What’s it like to be a dental student?

You’ve probably sifted through tens if not hundreds of accounts of medical students. You’ve read all about their journey through medical school, but what is dental school really like? Having almost finished my first year at King’s College London, starting dental school has really been a huge roller coaster ride.

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You’ve probably sifted through tens if not hundreds of accounts of medical students.

You’ve read all about their journey through medical school, but what is dental school really like? Having almost finished my first year at King’s College London, starting dental school has really been a huge roller coaster ride.

First things first, don’t get me wrong – the past year has probably been one of the best I’ve experienced.

Whilst dental school hasn’t been everything I’ve expected it to be, I’m here to give you a quick glimpse into your potential first year at dental school.

Challenges are presented every day in different forms, you can totally expect to be in from 9am in the morning for a histology workshop till 12pm and a full afternoon of lectures till 5pm – dental school is no walk in the park! One thing you’ll get to learn quickly is that your cohort is relatively small, you’ll be getting used to the faces of all of your classmates soon enough. A typical week is a mixed bag of lectures, tutorials, anatomy and histology sessions, as well as the coveted clinical time. This great variance of timetabled slots keeps you on your feet, no two days are the same in dental school!

 

Expect to use your prior knowledge a lot during your first year.

Whether that’s the IB, A-Level or any other equivalent, you’ll be surprised to know that much of the content covered throughout lectures in the first year form the basis for much of the Biology and Chemistry courses you may have studied before. Having a strong grasp of the fundamentals before starting is always a great boost!

Expect to be hands on!

Many are surprised to know that dental students do cover a fair bit of anatomy as well as getting hands on with dissections and anatomy room sessions. Make the most of these experiences to really enhance your learning. While certain sessions aren’t going to be compulsory to attend, you’ll soon realise that they’re only there for your benefit!

 

Prepare for some clinical exposure.

After all you are going to be a dentist! You can expect to be placed into clinical settings in your first year, either observing senior students, consultants, or if you’re lucky, lending a hand in nursing. You’ll also be taught to ‘wax teeth’, get a feel of the instruments and develop these important clinical skills which will be built up in further years.

From long group study sessions in the library to an abundance of socials, you’ll learn that a dental cohort is generally close-knit.

This is something that is quite unique to dentistry as a course! The road to becoming a qualified dentist is not easy by any means. While the workload is considerable, arguably the best part of dental school are the people you’re going to meet along the way. Cliché as it sounds, being surrounded by people that share a similar passion to you is what makes it all worth it! To those considering a career in dentistry, dental school is certainly not a place for the faint hearted or weak willed, but a truly rewarding place for those students with a passion for the field.

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