During sixth form and throughout school, I’d never considered dentistry as a career. I hadn’t had much exposure to dentistry other than a yearly check-up in which I hadn’t required any treatment. Because of this, I applied to study Medical Science and set about pursuing a career in designing and running clinical trials for large pharmaceutical companies.

As part of my medical science degree I spent a year in Sydney, Australia in a sleep medicine facility. During this time, I met a dentist that fitted mouth splints for those who suffer with obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition in which the airways close in sleep causing a drop in blood oxygen saturation. This was the first instance in which I had exposure to how wide a career dentistry could be and the number of different specialities it included.

On my return to the UK, I also decided to undergo orthodontic treatment and I became interested in the aesthetic possibilities within dentistry. After completing two weeks work experience at my local dentist, I was sure that I wanted to pursue a career in dentistry. I like the hands on nature of the role, interacting with patients and also the wide range of opportunities there are within in dentistry including managing your own practice.

Prior to starting at King’s I was slightly nervous about being a mature student and worried about whether I would get along with other students. However, at King’s there is such a wide spectrum of students that this wasn’t a problem. Within dentistry students come from so many different backgrounds. Some have previously had careers within finance, others join after finishing a medical degree as well as there being international students from across the globe. The diversity of students is certainly one of the best things about studying at King’s. I’ve met such a variety of people as well as learning about different cultures, religions and traditions.

Although I think I underestimated the amount of work required when studying dentistry (I wrongly thought it couldn’t be more hectic than my final year of my medical science degree!), I haven’t regretted committing to another four years at university. It can be frustrating to see my peers graduating and heading out into the world of work, however, they are often jealous of my schedule and I’ve found most people stay in London for graduate schemes so there is always someone to catch up with. Also, as the vast majority of the dentistry course at King’s involves practical work, the past two years have flown past and every day is completely different. The patient interaction makes it more than worth it.

Whatever your journey to applying to study dentistry at King’s or your reasons for wanting to become a dentist, there is something for everyone at King’s College London. Throughout the course there are many different opportunities to get involved with a variety of dental specialities, as well as there being several high profile dental conferences and talks within London to attend.

Joelle.