In a nutshell, dentistry is the study of your teeth and oral health. It studies the
diagnosis, treatments, and prevention of diseases of the mouth. From tooth decay to
braces to detection of cancer by studying symptoms present in the oral cavity, everything falls
Dentistry is becoming an increasingly popular career choice and you might find yourself
fascinated by it. But before you choose to study it, you will find yourself wondering if it is hard?
What do you need to be good at in order to become a good dentist? Let us dive into the
answers to these questions.
Is Dentistry Hard?
Dentistry is hard because of the intense workload, highly complex and intricate procedures, and the sheer number of hours you will need to spend to become a licensed dentist. Overall dentistry is a difficult and challenging field that you should only pursue if you are passionate about it.
When faced with the question “is dentistry hard?”, it might be tempting to think it is not because
it is localized to a specific region when in actuality it is not easy.
Naturally, being a branch of medicine makes dentistry difficult. There are two sides to it:
theoretical and practical. You should be good at both. A good dentist will have an excellent
knowledge of his field to make the correct decisions when it comes to the prognosis. They will
also need to be good clinically to implement it.
When you go to dental school, you will find yourself dealing with a lot of areas of knowledge.
This includes orthodontics, pathology, and surgery among other things. Each is different and
before you choose a specialization, you will have to undergo a study of them all.
To top it off, all of this is taught at a fast pace which will make dentistry extremely hard if you
are not prepared to deal with the large workload in a short amount of time.
Moreover, if you ask an actual dentist why dental school is hard, they are very likely to mention
the need to finesse your motor skills. A general person has usually not developed the
dexterity that goes into navigating a space as small and delicate as the mouth. So in addition to
all the knowledge you are learning, you will also have to put in the work to ensure your hands
The number of years it takes to become a dentist is also another factor that dictates the difficulty
of dentistry. Depending on your region, it could take you 5 to 10 years to become a qualified
In Pakistan, for example, you can join a dental college immediately after the intermediate level.
In the USA on the other hand, you will have to first finish a four-year undergraduate program
before you can begin dental studies.
All in all, there are a lot of years of rigorous studies.
Then what happens when you are finally a dentist? Is it an easy job? It is possible that you
could have many patients come in with the same ailment and the course of action taken for
everyone will differ each time. Therefore, your mind has to stay sharp and its cogs well-
oiled all the years you run a dental practice.
That being said, nothing is too hard if you have got the passion for it and you have the mental
and physical fortitude required of a student of dentistry.
If you are an enthusiastic student, you will find that the copious amounts of studying you have to
do is actually a learning experience, and you are eager to understand the oral cavity even
A field that you will find to be very rewarding eventually will undoubtedly be difficult when you
begin the journey. But along the way, you will come to appreciate dentistry as another art form
and it will seem worth it.
To sum up, dentistry is hard. Balancing the conceptual lessons along with practical work,
mastering your handwork, differing specializations, and the sheer number of hours you will
spend studying, all contribute to the difficulty of dental school but that can be mitigated by your
keenness and hard work.
Is Dentistry More Difficult Than Medicine?
Medicine is slightly more difficult than dentistry due to higher competition, longer and more intense studies, and greater subject content to cover. However, both fields are quite difficult and require a great deal of effort and dedication.
Right off the bat, when you apply to a school to either study medicine or dentistry, you need to
consider which school is easier to get into. Due to a large number of students wishing to pursue
medicine, medical colleges have higher competition and are more difficult to get into.
Do the differences end there? Yes and no. From here onwards, the first two years of both
degrees follow a similar course outline. That means for this period, neither has a more complex
curriculum than the other.
As the years pass, dental studies diverge to focus more on the oral cavity. Whereas, medicine is
more general and diverse in the sense that it covers the diseases and treatments of the entire
human body and its organs. Therefore, in terms of the material covered, medicine takes the
lead once more. Although we must ask the question, does that mean dentistry is easier then?
That depends on your definition of easy.
Since dental school is more localized, it studies the mouth in exhaustive detail. This might
contribute to the complexity of dentistry. The depth in which a student of medicine studies a
given system throughout their four years will not be comparable to the thoroughness of
dentistry. Nonetheless, by their graduation, medical students will have learned far more material
relating to the entire body.
But it is important to consider what was mentioned above: as the dental students are carrying
out their everyday studies, they are also polishing the precision of their handwork, and spend
longer doing clinical work. This could result in them having more things to balance at the same
In conclusion, there is no definitive answer to whether dentistry is more difficult than medicine.
While the former covers its subject in greater depth, the other will require you to learn about
more systems in the same amount of time with the first two years following the same course
However, you will have more things going for you such as conceptual, clinical, and
dexterous studies in dental school.
Neither, however, is a walk in the park and requires you to put in a great deal of time and effort
Is it Stressful to be a Dentist?
Before fully getting into the details, we establish that any career that involves patients is
undeniably going to be stressful. As a dentist, you will be responsible for providing exceptional
healthcare for their oral cavity. Mistakes in treatment or misdiagnosis could have serious
repercussions on the health of the patient.
Additionally, the mouth is a sensitive and swamped working space. The patient is not
guaranteed to stay still. The stress of being careful with sharp equipment for elongated periods
will also eventually start taking a toll on you mentally and physically.
But however stressful the practice itself is, there are several benefits to being a dentist. To begin
with, if you have a private clinic, you can set your own hours. Flexible working hours have
been credited as a factor for tempering some of the pressure associated with the job. When you
compare it with another high-stress job such as a doctor, dentistry appears to have its perks.
Furthermore, it is no secret that the average pay for a dentist is on the higher side.
Regardless of the difficulty of the job, you will not have to worry about paying your bills monthly.
In that sense, if you are mulling over pursuing a career as a dentist, be prepared for a stressful
occupation but one that has perks to match it.
Is there a lot of Maths in Dental School?
The answer to the exact amount of mathematics varies from school to school but ultimately the
consensus is that there is little to no math in dentistry.
At most, you will be required to take a statistics course or basic calculus. Further than that, there
is no need for mathematics in a degree program that is heavily focused on the human body.
You will have to be proficient at other subjects with maths making up an almost negligible
percent of your studies at a dental school.
However, it can come in handy for a dentist who owns a private practice for budget and finance-related reasons. Dental school itself does not have more than one or two courses pertaining to
maths but it is good if you can do the basics of it to ensure a smooth running of your business
Therefore, if you are looking into studying dentistry and dread mathematics, you need not worry.
You will not have to face it too much, if at all.
Can I Do Dentistry Without Biology?
The answer to this is obvious: dentistry cannot be done without biology. In addition to chemistry,
biology is a prerequisite for you to get into dental school.
It is via biology that you start learning about the human body and as dentistry is the study of the
mouth, a part of the anatomy, you will not be able to grasp the basics of it if you have not
If you are going to a dental school that follows the USA model, it is not necessary that you
study biology in high school. But to supplement that, you will have to take up biology courses
in undergraduate college. Basic level biology is the minimum requirement but if you want to beat
the competition of getting into dental schools, it is recommended that you study biology
For the UK or similar models where you join medical and dental colleges right after finishing
high schooling, you cannot forgo biology. This includes even applying to the professional
colleges of your choice. They will not accept your application, let alone consider you after you
have given the entrance exams if you have not done biology.
Bottom line is that no matter where you are studying, to even get into dental schools some
level of biology is vital. It is impossible to grasp the complex biological concepts of dentistry if
you do not even know the basics.