A Complete Guide on Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)

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Bachelor of Dental Surgery

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) along with the MBBS degree is considered the most popular Medical courses after 12th in India. With the increased complications in oral health as well as the increased awareness towards dental hygiene, dental surgery graduates work across sectors of conventional operational theatres to private dental therapy clinics. In particular, the degree is designed towards developing a holistic and practical understanding of the discipline of oral health, its basic surgical procedures like root canal treatments and dentures to oral and maxillofacial surgeries. Read on to know more about how the BDS program aids, the universities offering these courses and the innumerable relevant career options available.

Related Article: BDS to MBBS Bridge Course

Understanding Dentistry as a Field

In particular, dentistry is a specific sub-branch of medical sciences that deals with the study and treatment of oral diseases. This includes problems related to teeth, jaw and other soft tissues in the shape of teeth misalignment, cavities and plaque and a host of complex oral procedures. Dental research and hygiene have come a long way since 1873 when Colgate started producing the first toothpaste and toothbrushes. Currently, it interlinks with diverse medical subfields of orthopaedics, paediatrics, and endodontics as well as cosmetic surgeries and public health dentistry, amongst others. Professionals can choose to work across both urban and rural settings as citizens grow more aware related to its aspects.

Also Read: Medical Courses Without NEET

Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Overview & Structure

The Bachelor of Dental Surgery program is a 4-5 year specialised degree program which trains individuals in the specifics of dentistry, and treatment procedures to be followed during curative procedures along with giving an introduction to topics such as Biomedicine, Biochemistry, etc. In general, universities follow a gradual study curriculum which during the preliminary one or two, develops the foundation of medicinal studies like anatomy, physiology, and oral biochemistry, amongst others. In the subsequent semesters, students are encouraged to pursue subjects like radiology, behavioural sciences, and medical ethics. Included typically in the penultimate year, candidates are required to complete a practicum experience in a hospital setting working with patients in order to apply learned concepts practically. Elements of clinical trips, seminars, tutorials, demonstrations and under-supervision treatment of patients also form an essential part of the BDS curriculum. Common variations of the BDS degree include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Bachelor of Oral Health
  • Bachelor of Dental Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Dentistry
  • Integrated Bachelors/Doctoral Degree in Dental Surgery
  • Integrated Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene/Master’s of Dental Therapy

Note: The above courses slightly vary based on the course objectives and curriculum.

Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Subjects Covered

The stretched and multidisciplinary nature of the BDS program affords the inclusion of a wide variety of subjects not just restricted to the sphere of medical sciences. Further, options of concentrations and electives further assist in the multi-directional growth of individuals. The following table curates a list of some of the prevalent subjects which you can expect in the coursework.

Core Subjects of BDS Electives
Oral Medicine Oral Communication
Anatomy Introduction to Sociology
Biochemistry Introduction to Business Computing
Dental Anatomy & Histology Writing Skills Workshop
Operative Dentistry Pain Management
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Critical Thinking
Pathology Introduction to Health Policy
Preventive Dentistry Nutrition & Health
Surgery Arts/Culture
Behavioral Science Ethics
Dental Public Health Dentistry in Society
Human Microbiology Language
Dental Materials Statistics
Periodontics  Cultural Competence
Special Care Dentistry Forensic Dentistry

Note: The spread of the above-mentioned subjects in a specific BDS curriculum may vary.

Also Read: MSc Biochemistry

Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Eligibility

As for the eligibility conditions adopted for BDS admission, in general, it ranges from holding a higher secondary qualification to even a bachelor’s degree. In the case of the former, candidates who have studied at least two and preferably all three Physics, Chemistry and Biology subjects are eligible. In the case of the latter, a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, in particular, is recommended while a general bachelor’s degree in medical sciences is also eligible. Some universities may also conduct their own entrance examinations.

Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Worlds Rankings & Course Fees

Dental surgery courses along with MBBS form the core of medical course offerings across universities worldwide. As mentioned above, the duration of medical programs, as well as other constituents, may vary depending on where you choose to study. The top ten institutions offering BDS or its allied courses have been mentioned below.

