questions and take notes.

I called my local university and explained the situation and have an appointment with a careers advice tutor.
Access courses you study 2 subjects at GCSE level 2 and take 3 A level equivalents (level 3) alot of universitys they differ slightly in what you take, but as long as you take biology, and chemistry at A level.

Also firstly I would recommend giving the Unis that do dentistry or wish to apply to in the future a call and discuss entrance requirements and your situation. (Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield all accept Access students.) Then give your local uni or college that does access to HE courses a call and let them know what you want to do etc.

That is one option and the way I am doing it, hope is of some help. Although Im doing dental Hygiene/therapy
Cheers.
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scaredofuni
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Thanks for the advice James. It will be beneficial in the future. How did you approach the dental practises that you are doing work experience with?
I think calling up the uni's is my best place to start off. Then I’ll be able to make up a plan of what route to take. I was thinking about doing a dental nurse apprenticeship and applying for a foundation degree. What do you think of that?
Happy New year anyway!!!
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James77
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No problem, The best way is to just go into a practice, often it can be hard getting past the receptionist in some cases, If you can - try and get it with younger dentists ( theyre often more friendly and know you need work experience as they had to have it too) Writting a letter does not often get a reply, so best to approach personally, I did a little time earlier this year just to see if I liked it but was only for a couple of hours, I need much more than this so will be approaching more dentists in the new year.

If you do go the Access course way, Alot of people on the course will drop out - alot are older folk with kids/work etc and find it difficult to juggle their time, although doing an access course is demanding and fairly intense its well worth it and worth sticking it out, its like doing 3 A levels all in 1 year instead of 2 years! You are probably aware you can choose to do it full time in 1 year, or part time which is over 2 years. Access to HE diplomas are valid for 3 years.

Alternatively, you could try to get a job as a trainee dental nurse, and then get qualified with NVQ I believe? followed by an access course (although this isn't always needed but have read a lady who had the nursing quals but didnt get in until she did a access course as just that wasn't enough), Im not too sure on this 100% as to becoming a dentist, but I know as a dental hygienist you need to be a dental nurse 2 years then take the dental nursing exam plus 2 A levels. (If you decide not to do an access course) Im a little vague on this though as I want to be a Hygienist and not sure if its similar for you wanting to become a Dentist. - I'd definetely ask the Unis about the foundation degree.
I have considered becoming a Dentist, but unfortunetely Chemistry is not a strong point for me! A friend of mine is a dentist and she said it is tough at Uni and a long road and alot of stress but well worth it in the end, she has been a qualified dentist 2 years now.

But yes, definetely in the meantime, Give a few Unis a call and then make plans on how you want to go about it according to what they say or you need to have Or have a look on their websites under the dental school entrance requirements

Happy new year!
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scaredofuni
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I'm probably going to ask at Liverpool Dental Hospital because I've got an appointment coming up there. I'm sure at a hospital they would be glad of extra help. I can only ask though I suppose, if they say no they say no.

So to become a dental hygienist/therapist you have to have A levels, or take an Access course? It must be the same for somebody wanting to become a dentist then mustn't it. It makes sense, because a foundation degree is 6 year, so you must just be doing something similar to an Access course in the first year.

I've read in another thread that a hygienist/therapist can go on to become a dentist. So thats a route that is open to both of us isn't it.
Basically I think it is a few universities offer an 18 month course for hygienists who want to become dentists. It sounds like it just tops up you quals.
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James77
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Dental Hospitals are a great place to do work expereience, or also local community dental clinic. We dont have adental hospital near here so Im doing my Work experience in clinics and might give the community dentist a call.

To be a hygienist you need to either be a dental nurse for 2 years with cert in dental nursing plus cert in 2 other subjects like sedation or radiography and A level in 2 subjects pref one in science
Or can have A levels in 2 subjects and 5 Gcse graded A-C, Alternatively an Access course, alot of Uni's seem to vary though a little on the entrance requirements, but generally you dont need so many to do the hygienist/therapist, courses, they are 27 months long on average.
Yes you can go on to be a dentist afterwards aswell, I have also heard it is 18 months, but I think it depends if you get a BDs or Dip in hygiene.

