Purpose of a Dentist
As a dentist, you can help people in need by alleviating dental pain and discomfort, positively impact lives, and raise awareness about oral health. Along with a flexible lifestyle, you will have the chance to meet a variety of people through your practice. Once you are able to establish a strong patient-base, the chance to grow your practice and income is infinite.
After completing a BDS degree, students have the choice to go into practice or then become teachers. For those who are academically inclined and show an interest in helping other aspirants, teaching is a good choice.
Dentistry is a well-respected and often revered profession and dentists enjoy a certain standing in society.
Duties of a Dentist
A dentist has many responsibilities - the most important of which is to ensure a patient has good oral health. They diagnose dental issues and treat them, perform dental procedures such as root canals and extractions, correct issues with teeth alignment, and also execute aesthetic treatments like teeth whitening.
A dentist must also raise awareness about oral hygiene and ensure that their patient follows the steps needed for the same. Their patients, especially children, must be taught good dental hygiene from an early age. Self-employed dentists must also oversee the running of their clinics and ensure administrative tasks are taken care of as well.
Skills of a Dentist
If you are looking for a future in the field of dentistry, it is important to possess certain skills. As is the case with any doctor, it is essential that a dentist remain calm in stressful situations.
They must have patience as they study their patient’s medical records and find the history of their problems. With a methodical approach, a dentist should be able to tackle their patient’s problems, all while remaining calm and amiable.
They must be able to work as a team along with fellow dentists and nurses in order to properly execute their tasks. Lastly, a good bedside manner is a must for dentists; as they should be able to calm their patients in stressful situations.
How to Become a Dentist
There are several steps to take in order to become a dentist, the first of which is to take the NTA NEET exams.
Admission 2022 Process
Taking the NEET exam is the first step to gaining admission into a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is an exam held by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Here are the steps to follow as a part of the admission process, in order to be eligible for the NEET UG exams -
- An aspiring dentist must have passed the 10+2 qualifying examinations with a minimum of 50% marks.
- They must have studied Physics, Chemistry, and Biology in their 10+2.
Once a candidate is eligible to take the NEET exams, they must follow these steps -
- Candidates can find the forms to apply for NTA NEET on the official NTA NEET website and register themselves.
- After registration, they can apply via the forms available on the website.
- The admit cards for the exam will be sent via email to the candidate.
A majority of colleges base their admissions on the NEET results, hence it is important to get a good score and clear the cut-off in the exam. Without it, their application cannot be considered.
Once an aspirant qualifies for the entrance, they will generally undergo three rounds of counselling held by the colleges. Both private and government colleges base their admission procedure on the results of the NEET exams.
The NEET exam will take place on 17th July, 2022 this year.
Getting into Dental School
In India, admission into dental colleges rides entirely on the results of the NEET UG exams. Textbooks available from NCERT are commonly hailed as the best books available for NEET candidates. They are the first choice for aspirants appearing for the exams and are easily available online and in-stores. The prescribed syllabus for the NEET exams are available online.
Candidates must keep in mind that 50% of the NEET exam’s weightage lies in the subject of Biology and they must be well-prepared. Topics to keep in mind are - Genetics, Ecology & Environment, Cell Biology, Morphology, Basics of Biotechnology, Reproduction, and Physiology of Animals and Plants. For the exam, the Biology section includes both Zoology and Botany. Two of the recommended books to study Biology are:
- NCERT Biology - Class 11 & 12
- Trueman’s Elementary Biology - Volume 1 & 2
Questions based on the subject of Physics constitute another part of the NEET exams, with 25% of the paper being based on the subject. Important topics to cover include optics, mechanics, nuclear physics and thermodynamics. A strong conceptual base is important for those who want to be able to solve numerical sections with ease. Both numerical as well as conceptual questions hold weight in the NEET exams and hence it is important to be well-versed in both. Some books recommended to study for the Physics section of NEET are:
- NCERT Physics - Class 11 & 12
- Concepts of Physics Part 1 & 2 by H.C. Verma
The final 25% of the NEET exam is based on Chemistry. Keep in mind that this includes Organic, Inorganic, and Physical Chemistry. Topics to keep in mind include - General Organic Chemistry, Mole Concept, Periodic Table, Coordination Chemistry, Chemical Chemistry. Below are some books that cover each of these subjects:
- Physical Chemistry by O.P. Tandon
- Concise Inorganic Chemistry by J.D. Lee
- Organic Chemistry by Morrison and Boyd
Top 5 Colleges in India Offering a BDS Degree:
- King George’s Medical University, Lucknow
- Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi
- Institute of Medical Sciences, Varanasi
- Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore
- Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai
Studying for NEET
Studying hard for these exams is important. But future dentist’s study smart, not tediously. You may think that long hours and late nights are the way to go; but it’s also important to use effective study methods in order to best absorb information.
Here are a few ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your study sessions:
- Remember to remain calm and take enough breaks between study sessions in order to be in a good head space. If you are stressed and frazzled, you will not retain the information you study.
- As mentioned above, the NEET syllabus is expansive so choose the topics to study wisely. Focus on more important topics first and then gauge if you can cover others.
- Do your research and find out which the best books to study from are. It is best to ask teachers and also students who have previously appeared for the exams. They will be a good guide for what to focus on and tactics to use while studying.
- Plan ahead and realistically understand how much study material you can cover in a day. Do not overextend yourself or believe you can do more than you can. It will only lead to hurried studying and in turn, an inability to absorb information.
- Lastly, take care of your health. Burnout is a very real concern when it comes to students studying for the NEET exams.
Specialisations after BDS
The BDS course duration is five years and once the BDS degree is completed, there are a variety of different options available. Broadly speaking, a graduate can look at these possibilities:
- Study further
- Have a private practice
- Work in the private or government sector
- Get into academics and research.
If the choice is to go into further studies, there are many options for the path forward:
- Masters in Dental Surgery (MDS): This is a postgraduate course that candidates are eligible for on the basis of the NEET MDS exam.
- Masters in Public Health (MPH).
- Masters in Business Administration (MBA) – Hospital Management and Administration.
- Other Dental Courses which include a Diploma in Dental Hygienist, Diploma in Dental Ceramic Technology or even a Course in Aesthetic Dentistry.
It is relevant to do research into what each of these courses entail and when or if there is a need to take the NEET PG exam.
Some FAQs Regarding the NEET Exams
- Is there an age limit to taking the NEET exams?
While there is no upper limit to the age of the candidate, they must be a minimum of 17 years old.
- What are the best books for studying for the NEET exams?
NCERT books are highly recommended to those studying for the NEET NTA exams.
- How often is the NEET exam conducted?
It is conducted once, annually.
- How to fill the NEET NTA exam form?
Candidates can fill the NEET exam form on the official website.
- How can one become a dentist in America?
To become a dentist in America, unfortunately a BDS is not enough. You must also get a degree from an accredited medical school in the US or Canada to practice.
- How many years does it take to become a dentist?
The base degree to become a dentist, the BDS, takes five years to complete.
Fees for BDS Courses
Here are some of the top colleges offering the BDS course and their fees:
Loans for BDS Courses
Medicine, regardless of the degree, is an expensive affair. Banks across the country offer loans with varying interest rates - moving upwards from 7.15% p.a. Banks such as Canara Bank and Bank of Baroda, amongst others, offer no processing fees. There are also organisations such as Propelld that offer private student loans that are 100% digitalised.