How To Become A Dentist In South Africa

How To Become A Dentist In South Africa

Dentistry is one of the most rewarding and challenging career paths in the healthcare industry. In South Africa, becoming a dentist requires a great deal of education and dedication. However, for those who are passionate about helping others achieve optimal oral health, the journey to becoming a dentist is well worth it.

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  1. Educational Requirements
  2. Skills Required
    1. Specializations In Dentistry
  3. Job Outlook and Salary
    1. Conclusion

Educational Requirements

In South Africa, to become a dentist, you will need a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree. This is a five-year undergraduate program that is offered by several universities across the country. To qualify for admission to this program, you must have:

  • A National Senior Certificate or an equivalent qualification;
  • A minimum of 40% in English home language or 50% in English first additional language, a minimum of 40% in Mathematics, and a minimum of 40% in Physical Sciences or Life Sciences;
  • Satisfactory scores in the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs).

After completing your BDS degree, you will need to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to practice as a dentist. You will also need to complete a year of community service before you can be fully registered.

Skills Required

To be a successful dentist in South Africa, you will need to have certain skills:

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  • Manual dexterity: You will be using your hands to perform delicate procedures, so you must have excellent manual dexterity.
  • Strong communication skills: You must be able to communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals.
  • Analytical and critical thinking skills: You must be able to diagnose and treat dental problems effectively.
  • Ability to work under pressure: You may have to work long hours and deal with patients who are in pain.
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Specializations In Dentistry

Once you have completed your BDS degree, you can specialize in a particular area of dentistry. Some of the specializations include:

OrthodonticsFocusing on diagnosing and correcting dental abnormalities, such as bad bites or misaligned teeth.
PeriodonticsSpecializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease, which affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.
EndodonticsFocusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries to the dental pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for dentists in South Africa is positive, with a projected growth rate of 16% by 2026. The average salary for dentists in South Africa is around R475,000 per year.


Becoming a dentist in South Africa requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be a very rewarding career. To succeed in this profession, you must have a passion for helping others, excellent manual dexterity, strong communication skills, and the ability to work under pressure. With these skills and the right education, you can have a successful career as a dentist in South Africa.

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