I havnt looked into routes to becoming a dentist so much, but I guess as a mature student and with doing a access course, it is equivalent to people going in straight out of school with Gcse's and A levels, as Access courses are the same, just for older people. Or people like me who didnt do A levels and went to work instead. Also I know alot of unis do like older students who have gone back to school as it shows a determination and maturity plus some life experience and wanting to get there later in life, which is a quality they are after.
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scaredofuni
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I'm defiantly going to try to get some work experience in the Dental Hospital here in Liverpool then! It seems the best place to start off.
You're a great help James! Thanks!

I defiantly agree with you about the life experience part. It's weird because I was just talking to my girlfriend about this(this is her account). We were saying that people who have gone straight into vocations like dentistry, or medicine could be more likely to succumb to stress and such, because they might not have done anything else before. Whereas people who haven't taken the usual route into these vocations, might appreciate where they are more when they get there. Due to past working experiences.

To put it straight. I'd feel very lucky to become a dentist, because it sounds like such a good job, even with all the stress related aspects. I think a mature student might have a positive outlook when things get hard. Not to say that people who took the suual route into these vocations wouldn't.
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Hello Laura!
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James mentioned getting a job as a trainee dental nurse to show your commitment and interest:

Depending on when you want to apply, this may not be your best line of action.

For a national qualification, you need to have been working for at least 2 years full time as a dental nurse before you can get your qualification. It's worth getting, as it's a bloody brilliant job, but if time is an issue, then you wont be able to follow this route. Only doing one year (you can sit the exam after one year, but not qualified until 2 years full time experience) and passing the exam is an option, but I assume that could make it look like you weren't commited.

Good luck though.
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James77
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Hi, yes that is correct, I have considered going the dental nursing way to get into hygiene/therapy as an option but have seen on some of the Unis entrance req's, its just one of the many ways. I have thought alot about which way to go, either taking A levels at night school (=££££), Becoming a dental nurse and getting quailified and go in that way, or completing an access to HE diploma combined with w/e

Sorry its abit of a thread drift, as im hoping to do another field of dentistry, but I would assume to be a dentist and get into dental school doing a Access to HE diploma in Bio, Chem and another would be equivalent as going in with A levels, as they are the same level/thing. So really just the same as someone younger straight out of school applying to dental school. I dont think you will need to be a dental nurse previously though to go to dental school, more so another route in but Id say more so with dental hygiene. Bit of a different route when your older and so many decisions! haha But its never too late, only regret is not doing it years ago Just realised I'll be 30 when I apply!
Anyway hope some of the info has helped you in which way you want to go, be great to know how you get on scaredofuni.
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scaredofuni
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Thanks again for the advice guys. I'm going to ring up Liverpool uni either tomorrow or next week. I'll ask them about entrance requirements, quals, etc. I assume if I get enough work experience and do an access course then that would defiantly cover most of it. The only thing I'm worried about is GCSEs unless they are flexible in regards to this then I’ll have to re-do my GCSEs. I have also read in numerous places that unis don't accept resists. I'm worried that I may have had to get everything the first time round. However my local college that does AH courses says on its website that people have been accepted onto dentistry and medicine at Liverpool uni after completion of the course.
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Seaab
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Please be aware though that many dental schools will not accept access courses as an alternative to "A" level qualifications for dentistry. I approached a few unis (not Liverpool though), Birmingham don't accept it full stop, Sheffield said you are considered alongside everyone one studying A Levels (for the 5 yr course) and I was told it due to the highly competitiveness of dentistry it would be highly unlikely I would get an interview. Leeds didn't answer directly but said that they consider alternative qualifications.

It was only Cardiff and Bristol that have said they would accept the Access course (in a science related pathway) but they would only consider it if applying for the 6 year foundation course. Cardiff only stipulate a pass on the course whereas Bristol require a minimum of 33 credits at Distinction and or merit. Bristol also confirmed that they would accept the Access to Medicine course (run by West Anglia college) for the 5 year year provided you got over 75% overall.

