How do you become a dentist?

DentistTo practice as a cosmetic dentist in Harley Street is a career goal for many budding dental professionals. The location has a huge cachet in the medical and dental worlds alike. So how does someone go from undergraduate to working somewhere like the Harley Street Dental Clinic?

In the UK all dentists must be Registered General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) to practice. They can specialise in areas such as periodontics but they must comply with a set of minimum training standards that are set out by the General Dentist Council (GDC).

The first step is to complete five years of undergraduate training leading to a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS or BChD). This qualifies them to register with the GDC and begin practicing dentistry. After this, they must do at least two years of postgraduate general professional training. This is vocational training where dentists will carry out positions such as senior house officer, house officer or community dental service positions.

For most specialities, dentists are required to have the MFDS (Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery) or equivalent. They then go on to do a training programme approved by the Specialist Advisory Committee, which usually lasts another three years. While dentists follow this training, they are frequently work in a hospital environment while they pursue their studies in a university. Once complete the trainees receive either an Intercollegiate Fellowship or a Speciality Membership with the Royal Colleges of Surgeons.

At this stage they can apply for CCST – the Certification of Completion of Specialist Training – that qualifies them to be put on the GDC’s specialist list. This certification is one of the tools used to maintain standards in the industry and protect the public from rogue dentists. To get to this point dentists have undertaken 10 years of training. But it doesn’t stop there!

As technology advances, in order to use the latest products dentists must gain the right qualifications by pursuing additional training. Dentists with specialist training will work in the NHS in a hospital or dental practice or they opt to work in a specialist practice. Some of those may be lucky enough to be cosmetic dentists in Harley Street.