Name of University Location THE World University Rankings 2021 BDS Courses
National University
of Singapore
Singapore 18th Bachelor of Dental Surgery
New York University USA =46th Bachelor of Arts/Doctor of
Dental Surgery
Bachelor of Science in
Dental Hygiene
The University of
Australia 11th Bachelor of Oral Health
University of British
Canada 39th Bachelor of Dental Science
in Dental Hygiene
The University of
Hong Kong
Hong Kong 39th Bachelor of Dental Surgery
King’s College London UK 35th BDS [Hons] Dentistry
University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill
USA 33rd BSc Dental Hygiene
University of
UK =51st BSc [Hons] Oral Health Science
The University of
Australia =51st Bachelor of Oral Health
BSc and Doctor of Dental Medicine
University of Bristol UK 91st BDS Dentistry
The University of
Australia =118th Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Bachelor of Oral Health
BSc Dentistry [Hons]

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Application for BDS Course

In order to apply for BDS courses abroad, prospective applicants need to submit SAT/ACT scores, if applicable along with IELTS/TOEFL/PTE scores to prove English language proficiency. Specific band score requirements may vary but an overall score above the band region of 6.5-7.0 out of 9 is generally acceptable. Further, individuals may have to provide other materials such as IELTS/TOEFL scores as well as copies of official transcripts, CVs, Statements of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LOR), amongst others. Some selected universities may also conduct an interview round to further screen candidates.

Future Prospects: Higher Education & Careers

Graduates of BDS courses have a host of career options available in both directions of academic and professional. Considering academics, many aiming to build a career in research or advanced medical sciences pursue master’s and doctoral courses after BDS. A handful of individuals with an inclination towards management and policy also go for MBA after BDS, for instance, MBA Healthcare Management or MBA in Healthcare, amongst others. A Master in Public Health can be a perfect course for someone looking to enter health policymaking and can work in senior-level roles in governments and NGOs. Some of the interesting career pathways are:

  • Orthodontist
  • Pediatric Dentist
  • Prosthodontist
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
  • Endodontist
  • Periodontist
  • Researcher
  • Professor/Lecturer
  • Health or Dental Consultant
  • Clinical Practitioner
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Lab Technician

The major organisations where BDS graduates work include hospitals, private clinics, community clinics, trauma centres, laboratories, research organisations, governments and much more.

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Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Job and Scope

BDS can allow students to pursue a number of professions in the field of dentistry such as Orthodontist, Pediatric Dentist, Prosthodontist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Endodontist
and Periodontist. Here are the average salaries that you can get after completing this degree:

Job Average Salary in India
Dentist ₹10- 12 Lakhs
Orthodontist ₹16.2 Lakhs to ₹20.7 Lakhs
Endodontist ₹6- 10 Lakhs
Periodontist ₹6- 10 Lakhs

Careers After Bachelor of Dental Surgery: Skills Required

In addition to a solid, in-depth and practical grasp of dentistry, individuals also need to have a range of skill sets to work in actual patient-facing professions. This includes:

  • Critical Thinking and Analysis
  • Problem-Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Communication
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Ethical Adherence
  • Teamwork
  • Situation Analysis
  • Ability to work in High-Pressure Environments
  • Team Management

Important Information Regarding Certifications

Medical education varies from country to country with many requiring candidates to obtain a domestic certification or license to start practice.  For instance, in the case of India, candidates have to appear for the NEET to enter into medical courses abroad and those who have studied an MBBS from abroad must appear for the FMGE in order to start practising in India. Furthermore, qualified dentists from India need not pursue additional courses in the UK, Canada, Australia and Gulf nations since passing their respective licensing examinations [e.g, National Dental Examining Board of Canada] is enough. However, for those considering the USA, graduating from its indigenous dental programs and then sitting for the medical licensing exams of the US National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) is mandatory.

BDS or other medical courses require comprehending vast multidisciplinary knowledge as well as the ability to apply it during patient treatment operations. Consequently choosing the right course at the right university also plays a major role. Needless to say, the right guidance for selecting a suitable course and university goes a long way. Take the assistance of the AI tool at Leverage Edu that shortlists unique course and university permutations based on your skills, abilities and aspirations.

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