I am currently on an Access course (obviously I am a mature student ) but if I had the opportunity I would have done A Levels instead (circumstances meant I was only living here for a year - hence access course).

I applied to Bristol and Cardiff (6 yr) and Sheffield (5 yr). Unfortunately I have only had acknowledgements from Bristol and Cardiff :o: and nothing from Sheffield (expecting rejection sometime soon if what was said earlier is correct that all interviews will have been given out by the end of today).

HTH
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Seaab
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Oops, just realised that you want to go to Liverpool. It does say that they accept Access but they also do a separate foundation year 0 course which you could consider??
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scaredofuni
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I have been looking into it further and I would also need the required GCSEs to get onto a dental course at liverpool. So before any thing I have to get them. I rang Carmel college(where the foundation year is done) quite a while back and was told they only have two places per year. I was also tol here are 120 applications!!! I hope you get onto a course anyway let us know how you get along too! I agree that I would have rather done the a levels rather than do an access.
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Thomassss
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(Original post by Seaab)
Please be aware though that many dental schools will not accept access courses as an alternative to "A" level qualifications for dentistry. I approached a few unis (not Liverpool though), Birmingham don't accept it full stop, Sheffield said you are considered alongside everyone one studying A Levels (for the 5 yr course) and I was told it due to the highly competitiveness of dentistry it would be highly unlikely I would get an interview. Leeds didn't answer directly but said that they consider alternative qualifications.

It was only Cardiff and Bristol that have said they would accept the Access course (in a science related pathway) but they would only consider it if applying for the 6 year foundation course. Cardiff only stipulate a pass on the course whereas Bristol require a minimum of 33 credits at Distinction and or merit. Bristol also confirmed that they would accept the Access to Medicine course (run by West Anglia college) for the 5 year year provided you got over 75% overall.

I am currently on an Access course (obviously I am a mature student ) but if I had the opportunity I would have done A Levels instead (circumstances meant I was only living here for a year - hence access course).

I applied to Bristol and Cardiff (6 yr) and Sheffield (5 yr). Unfortunately I have only had acknowledgements from Bristol and Cardiff :o: and nothing from Sheffield (expecting rejection sometime soon if what was said earlier is correct that all interviews will have been given out by the end of today).

HTH

did you get any offer ?
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Spuri25
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hi

I really need some advice , i have completed a degree with a 2:1 - but QM say i also need to complete an AS level in chem and bio

Alternatively i could complete a 1 year technican course with a 2:1 and then onto the 4 year?

if anyone have a suggestion , thanks,
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debsc29
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Hi can anyone tell me where the 18 month top up programme from dental therapy to Dentistry runs? I've saw a lot of people talking about it but no one seems to know where the course runs. It seems to be an urban legend.
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Therapistemz
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#17
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Hi does anyone have any information on the conversion course from Dental therapist to dentist???
I qualified as a therapist in 2009 and I am already desperately board and wanting to do dentistry but feel like I am too old to go back and do another 5 years as Im 30.any info welcome:-)
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tom31
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Your best bet regarding the hygiene/therapy top up course is to ring the individual universities and ask to speak to a senior tutor...They should be able to advise you

A fill list of schools and their numbers can be found here:

http://www.dentalschoolscouncil.ac.u...hools_list.htm
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FUNKmilitia
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There is some good advice in here, I wish I was able to see it before I start to pursue dentistry as a mature student! I managed to get a place to study dentistry at Newcastle via access in the end and have spoken about the journey to get there in my blog here.

In it I talk about things like the pros and cons of A levels versus the Access course, tips for the UKCAT and personal statement and general fears like do I live in halls, can I get involved fully with freshers week and all those silly things!

Good luck to anybody thinking of retraining, go for it, you will not regret it!
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Aimzy273
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hi, if you have done a level 3 dental nursing apprenticeship instead of alevels and you want to become a dental hygienist how would i do that?ive had a little look and lots of unis are either too far from me or dont accept it any advice??
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