Becoming a Licensed Dentist in the Philippines: The Journey of a Dental Warrior

Becoming a Licensed Dentist in the Philippines: The Journey of a Dental Warrior
Table Of Content

The Journey of Becoming a Dentist in the Philippines

Deciding to pursue a career in dentistry is only the first step on the road to becoming a licensed dentist in the Philippines. It’s a long and challenging journey, but ultimately a rewarding one if you have the dedication and patience required to make it. If you aspire to proudly call yourself a “dental warrior” one day, here’s what you can expect on this career path.

Getting Your Pre-Dental Degree

In order to even apply for dental school in the Philippines, you first need to complete a pre-dental undergraduate degree, typically a BS in Biology or related field. This will provide you with essential foundational knowledge in science to prepare you for the rigors of dental school.

As a pre-dental student, be prepared to devote significant time to lab courses in biology, microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and other sciences. Maintaining excellent grades in these challenging courses demonstrates you have the capacity to take on dental school academics.

Shadowing dentists or volunteering in clinics during school breaks also helps strengthen your application while giving you valuable exposure to the daily work of a dentist even before starting dental school.

Taking the Dental Aptitude Test

To apply for dental school, you’ll need to take and pass the Philippine Dental Aptitude Test (PDAT). This 5-hour standardized exam evaluates your logical thinking, visual spatial ability, manual dexterity, academic readiness, and understanding of basic scientific principles – all critical skills for success in dental school.

The PDAT is only offered once or twice per year so register well in advance. Thoroughly review topics like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, Logic, and Perceptual Ability to give yourself the strongest chance of hitting that passing PDAT score.

Applying for Dental School

Once you’ve earned your college degree and PDAT eligibility, it’s time to start applying to dental schools. Top picks like the University of the East College of Dentistry or Centro Escolar University School of Dentistry should be on your list along with other reputable options.

Compile a strong dental school application highlighting your academic credentials, extracurriculars, dental exposure, leadership experience, and commitment to the profession. Compose a compelling personal statement emphasizing why you want to become a dentist in the Philippines.

Be prepared to sit for school-specific entrance exams and interviews. This is your chance to make an impression and show the admissions committee you have the dedication to become a “dental warrior."

What to Expect While Earning Your DMD

Congratulations, you made it into dental school! Now the real work begins over the next 4+ years to earn your Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Expect long days, endless studying, and intense pressures on the road to graduation.

Rigorous Course Load

From classroom lectures to clinical rotations, you’ll be bombarded with a heavy course load each term covering everything from anatomy and pathology to preventive dentistry and orthodontics. Be prepared to digest vast amounts of information spanning basic sciences, preclinical techniques, and clinical procedures.

Plenty of all-nighters spent studying for big exams or completing extensive case reports will be required. But all that hard work is preparing you to ace the dental boards and succeed as a licensed dentist down the road.

Developing Your Clinical Skills

While grades are critical, becoming a skilled clinician is the key focus of dental school. You’ll spend years working extensively in simulation labs and dental clinics mastering proper techniques for examining patients, diagnosing conditions, creating treatment plans, and performing various procedures.

From basic cleanings and fillings to root canals, crowns, bridges and more, you have to demonstrate competency across the full scope of dental care. Expect long days in the clinic perfecting your clinical approach under the watchful eyes of instructors.

Preparing for Dental Boards

After graduating dental school, there is still one big hurdle left – passing the dental boards. This 2-part licensure exam spanning written components and clinical skills evaluation will determine your readiness to practice dentistry in the Philippines.

Many extra weeks or months of intense review courses and mock exams are usually necessary after graduation to prepare for this vital exam. But once you’ve successfully earned your DMD and passed those boards, all the years of sleepless nights and demanding work will feel worth it.

Life After Earning Your Dental License

Finally, after 4 years of intense dental school and passing the licensure exam, you’ve crossed the finish line to becoming a full-fledged dentist authorized to practice in the Philippines. All your years of dedication and persistence to complete this journey means you can proudly claim the title of “dental warrior.”

Finding the Right Dental Job

With license in hand, the next step is finding the right practice or clinic to launch your dental career. Seek out respected clinics known for mentoring recent grads. Big city dental corporations can provide stability but consider trying out rural regional practices to get more hands-on experience in those first few years after dental school.

Weigh options like joining a solo, group, or specialty practice against starting your own clinic. Determine what patient population and procedures most appeal to your professional interests and skills.

Continuing Your Education

Just because you’re licensed doesn’t mean the learning stops as a dentist. Expect to complete regular CE courses throughout your career staying up-to-date on the latest techniques, equipment, and best practices. Advanced certification programs in specialties like orthodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery are also great ways to keep expanding your clinical capabilities over time.

Pursuing opportunities to give lectures or publish research can further establish your reputation as a thought leader in Philippine dentistry while fueling positive change for the next generation of “dental warriors.”

Impacting Patients’ Lives

At the heart of every dentist’s career is the ability to positively impact patients on a daily basis. From alleviating dental pain to restoring damaged smiles, you get to fundamentally improve people’s oral health, function, and self-confidence.

Don’t underestimate that feeling of fulfillment witnessing patients leave your clinic overjoyed by the difference you made through your expertise, compassion, and commitment to excellent dental care.

After so many years of intense training and testing, getting to apply your skills as a licensed dentist to transform patients’ wellbeing makes the entire journey to become a “dental warrior” truly rewarding.


What is the first step to becoming a dentist in the Philippines?

The first step is earning a pre-dental bachelor's degree, typically in Biology or a related science field, to gain essential foundational knowledge to apply to dental school.

How long does it take to complete dental school in the Philippines?

Most dental programs in the Philippines take 4 years minimum to complete and earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, involving intensive classroom and clinical education.

What exam do you need to pass to become a licensed dentist?

After graduating dental school, aspiring dentists need to pass the Philippine dental boards exam which includes written tests and a clinical skills evaluation to demonstrate readiness to practice safely.

What are some top dental schools in the Philippines?

Some of the top picks for dental schools are the University of the East College of Dentistry, Centro Escolar University School of Dentistry, and Manila Central University College of Dentistry.

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