Dental Science Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Dental Science?

Dental Science is the science concerned with the study, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the teeth, gums and mouth. This includes the related structures of the mouth, mouth tissue and supporting bones of the mouth and the repair or replacement of defective teeth.

Dentistry, also known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that focuses on the examination of teeth and diagnosing dental conditions using tools such as x-rays. Dentists will assess treatment options and formulate treatment plans with patients.

Education of patients on oral healthcare is also an important part of the Dental team.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Dental Science courses in the following subject areas:

  • Health Promotion: Oral Health – The study of the knowledge and skills on health promotion, the causes of oral ill-health and oral health promotion.
  • Dental Science for Clinical Practice – Gain a comprehensive grounding in six key training areas: basic sciences and their application to modern-day dental practice applied principles of clinical dentistry, clinical skills, communication skills, professionalism, management and leadership.
  • Basic Dental Sciences – The study of craniofacial genetics, stem cell biology, craniofacial development and more.
  • Periodontics – The study of the management of periodontal conditions and the planning and execution of oral Implant therapy.
  • Prosthodontics – This course prepares the student for the clinical practice of prosthodontics at the specialist level and provides the basis for continuing professional development after completion of the programme.
  • Oral Surgery – A study of the practical aspects of Oral Surgery (dental surgery, implants, intra-oral soft tissue surgery and bone grafting).
  • Paediatric Dentistry – The study of dentistry for children in a variety of clinical settings.

Studying Dental Science in college

There are many Dental Science courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

Whatever career area you’re interested in with the Dental Sciences field, finding some short-term paid or voluntary work will improve your prospects of getting a job and can give you valuable insight into how a practice or hospital operates.

Although additional work experience is not essential to improve your chances of getting a job, a few weeks of work shadowing or experience within a dental practice will help to show your commitment to the role. Many dental students contribute to charities offering oral healthcare advice to the community. Volunteering will enhance your transferable skills such as communication and teamwork, as well as building your self-confidence

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Dental Science you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Dentistry and Oral Health.

As a dentist, you’ll prevent and treat problems affecting the mouth and teeth, deal with injuries and correct dental issues.

The most common role in dentistry is as a general dental practitioner. General Dental Practitioners will typically work as a self-employed contractors providing dental care to the general public in practices. It is also possible to work part-time in hospitals.

Working hours will largely depend on the role you take on; if you are self-employed you will be able to arrange your own working hours, which may include weekend or evening sessions to suit patients. Work within hospitals tends to be on short-term contracts and involves more irregular hours, with on-call responsibilities.

Related jobs include:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Dental technician
  • Dental therapist
  • Dentist
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Orthodontist
  • Paediatric dentistry
  • Restorative dentistry
  • Anatomical pathology technologist
  • Health improvement practitioner
  • Health service manager
  • Medical sales representative
  • Science writer
  • Teaching laboratory technician

Further study

After completing a course in Dental Science you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as orthodontics, periodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgery.


What are the different types of dentistry?

You may choose to specialise in a different area of dentistry, such as:

  • Community dental care – working in patients’ homes, nursing homes and community clinics, treating patients who have special requirements that mean they can’t attend a high street practice.
  • Dental public health – carrying out non-clinical work, assessing the dental health needs of populations rather than individuals.
  • Hospital dental care – dealing with cases of special difficulty and providing treatment to long-stay hospital patients, emergency treatment for short-stay patients or the general public for teaching purposes.
  • Armed forces – providing a comprehensive range of dental services for armed forces personnel both locally and abroad, operating as a military dental officer.

Why is Dental Science Important?

Good dental health translates to good health overall. Dental problems such as cavities or gum disease can impair your ability to eat and speak properly, cause pain and bad breath but what many people may not realize, is that poor dental health can have a profoundly, negative effect on areas outside of the mouth too. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes have all also been linked to poor oral hygiene.

Where can I study Dental Science?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Right-handed people tend to chew food on the right side of their mouth, while left-handed people tend to chew their food on the left side of their mouth.
  • Like your tooth prints and fingerprints, your tongue is also unique. No two people share the same tongue print.
  • Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene. When you do not floss, you are missing over 40% of tooth surfaces, which is why your dentist always emphasizes flossing
  • A West Virginia inmate once used dental floss to braid a rope, which he used to scale a building and escape in 1992.
  • One of the most common effect of poor dental hygiene is bad breath. Over 90% of bad breath originates in the mouth.

Mariza Halliday

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