May 31st, 2012
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It will come as no surprise to learn that all would be dentists in South Africa need to study for several years before they can actually qualify and call themselves dentists. This means it is worth ensuring you really are set on following this career path.
If you are dedicated to doing just that, here is some more information on what you can expect from dentist training in South Africa.
Is the training a degree course?
Yes it is. The degree course lasts for a full five years, during which time you will learn everything a dentist has to know in order to practice. It is wise to remember the course is split into different elements. There will be a lot of classroom theory learning, but there is also a significant element of practical teaching that takes place in your chosen dental school. The five year course will include a year spent in medical service, which is compulsory. The dental schools have a dental hospital associated with them where much of the practical experience is gained.
It is worth remembering you will have to apply for a position on a degree course. There is a selection process in place at every dental school in South Africa, so make sure you take the application process seriously.
Where can you study?
There are a number of schools in South Africa that focus on providing dental degree opportunities. Two are in Pretoria – the University of Limpopo and the University of Pretoria itself. Elsewhere, the University of the Witwatersrand is in Johannesburg and the University of the Western Cape is in Cape Town. Finally the University of KwaZulu-Natal is in Durban.
There are different degree options available in each place, so it is wise to check the options so you know which university will suit your needs most.
What happens once you have passed your training and got your degree?
Once you have passed your training you will need to register as a dentist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. You can then consider taking further training if you wish to specialise in one particular area of dentistry. A good example would be to specialise in implant surgery.
As you can see there is a lot of studying involved, which is why you must be sure you are the right person to become a dentist. It helps to have an interest in medicine and biology, since you will need to learn all about dental health and the structures of the mouth. You shouldn’t be squeamish and you should be prepared to take in a lot of information during the five years of your degree course.
However if you are successful and you pass your dental training, you can look forward to a rewarding career as a dentist. This could be the best move you make, since South Africa is desperate for good dentists to add to the ones they already have. With good dentist training from one of the above schools, your career lies ahead of you.