Updated: May 7
By Uma Iqbal
In school, coming to a decision to whether I wanted to work in healthcare was an easy one. However, as time went on, I found myself torn between medicine and dentistry. I realised I needed to put some serious thought into this critical decision.
How I made my decision
In Year 12, I enrolled in a medical summer school at the University of Leeds. This experience truly gave me insight into what medicine is really like. We had talks from leading healthcare professionals and I had the opportunity to enquire with the medical team throughout. This experience, alongside attending dental school workshops and speaking to dentists, gave me a clear view of the many aspects of both degrees and future careers possible.
So, after undertaking 3 weeks of work experience within different dental practices and taking my personal experiences into account, I decided that dentistry was the right course for me. The main reasons for choosing dentistry over medicine were:
· Good work-life balance
· Early clinical exposure
· Fewer topics, but in more depth
· Hands on nature of profession
· Less time in foundation after graduating (only 1 yr.)
· The many specialties you can advance onto (oral surgery, maxillofacial, paediatrics, special care, orthodontics)
To be clear, I don’t believe that dentistry is better than medicine; it is just what was best for me.
Life as a dental student
Currently, I have just finished by 2nd year of Dentistry at the University of Manchester and have really enjoyed my time here so far.
My course incorporates many aspects of dentistry, we have:
· Clinical skills, in which we learn and practice procedures on phantom heads.
· Restorative clinics, where we understand further into the ever-growing field of dentistry
· Anatomy -we study using prosections and full- body dissections on cadavers.
· Histology- looking at structures at a microscopic level.
· Symposium (interactive lectures)
· EBL -enquiry based learning, in groups,
· Outreach- providing oral hygiene advice/treatment to the public (special needs/ care homes/ schools)]
I highly recommend getting work experience within both settings and ask as many questions as you can to the medical and dental practitioners you meet. When making your decision, it is key that you’re making it based upon yourself, and your interests and abilities. If you do this, you will definitely be successful in whatever you go into.
Wishing you all the best!