Becoming a Dentist in India: A Step-by-Step Guide

published on
Jul 2, 2024
4 Min REad
Table of Content

Are you a fresh graduate or a young professional looking for an exciting career path in the healthcare industry? If you have an interest in oral health and a passion for helping others, becoming a dentist could be the perfect choice for you.

In this article, we will explore how to become a dentist in India, providing valuable insights and guidance to help you kickstart your journey.


How to Become a Dentist: The Prerequisites

Dentistry is a rewarding career that requires a unique set of skills and qualifications. To become a dentist in India, there are certain fundamental requirements you need to meet.

Firstly, you need to have the basic skills required in dentistry. This includes:

  • Good manual dexterity
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Effective communication skills
  • Keen interest in oral healthcare

Secondly, it is essential that you have a strong foundation in science subjects during your school years. Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are the core subjects that you should focus on in class 12. This will provide you with the knowledge and understanding needed for further studies in dentistry.

Thirdly, to kickstart your journey towards becoming a dentist, it is important to clear the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) UG exams. NEET UG is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and serves as the gateway to various medical and dental colleges across India. It evaluates your knowledge in physics, chemistry, and biology and includes multiple-choice questions with a negative marking system.

To be eligible for NEET UG exams, candidates must have completed their 10+2 education or equivalent with an aggregate of at least 50% marks (40% for reserved categories).


How to Become a Dentist: Education Options

When it comes to pursuing dentistry as a career in India, there are different education options available at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

For those interested in undergraduate degrees, the two primary programmes offered are:

  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

BDS vs. MBBS: Which one to pick?

While both programmes have their merits, BDS specifically focuses on dental care, and MBBS provides comprehensive medical training.

Duration: BDS typically spans five years, including an internship, whereas MBBS is a longer programme of around five and a half years with one year of compulsory rotating internship.

Fees: The average fee for BDS is INR 1-6 lakhs, while MBBS fees range between INR 1-8 lakhs.

Syllabus: During the BDS programme, you will study subjects like dental anatomy, oral pathology, periodontics, and orthodontics, among others. MBBS covers a broader range of medical subjects, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and surgery.

After completing your BDS or MBBS degree, you may choose to specialise in a specific area of dentistry through postgraduate programmes. Some popular specialisations include Orthodontics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.


How to Become a Dentist: Job Roles and Opportunities

As a dentist, you have the opportunity to explore various job profiles and work in different settings. Here are some of the job roles you can consider:

1. General Dentist: This is the most common role for dentists, where you provide routine dental care and perform procedures like fillings, cleanings, and extractions.

2. Orthodontist: If you enjoy working with braces and aligning teeth, you can specialise as an orthodontist. You will diagnose and treat dental irregularities using devices like braces or clear aligners.

3. Endodontist: As an endodontist, your focus will be on root canal treatments and saving infected teeth through procedures like root canal therapy or dental surgeries.

4. Oral Surgeon: If you are interested in more complex procedures, becoming an oral surgeon might be the right path for you. You will perform surgeries related to the mouth, jaw, and face.

5. Periodontist: Specialising as a periodontist means you will primarily deal with gum diseases and conditions affecting the supporting structures of the teeth.

As a dentist, you have the flexibility to work in various settings, such as:

  • Private dental clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Dental colleges/universities
  • Government healthcare facilities
  • Research organisations
  • Dental product manufacturing companies

How to Become a Dentist: Salary Expectations

As a dentist in India, your salary potential can increase over time as you gain experience and establish yourself in the field. Several factors can influence your earnings, including your specialisation, location, and years of experience.

Here's a look at the average salaries of dentists with different experience levels:

  • Entry Level: ₹3-5 lakhs
  • Mid-Level: ₹7-10 lakhs
  • Senior Level: ₹12-15 lakhs

Dentists practising in urban areas tend to earn higher salaries compared to those in rural centres. For instance, a dentist working in a metropolitan city like Mumbai may earn around ₹15 lakhs per year, while their counterpart in a rural area might earn around ₹8-10 lakhs.

Specialisations can also significantly boost a dentist's earning potential. For example, oral surgeons and orthodontists typically earn higher salaries due to their specialisations. An experienced oral surgeon can earn upwards of ₹25 lakhs per year, as compared to a general dentist's salary of ₹8-15 lakhs.

Upskilling Opportunities

To stay ahead in the dental industry, continuous upskilling is essential. There are various certification programmes available that allow dentists to enhance their skills and expand their knowledge in specific areas of dentistry.

A few popular certification programmes include:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Implantology
  • Endodontics (Root Canal Treatment)
  • Orthodontics for General Practitioners
  • Oral Surgery

Additionally, there are courses available specifically designed to improve employability in the dental field. These courses cover topics such as Dental Practice Management, Dental Marketing, and Dental Technology.


A Bright Future Ahead

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a dentist in India can lead to a bright and lucrative future. With the increasing demand for dental care and the wide range of opportunities available in this field, becoming a dentist can be a rewarding choice.

Remember to visit WIZR, the ed-tech platform that offers financing options for young professionals seeking career-focused training, to explore further opportunities within the dental industry.



1. How long does it take to become a dentist in India?

Becoming a dentist in India typically takes around 5 years for an undergraduate degree (BDS) and an additional 3 years for postgraduate specialisations.

2. Is BDS enough to have a successful career as a dentist?

While a BDS is sufficient to start practising dentistry, pursuing postgraduate specialisation programmes can enhance career prospects and open up more opportunities.

3. How many years of experience are required to open your own dental clinic?

There is no fixed requirement for opening your own dental clinic; however, it is recommended to gain at least 2-3 years of work experience before considering starting your own practice.

4. Are dentists among the highest-paid medical practitioners?

Dentists are among the best-paid medical professionals in India, with salaries varying depending on factors such as experience, specialisation, location, and type of practice.

5. Do super-specialty hospitals include dental surgery?

Super-specialty hospitals mainly focus on medical specialties rather than dental surgery; however, some hospitals may have separate departments or collaborations with specialised dental clinics.

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