How to Become a Dentist: Career in Dentistry

Unlock the secrets to a career in dentistry with our guide on how to become a dentist, from educational requirements to practical experience. We trust dentists for our oral health and for giving us beautiful smiles. In India, the demand for skilled and compassionate dentists has steadily increased. The need for dentists spans urban centers, […] The post How to Become a Dentist: Career in Dentistry appeared first on Chegg India.

How to Become a Dentist: Career in Dentistry

Unlock the secrets to a career in dentistry with our guide on how to become a dentist, from educational requirements to practical experience.

We trust dentists for our oral health and for giving us beautiful smiles. In India, the demand for skilled and compassionate dentists has steadily increased. The need for dentists spans urban centers, rural communities, and underserved areas. This presents a wealth of opportunities for aspiring students dreaming of practicing dentistry. So, students must clearly understand how to become a dentist.

Adults and children in India need dental fillings, root canals, and extractions. It is due to a high occurrence of dental cavities. Oral cancer cases have increased as a result of lifestyle variables. These include tobacco and alcohol use, demanding early detection and treatment by dentists. As the population grows and ages, such issues become more prevalent.

These issues range from routine oral care to complex treatments. Dentists are experts at addressing diverse dental needs. They ensure the well-being and confidence of their patients. It can range from routine check-ups and cleanings to restorative procedures. These include orthodontics and cosmetic treatments. Thus, increases the need for the study of dentistry. In this guide we will delve into the question how to become a dentist and the qualifications of dentists.

Steps to Become a Dentist

How to become a dentist is a question that gets asked frequently.‘Becoming a dentist is a lifelong journey of learning and growth. By following these steps, you can lay a solid foundation and embark on a fulfilling dental career.

Step 1: Take up Medical Stream in 12th

To pursue a career in dentistry, focusing on these subjects is beneficial. These subjects will provide the foundational knowledge needed for a dental degree. Different dental schools have require specific subjects such as

  1. Biology: It is of utmost importance for dental students. It provides an in-depth understanding of the human body and its systems. It explores human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and various aspects of study for dentists.
  2. Chemistry: For dentistry students, chemistry is essential. It explores the composition and behavior of various dental materials. These include dental metals and ceramics. It helps in understanding the properties of dental materials, pharmacology, and biochemistry.
  3. Physics: It explores the principles of dental materials, radiography, dental equipment, and instruments. It teaches concepts such as radiation physics, dental imaging, and biomechanics. These subjects have applications in dental science.
  4. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are beneficial in many aspects of dentistry. These include calculating drug dosages, analyzing data, and understanding dental technology.

Step 2: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry

After completing the 12th, prepare for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). This exam accepts students for dental degrees. To be a dentist, one must pursue a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) program. This is a 5-year undergraduate program. Various dental colleges and universities across India offer this program. Admission to BDS programs is based on your performance in the entrance examinations. It also depends on the centralized counseling process conducted by respective authorities. The BDS program includes both theoretical coursework and clinical training. The curriculum covers subjects such as:

  • Dental Anatomy
  • Oral Pathology
  • Oral Medicine
  • Orthodontics
  • Endodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and
  • Community Dentistry


You will then undergo a one-year internship at a recognized dental college. It provides practical exposure to different dental requirement and specialisations.

Postgraduate MDS

You can pursue a Master of Dental Surgery program after BDS. This is vital if you wish to specialize in a specific area of dentistry. It provides in-depth knowledge and advanced clinical training in specific dental specialties. It is a 3-year program. It includes both coursework and clinical training in the chosen dental specialization.

Eligibility criteria:

  • BDS degree with a minimum score of 50% from a recognized dental college.
  • The students should complete a minimum of one year of internship.
  • Qualify for entrance exams such as NEET MDS, AIIMS PG, JIPMER PG, and PGIMER.

Candidates will be eligible for MDS if they own a 2 years PG diploma recognized by the Dental Council of India. 

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Diploma Courses

In India, there are many diploma programs in dentistry offering specialized training. These diploma courses offer an alternative pathway for students. It helps them gain practical skills without pursuing a BDS or MDS program.

