A dentist educates people about dental health, finds causes of oral pain and complications, and creates treatment plans to address these ailments. The health and well-being of people are the focus of dentists, in line with other healthcare professionals. Aspiring dentists gain knowledge and skills to perform procedures involving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental conditions and problems. They develop a comprehensive plan and conduct the required diagnostic and clinical procedures. Dentists may enter careers in private practice, hospitals, company clinics, the academe, and research.
Singapore is in Southeast Asia and is considered one of the safest countries in the world. It is a country known for its high academic standards and courses, with one of its courses being Dental Surgery. Dental students of Singapore usually complete their basic dental degree for about 4 years followed by clinical dentistry practices. They complete a full-time undergraduate course leading to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree then pursue practical experiences as a dentist.
The BDS degree is offered by the National University of Singapore, which is accredited by the Singapore Dental Council. After which, a student must complete registration processes and pursue a job offer from a hospital or clinic. Completing service in the public sector for a certain number of years is mandatory.
Passing admission requirements and completing registration processes, as well as successfully completing clinical internships are crucial to officially finish dentistry studies and practicing this rewarding profession.
Interested to be a dentistry student in Singapore? Check out these steps to give you an overview of what you need to know about the steps to become a doctor in Singapore:
Steps to Become a Dentist in Singapore
1. Finish the Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the National University of Singapore
As of the moment, the full-time Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree is only offered by National University of Singapore within the country. The program is designed for four years and is fully accredited by the Singapore Dental Country for registration purposes.
The BDS program has two phases: Pre-clinical during years 1-2 and Clinical during years 3-4. The first phase, pre-clinical, develops undergraduates’ knowledge of the basic life sciences. Hence the first 2 years comprise lectures, tutorials, seminars, and training on Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology, Pathology, and Microbiology. Dental sciences are also introduced and taught starting from their first year such as Cariology, Dental Public Health, and Operative Dentistry. Aside from lecture or classroom instructions, there are simulations and laboratory learning opportunities in order to prepare students to manage their patients.
The second phase, clinical, encompasses the oral health of patients across different ages. It develops students’ proficiency in dental treatment and is supervised by a Staff or Faculty for in-depth training. The university’s faculty has 6 specializations including Oral Sciences, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Endodontics Operative Dentistry and Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, and Primary Dental Care and Population Oral Health.
2. Register as a Dentist in Singapore
Aspiring dentists need to register to become a dentist in Singapore before they can practice their skills and tend to the oral health needs of the population. There are 3 types of dental registration namely Fully Registration, Conditional Registration, and Temporary Registration.
The Full Registration applies to students who graduated with a dental degree in Singapore, while the Conditional registration applies to dental degree holders from countries such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland, and United Kingdom. Dentists under the second category need to be supervised by a fully registered dentist, to which a report will be made every 6 months to the Dental Council. After 2 years of being under conditional registration, they may apply for Full Registration. On the other hand, dentists under Temporary registration are required to practice dentistry in the country for only a short time, usually for teaching purposes. Other dental degree holders who do not meet these 3 registration categories could apply for the qualifying exam.
The Qualifying exam is conducted for foreign-trained dentists if they have been offered employment in Singapore, are married to a Singaporean national, have an equivalent BDS degree, or have obtained higher educational requirements. There is a fee of $2,000 to take the exam.
To register, applicants have to accomplish the dental registration form first and submit this to the Singapore Dental Council along with the needed documents. The application cost is $300 for either full or conditional registration and $100 for temporary registration. Practicing certificates also entail a cost of $300 yearly.
3. Start career in the public sector and finish bond
Since medical and dental studies are highly subsidized by Singapore’s government, it is mandatory for students to sign a medical or dental Tuition Grant Agreement. This specifies that graduates should serve and practice in the local public health sector for 4 years, if a Singapore citizen, or 5 years, if a non-Singapore citizen, upon completion of studies.
In the case that the specified number of years is not completed, students are liable to a bond or amount as specified in the Agreement. The Ministry of Health coordinates and arranges these agreements before students even start their dental course.
After completing the required service in the public healthcare sector, dentists are free to choose their careers. There are opportunities for dentists in private practice, clinical research, medical writing, drug safety, among others. Graduate studies to earn a Master’s and/or PhD degrees are also available for those who want to expand their learning on dentistry.
I hope this article on the steps to become a dentist in Singapore was informative and helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.