Studying Dentistry in Germany
An article by Florian Schumann. Cooperation from: Gabriele Meister
That is what it's about
"When people think of dentistry, they think of cavities. But we are not only concerned with the treatment of teeth, but also of the entire oral cavity, for example in the case of inflammations in the jaw or tumours on the tongue," says Andreas Jäger, Professor of Dentistry at the University of Bonn and President of the Association of University Teachers of Dentistry, Oral Medicine and Maxillofacial Surgery. "People are talking increasingly about oral medicine instead of dentistry for that reason."
Oral diseases can affect other parts of the body or organs, for example, inflammation of the teeth can increase the risk of a heart attack. "Dentists need to know these connections, be able to educate their patients about them and refer them to other specialists," Jäger says.
Although dentistry is a separate degree course, general medical knowledge is becoming increasingly important. With the new study regulations from the winter semester 2021, there are so-called interdisciplinary subjects in which this is taught. Digitalisation also plays an increasing role: Some dentists already scan the oral cavity instead of taking impressions.
This is how the course runs
The degree course is structured everywhere in the same way. It is more about craftsmanship than medical studies, as students practice with models right from the start and shape crowns or prostheses, for example. Until the first state exam (formerly: preliminary medical examination), dental and human physicians often study together in the lecture theatre and read up on science. In addition, dental students take courses in dental technology, prophylaxis and prevention. The fifth and sixth semesters are called "phantom years" because students practice preparing teeth and placing fillings on "phantom heads" - heads made of plastic. It ends with the second state examination. From the seventh semester onwards, the main focus is on treating patients. In addition, there are other dental and also medical subjects such as pathology or emergency medicine. After the tenth semester, the third state examination follows, in which knowledge of pharmacology and microbiology, for example, is required in addition to patient treatment. You are then allowed to work as a dentist. In order to be able to settle the costs with the health insurance companies, you must train for two years to become a contract dentist. If you want to become an orthodontist or an oral surgeon, you will complete a specialist training course. "More and more dentists are working on staff in group practices or care centrers, so there's more teamwork and more opportunities to work part-time," Jäger says.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- What happens in the oral cavity when you chew, swallow, or speak?
- How can you replace a lost tooth?
- What role do bacteria play in causing tooth decay or inflammation?
- What preventive measures can be used to avoid tooth decay?
- What helps to prevent bleeding gums?
- How do you treat patients without causing them pain?
- How do you build dentures?
- How are plasters, metals, or plastics typically used and processed for dentures?
The subject suits you,...
... you are interested in natural sciences and are handy. You also need sensitivity in dealing with patients and a sense of aesthetics. To get through the work load, you should be able to structure your day and be good at memorisation.
Consumables and instruments can easily add up to several thousand euros. Some universities provide part of the equipment.
Is there a numerus clausus?
Dentistry is subject to nationwide admission restrictions, and applications are submitted via the hochschulstart.de portal. The entrance restriction was in the A grade levels at the last count.