So, you pretty much know all the important facts about studying a Griffith University Dentistry degree — take a quick look here if you need a refresher!
Now, do you want to know how people really feel about this degree? Here’s your chance to find out.
Meet Claire — she’s in her final year of a Master of Dentistry so she has already completed her Bachelor of Dental Health Science degree! She’s got a ton of knowledge about the degree so we ask her all those questions you really want to know the answers to.
Let’s dive in!
Why should you study a Dentistry degree at Griffith University?
Dental Health Science at Griffith is all about getting that practical and hands-on experience alongside learning all the theory and different dental techniques. Towards the end of your 3-year degree, you’ll move from practising on manikins in the simulated dental labs to the Griffith Dental Clinic where you’ll assist with and treat actual patients (don’t worry, you’re supervised so you still have a safety net).
As you move onto a Master of Dentistry (two more years), you’ll continue to refine your skills and knowledge in the clinic. All the dental students are fairly close because it’s a small cohort with just 80 students so you really get to know everyone!
Top 3 Pros of a Dentistry degree
#1: Hands-on learning
From day one, a Bachelor of Dental Health Science is hands-on!
So, you’ve got sim labs which are set up to imitate actual dental clinics (we’re talking all the equipment and even manikins).
“So that’s where we start practising everything we’ll be doing in the dental clinic — we do it on manikins, like plastic teeth and it’s really fun — probably one of the first times feeling like a dentist,” Claire told us.
In your third year, you actually start to assist with patients in the clinic! “You start putting those hand skills to use and start putting that theory into very real life application — of course, supervised, you do have a fallback, you do have that safety net,” Claire said.
“It’s a very comfortable way to learn, but it’s still getting thrown in the deep end and you really have to be on top of your theory and hand skills to be able to treat patients,” she added.
What a great way to learn!
#2: The community
Claire told us that another pro of studying Dental Health Science is “the community that you meet and develop through the degree”.
There’s around 80 people in each cohort which means you become a tight knit bunch. It’s also a very intense degree so you’re all in the same boat and really stick together!
“Everyone’s pretty supportive, really friendly and we spend so much time with each other, so we’re quite understanding of the hard work and the hours that it takes to get it done,” Claire said.
“I think it’s a really long degree and it provides a lot of networking and opportunities to meet people who are in a similar role or the same field — even people doing medicine or physio because we work quite closely with some of them,” she said.
It is definitely worth checking out GUDSA (Griffith University Dental Students’ Association). They provide social and career development events — so it’s a great way to meet new people, network and also have some fun!
There’s networking evenings and industry panels, workshops on all things teeth-related and of course, the much-loved annual Dental Ball!
#3: Job opportunities
Claire mentioned that the “employment opportunities afterwards” are also a pro of doing this degree!
“I think it gives you a lot of different opportunities and the chance to work in a medical health field without having to be on call or you know, you have that flexibility and I think that’s one of the really key things about this degree,” she explained.
As a dentist you also really get to know your patients because you’ll usually see them at least once a year, if not more!
“I think it’s the continuation of care and being able to see that same person again — I think that’s really nice about Dentistry,” Claire told us.
Top 3 Cons of a Dentistry degree
#1: Hard to find a balance
“I’d say it’s probably very hard to have a life outside of Dentistry, you know with 12 hours of contact a day and then we still have to study after that,” Claire said.
“It doesn’t leave too much room for work or family or hobbies or social life,” she said.
Yes, you did indeed hear that correctly. It is a contact heavy degree with 9-12 contact hours four to five days a week so you can expect 45-50 contact hours a week!
“At the end of the day, it has to be something that you really do because you love it. It’s not like you can really have too much going on the side or too much of a break from it — it’s a pretty consuming degree,” she explained.
So, you definitely have to be passionate about studying Dentistry and if you are, then it’s totally worth it.
#2: The workload
“The sheer time and the volume of content you have to learn is pretty hard and it can be a bit overwhelming,” Claire told us.
“Even if you enjoy it, then you’re happy to put the time in, but there are still times when you want a break or you just want to not think of teeth and you still have to do those hours,” she added.
There’s no doubt that it’s a very intense degree. You also really have to stay on top of everything and study a lot to keep up with the pace of the degree!
#3: The cost
Claire told us, “There are a lot of costs!”
“You know, paying for your own instruments, not being able to work at the same time,” she added.
Although Claire agrees that “it’s a very expensive degree”, she believes that “it shouldn’t shouldn’t put anyone off from it”.
“I think that, you know, you pay your money, but you’ll hopefully get it back,” she said.
When we asked Claire if she had any regrets, she answered, “Not really.” However, she wished she had started the Dental Health Science degree sooner.
Before Claire started Dentistry, she had planned to study Medicine.
“I finished my Health Science degree wanting to do Medicine and then I went into it and so I could have started Dentistry earlier as an undergrad,” she explained.
What do you wish you had known before starting Griffith University Dentistry?
Claire said that it’s really important to “start networking in the industry sooner than later”.
“Make sure that you’re going in, you’re observing dental clinicians, make sure you’re getting an experience outside of the university,” she advised.
She told us that dental clinicians are usually more than happy for you to observe them — you just have to take the first step and ask!
“I think that that was probably one of the best kinds of learning opportunities I’ve had,” she said.
“You’re taught one way at the uni and even though they have different supervisors with slightly different ways, it’s genuinely university, there’s a kind of one way goes but once you get out, they use different materials to uni, they have different ways of doing things, different procedures, different beliefs on how to do dentistry,” she explained.
Claire told us, “I think it’s good to have that awareness and see different ways to do it, so that you can choose what’s best for you.”
What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities?
#1: Focus on practical experience
“From hearing about other universities, I think that at Griffith, you get a lot more practical experience,” Claire said.
“We get a lot more contact hours, but you do get a lot more out of those contact hours,” she told us.
With a mix of sim dental labs where you’re practising on manikins and clinics where you actually get to assist with and treat patients, you’re always developing your practical skills and getting that experience you need!
“I think that it’s worth the extra hours and the extra practical sessions because you can really learn how to do things,” Claire said.
#2: The specialists
“I found that in comparison to other universities, we were taught a lot more by the specialists in the fields, people who are at the top of the game, so it’s really interesting to kind of get their perspective,” said Claire.
#3: Griffith Dental Clinic
Well, Griffith University actually has their own Dental Clinic — so both you and I could actually go there to get our teeth checked! Now, as a Dental student, this is pretty cool because that means in your third year and throughout your Masters, you actually get to assist with and treat patients!
“You really get to see a lot, you get a lot of patients coming through who have a lot of complex issues and so I think that you get to do a lot more at Griffith than you would at any other university,” said Claire.
What inspired you to choose Griffith University Dentistry?
Before studying Dental Health Science, Claire completed a Health Science degree at Griffith.
She thought she would go into Medicine but instead decided to apply for Dentistry after going into the Dental Clinic as a patient and seeing what they did there, which she found really interesting.
“I found it was a lot more hands-on than what I would have been doing in Medicine and so I thought that it was worth applying to Griffith to see if I get into the Dental program,” she explained.
And the rest is history! Claire is almost finished with her Masters and will soon be a registered dentist!
What are the possible career paths?
If you want to become a registered dentist — most students studying a Bachelor of Dental Health Science do — then you have to complete a Master of Dentistry which is an extra two years!
There are few different options when it comes to career paths — it really depends on what you’re most interested in:
- Dental hygienist
- Dental technician
- Dental therapist
- Dental assistant
Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.