The job of a dentist is to educate people about good dental health, find causes of dental pain, treat tooth decay, design treatment plans to resolve dental issues, and examine teeth development. Just like doctors, dentists focus on the health of people, mainly their oral health, and promote well-being. Aspiring dentists gain knowledge and skills to perform procedures involving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental conditions and problems. They develop a holistic plan and conduct the necessary clinical procedures. Career paths as a private dental practitioner, provider in hospitals or companies, academician, and dental experts or researchers await those who pursue this field.
On average, it will take students about 6-8 years to become a dentist, particularly in the Philippines. This consists of a required undergraduate degree or pre-dentistry course, and the DMD or Doctor of Dental Medicine program. The DMD can be completed straight in 6 years, which is already composed of a 2-year pre-dental education that focuses on basic health-related courses, and a 4-year dentistry proper curriculum. The last 2 years of the program is spent on clinical training. Bachelor’s degree holders from non-medical fields could also enter the program if they pass the qualifications of the school, including the required Dexterity examination and General Weighted Average or GWA.
Passing admission and board examinations, as well as successfully completing clinical internships are crucial to officially finish preliminary studies and practice the profession. There are several Dentistry Schools in the Philippines, which include the University of the East, Centro Escolar University, and the University of the Philippines, among others.
If you are interested in studying dentistry in the Philippines, check out these 4 steps to give you an overview of what you need to do and how long it will take for you to become a dentist:
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Steps to Become a Dentist in the Philippines
1. Pass the Qualifying Examination and Interviews
Students need to pass the qualifying examination and interviews to qualify for their pre-dentistry course at their chosen Dentistry school. Passing the qualifying examination and interviews are the first steps to be a dentist in the Philippines. Dexterity exams may be required, which evaluate one’s skills to perform tasks by hand and capacity to follow instructions. This exam is usually 10% of the total admission grade.
2. Take the Pre-dentistry Course
The second step to becoming a dentist in the Philippines is to take the pre-dentistry course. Pre-dentistry Course in the Philippines is designed in a 2-year curriculum. Students will have to take general subjects like Humanities, Mathematics, and Social Sciences. They also take courses on Human Health Sciences like Genetics, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Primary Health Care. The overall purpose of this pre-dentistry course is to prepare students for dental education, although admission to this pre-dentistry course does not guarantee yet admission to the Dental Medicine Proper.
3. Complete Dental Medicine Proper
After completing their 2-year pre-dentistry course, the next step to be a dentist in the country is to complete dental medicine properly, and students who meet the required GWA will move on to the 4-year Dental Medicine Proper. Further interviews and examinations may still be required for admission to this stage for transferees, depending on the chosen university.
Extensive classroom and clinical training will equip students with the knowledge and skills to tend for the oral health of patients. They will take subjects on medical sciences and dental sciences, then focus on clinical, hospital, and community dentistry.
One of the top dentistry schools in the Philippines is the University of the East, with leading-edge faculty and fully equipped libraries of dentistry references and journals. Other schools known for their dentistry curriculum are the University of the Philippines Manila and the Centro Escolar University.
4. Finish Clinical Training
During the third year of their DMD study, dental students will start working on actual patients with the supervision of a clinical supervisor. Students who wish to be a dentist in the Philippines should finish clinical training as one of the necessary steps. They will perform procedures like cavity preparation and filling and manage prosthodontic treatment. Students need to demonstrate proficiency in managing different types of patients and giving appropriate treatment to pass their clinical dentistry subjects and complete the DMD program.
5. Pass the Board Exam
The Dentists Licensure Examination conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission, the official body hosting licensure exams in the Philippines. It is divided in two phases: a written and practical phase. The coverage of the written examination is General and Oral Anatomy and Physiology, General and Oral Pathology, Restorative Dentistry and Public Health, and Community Dentistry, Prosthetic Dentistry, Oral Diagnosis and Surgery, Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Dental Jurisprudence, Periodontics, and Endodontics. To take the exam, applicants need to be a graduate of Doctor in Dental Medicine and present requirements like Transcript of Records, Birth Certificate, and NBI clearance.
6. Find and Pursue a Specialization
Finally, the last step to becoming a dentist in the Philippines is to find and pursue your specialization. Several specialized careers in the field are available like Orthodontists, Pediatric Dentists, and Endodontists. Orthodontists work on teeth alignment, which usually involves the use of braces and retainers. Pediatric dentists focus on treating younger patients’ dental concerns, specific to newly growing or developing teeth. As for Endodontists, they are experts in treating issues that reach the root of the tooth and interior part of teeth.
The University of the East currently offers 4 Master’s programs in Periodontics, Orthodontics, Prosthodontics, and Endodontics. On the other hand, University of the Philippines offers a Master of Science in Dentistry – Orthodontics. There are also available continuing education programs like Comprehensive Restorative and Esthetic Dentistry (CRED), Dental Implantology, and Integrated Enhancement Course in Removable Dentures Prosthodontics.
I hope that this article on Steps to Become a Dentist in the Philippines was helpful. To know more information on how you can study in Asia, visit the Asia Scholarships Page.