Eligibility: Students must pass Class 12th with 50% marks. They must have studied Physics, Chemistry, and Biology/Biochemistry in +2. To pursue a postgraduate dental diploma, one must have the following:

  • Cleared the final examination of BDS, and
  • Completed compulsory rotatory internship by the time of admission.

Some diploma dentist courses after 12th are:

  1. Dental Hygienist: It focuses on training dental professionals in various dental procedures.  These include oral hygiene procedures, preventive dental care, patient education, and assisting dentists.
  2. Dental Mechanics: It trains in dental laboratory techniques. These include the fabrication of dental prostheses, crowns, bridge work, and dental ceramics.
  3. Dental Operating Room Assistant (DORA): This program trains individuals in various dental techniques. These include assisting dentists during surgeries, sterilization, operation theater management, and patient care.
  4. Dental Radiography and Imaging Technology: This course emphasizes using radiographic techniques. These are used for dental imaging, including X-rays, CBCT, and digital imaging technology.
  5. Diploma in Endodontics: It trains dental professionals in root canal treatment techniques. It includes diagnosis and management of dental pulp and periapical diseases. It also takes care of endodontic emergencies.
  6. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial anomalies. These include the use of braces and other orthodontic tools in this training.
  7. Oral Medicine and Radiology: This deals with diagnosing and treating oral disorders. It includes early detection of oral cancer and the interpretation of radiographic images. Conditions affecting the mouth and face are all stressed in this course.

This is only a sample of the diploma programs in dentistry offered in India; it is not an exhaustive list. There are around 50 colleges in India offering UG diploma courses.

Specialization in Dentistry

MDS offers various specializations in dentistry. Common specializations in dentistry, along with the salary of dentists in India, are:

1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

    These surgeons are experts in jaw, face, and mouth operations. Procedures include tooth extractions, dental implants, jaw surgeries, and treatment of oral diseases. Salary range- 6 to 15 lakhs per year

    2. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

    They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists use braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to align and straighten teeth. The salary range is 4 to 10 lakhs per year.

    3. Prosthodontics and Crown & Bridge

    They specialize in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth with dental prostheses. They use crowns, bridges, and dentures. Prosthodontists specialize in creating and fitting dental prostheses. These include dentures, dental implants, and dental crowns or bridges. Salary range- 4 to 10 lakhs per year.

    4. Periodontology

    Periodontists specialize in managing conditions like gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Salary range- 4 to 8 lakhs per year.

    5. Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics

    They specialize in preserving and restoring teeth, including root canal treatments. Endodontists specialize in performing root canal treatments and saving infected or damaged teeth. Salary range- 4 to 8 lakhs per year.

    6. Oral Medicine and Radiology

    These specialists diagnose and manage oral diseases and disorders. They achieve this through clinical examination and radiographic imaging. Salary range- 4 to 8 lakhs per year.

    7. Pediatric Dentistry

    Pediatric dentists are specialists in children’s oral health care. These include preventative care, pediatric dental issues, and behavior management. Salary range- 4 to 8 lakhs per year.

    8. Oral Pathology

    Oral pathologists specialize in the diagnosis and study of oral and maxillofacial regions. Salary range- 4 to 8 lakhs per year.

    Average Salary of a Dentist

    Average salary of a dentist depends on many things. These include experience, region, practice style, and specialty demand. Thus, theaverage salary of a dentist in Indiais subject to variation. It depends on the number of patients and the dentist’s experience level. The table below shows the average salary of a Dentist in India:

    SpecializationSalary Range per year (in INR)
    General Dentistry2 – 8 lakhs
    Orthodontics4 – 8 lakhs
    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery6 – 12 lakhs
    Periodontology4 – 6 lakhs
    Prosthodontics5 – 8 lakhs
    Conservative Dentistry4 – 8 lakhs
    Oral Medicine and Radiology4 – 8 lakhs
    Pediatric Dentistry4 – 6 lakhs
    Oral Pathology3 – 5 lakhs


    Dentists owning private practices have the potential to earn higher incomes. Those employed in government hospitals, dental colleges, and corporate healthcare setups don’t. Salary figures can vary. Metropolitan cities tend to offer higher salaries compared to rural regions.

