Pursuing a dentistry career requires much education and preparation, to become a professional. A dentistry career is a very lucrative career which requires discipline and commitment to learning and growth. Dentistry is a branch of healthcare concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral diseases.


Dentists play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining good oral health. Additionally, dentistry offers room for professional growth and specialisation. Pursuing a career in dentistry can be a rewarding and fulfilling path in the healthcare industry.  You will have the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives.


I will walk you through the processes to take in pursuing a career in dentistry.


Steps to Pursuing a Dentistry Career

  1. Obtain an O’level Certificate

    You need to obtain a minimum of five credits in relevant subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Physics and English Language.

  2. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

    You need to apply to an accredited university and study to gain a Bachelor of Dental Surgery(BDS) degree.  Additionally, this may require a series of assessments and tests before you gain admission. You have to prepare for the tests as it qualifies your entry into a university or dental school. It takes about four-five years to complete the coursework and gain a bachelor’s degree.

  3. Gain Practical Experience in the Healthcare field

    After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you should apply for an internship in a hospital or a dental clinic. This is crucial as it enables you to gain experience and essential skills. It also provides opportunities for networking and career counselling. Completing a dental internship opens doors to a successful dental career.

  4. Get a License

    A license in dentistry is an official permission to practice as a dentist. Without a license, you will not be allowed to attend to patients or even treat patients that need oral medical attention. Before you can collect your license, you must have obtained a bachelor’s degree and completed the internship program.

  5. Choose an Area of specialisation

    There are various specialisations you can choose to focus on as a dentist. They are career paths such as orthodontist, oral surgeon, periodontist, etc. Becoming a specialist in the field of dentistry can give you a unique identity and open doors for more opportunities.

  6. Develop Soft Skills

    As a dentist, the training and knowledge you received from dental school are not enough to build a successful career. You need to develop soft skills that will enable you to relate with your patients as well as carry out your duties efficiently. You should build skills such as communication skills, dexterity, patience, detail-oriented, organizational skills, stamina and problem-solving.

  7. Continuous Learning

    Just like other careers in the healthcare sector, you need to continue learning to have a successful career in dentistry. You should invest time in studying dentistry and attend seminars.

  8. Join Professional Associations

    A professional association can enable you to gain access to opportunities, give you room to network with professionals, open doors to mentorship and give guidance in your career pursuit. You must register and join a professional association in your field.


Areas of Specialisation in Dentistry

  1. Periodontics: This is an expert in treating gum diseases and performing surgeries affecting the gum.
  2. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: This involves handling complex surgical procedures for the face, mouth and jaws.
  3. Endodontics: This field involves the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the dental pulp such as root canal treatments and saving damaged teeth.
  4. Dental Public Health: Dentists in this field focus on preventing and controlling dental diseases in a community.
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: This involves researching, identifying and diagnosing diseases in the teeth and mouth.
  6. Pediatric dentistry: They focus on the diagnosis and treatment of children.
  7. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: They are in charge of diagnosing dental diseases through the use of X-rays and similar types of imaging.


Universities to Study Dentistry in Africa


  1. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  2. Cairo University, Egypt
  3. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  4. Alexandria University, Egypt
  5. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  6. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  7. University of Capetown, South Africa
  8. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  9. University of Nairobi, Kenya
  10. Mansoura University, Egypt
  11. University of Pretoria, South Africa
  12. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  13. University of Zimbabwe
  14. Misr International University, Egypt
  15. University of Nigeria, Nigeria


In Conclusion, pursuing a career in dentistry offers significant growth prospects and potential income. Additionally, this career path gives room for self-employment as you can open a private clinic with your license. The need for dental services is expanding, which creates an appealing earning opportunity. With continuous study and dedication, aspiring dentists can achieve a successful and satisfying career.


Good luck!

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