(Original post by Cheesecakefactory)
I'm 16, doing my GCSE's, and have had my mind set of Medicine. I have started looking into dentistry and I think it may be a better career for me. I know this will sound stupid, but can someone give me a brief overview of dentistry as a career by answering the questions below? I just want to know a couple of fundamental things before I start doing some proper research.
1) Why do most people choose to be dentists?
2) What work do junior dentists do as opposed to senior dentists?
3) Do I need voluntary work like I would for medicine?
4) Is there a test like the UKCAT or BMAT for dentistry?
1) I chose it because it is well paid right away, good hours. I'm interested in medicine, I like the challenge, enjoy working with my hands and have good manual dexterity. It's a varied but stressful job.
2) For general practice, as soon as you graduate you are as qualified as your peers. If you go into general practice you will be expected to carry out the full range of treatments.
Your first year working will either be VT or hospital dentistry. Hospital dentistry is structured differently but generally everyone goes for VT.
VT is like a 'cushion' year, in which you are salaried and have a trainer to help you with any problems you have, and go on courses. It also helps you learn how to work the NHS. To give you a ballpark my VT salary was ~£30500 for a 35 hour week, one day a week was spend in courses. This year is completely invaluable as next year you are...
...A self employed contractor which is fee per item, how much you earn depends on how hard you work really and how many patients are registered to you. You must do your VT year to get a list number to practice in the NHS.
Hospital dentistry you will do foundation years, but you can't earn a list number this way. It's structured much the same way as general hospitals with juniors (foundation years) at the bottom rung and consultants at the top.
There are many routes and professional examinations to go down for career progression, masters degrees, dentist with a special interest, memberships to faculties...
3) Anything you can do to strengthen your application is worthwhile. Dentistry is more competitive than medicine simply due to the lack of spaces (costs more to train etc). It is vital to get as much dental work experience as possible. It's even more competitive than when I applied!
4) There was no UKCAT or BMAT when I applied. I imagine it will vary by university. Your best bet would be to ring and ask any you're looking at.
Hope this helps. PM if you need more info