Dental graduates are spoilt for choice in New Zealand and overseas. Dentists are in demand all over the world. Some graduates opt to work in private practice, while others join the defence force or work in hospital clinics—helping to reconstruct faces and jaws after surgery or accidents.
Dentistry can be a financially-rewarding career, offering independence and flexibility in terms of working hours and type of practice.
Many dentists specialise and undertake postgraduate study available in all areas of dentistry including orthodontics (straightening teeth) and oral surgery.
Nicholas Cutfield, BDS Graduate
Nicholas Cutfield is passionate about dentistry and knows that he has made the right decision to follow this career path. He began his studies at the University of Otago with Health Sciences First Year (HSFY), followed by a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in physiology, and now a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).
Although dentistry was not part of his original plan, once introduced to it he was hooked. "There are loads of cool toys and exciting technology to play with," Nick explains.
"I loved the hands-on approach to dentistry. Right from the very start you have a handpiece (drill) in your hand," he says. Skills are developed through practice on fake teeth in the brand new state-of-the-art dental simulation suite.
From second year you have your own patients. "You even get to practise injections on your colleagues," Nick adds.
All the time you have tutors who are world-class specialists on hand if you need it. It is not just the technology and practical aspects that are appealing to Nick, but also the lifestyle opportunities that dentistry offers. "There are fantastic business opportunities and it is definitely the lifestyle choice out of all the health professions. You graduate with a practicing certificate meaning there are no intern years," he says.
Nick also adds, "you can work the hours you choose and develop your practice to suit your own style."
Nick's final view on his career choice is, "I think the profession has a very exciting future. And New Zealand needs dentists!"