    Career Prospects for Dentists

    The career prospects for dentists are promising. They offer numerous opportunities for growth and success. There are various jobs for Dentists in India. While some popular career paths are mentioned below, it is not limited to that. Dentists can also explore many other avenues. These include dental consulting, insurance, education, and entrepreneurship. Somejobs for dentists in India are:

    1. Private Practice: Establish your private dental clinics. It allows dentists to have autonomy in their work and build a patient base.
    2. Associate Dentist: Dentists can also work as associates in established dental clinics. It offers opportunities to work alongside experienced dentists and build professional networks.
    3. Dental Hospitals and Institutions: Dentists can work in dental hospitals or institutions. These include dental colleges or research institutes. These settings provide opportunities for clinical practice, teaching, research, and specialized treatments.
    4. Government Sector: It is one of the most sought-after jobs for dentists in India. Dentists can work in government hospitals, dental clinics, or public health departments. People can receive dental care from them, particularly in remote or underdeveloped locations.
    5. Armed Forces: Dentists can work with defense forces and join the Indian Armed Forces.  as commissioned officers and provide dental care to military personnel and their families. This option offers a unique opportunity to serve in a disciplined environment.
    6. Research and Academia: Dentists can pursue careers in research and academia. They can work as faculty members in dental colleges. They contribute to the advancement of dental science and education.
    7. Dental Sales and Marketing: This is a good option for those interested in sales and marketing. They can work with dental product manufacturers, dental equipment suppliers, or pharmaceutical companies.
    8. Dental Public Health: Dentists can contribute to public health initiatives. They can participate in dental public health programs. These include oral health promotion, preventive dentistry, and oral health policy planning.
    9. Dental Tourism: Dentists can work in clinics catering to international patients. They provide specialized treatments to patients coming from abroad seeking affordable dental care.

    Dentists have promising job possibilities that provide a rewarding career. It is filled with financial security and room for growth. It also can positively impact people’s lives.

    Summing it up with a bright smile

    Being a dentist in India takes persistence, commitment, and enthusiasm for oral wellness. Dentists have a positive impact on people’s dental health and general well-being. Aspirants can begin a satisfying career in dentistry when given the proper guidance. Throughout their journey, students should stay updated with the latest developments in dentistry. They should actively participate in dental conferences, workshops, and seminars. They need to enhance their knowledge and skills continuously. Thus, studyingfor dentistry is not an easy task. Networking with experienced dentists and seeking mentorship can provide valuable guidance and support. Now that you have a clear picture of how to become a Dentist in India, it’s time to kick-start your study for dentistry.

    Evaluate numerous career choices to choose the right career path for yourself. Dive in to our guide on Career Advice.

    Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ’s )

    How many years does it take to become a dentist?

    It takes 5 years to become a dentist. The undergraduate dental program, BDS, spans 5 years. Students are eligible to practice as dentists after completion of the BDS program. The Master of Dental Surgery takes an extra 3 years to complete. The total time required to become a dentist, including BDS and MDS, is approximately 8 years.

    Is MBBS required to become a dentist?

    No, obtaining an MBBS is not necessary to work as a dentist. The road to a dentistry career in India is distinct from one that leads to becoming a doctor of medicine. MBBS is not required to become a dentist in India. But aspiring dentists need to complete the BDS program. This is to be followed by optional specialization through the MDS program. This will help students advance their careers in specific dental disciplines.

    Is NEET required for dentistry?

    Yes, NEET is required for admission to dental colleges in India. It serves as the qualifying exam for admissions to undergraduate BDS programs. These include government and private colleges. Thus, clearing NEET-UG and obtaining a good score is essential for students. It is great for those aspiring to pursue a dental career in India and secure admission to BDS programs.

    Who earns more- BDS or MBBS?

    Generally, in India, doctors with an MBBS degree tend to earn more than those with a BDS degree. But an individual’s earning potential can vary significantly. This is based on several factors. These include experience, expertise, patient volume, and demand for specific specialties. Ultimately, the earning of both MBBS and BDS graduates depend on different factors.

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