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  • Writer's pictureThe Dental Booth

Dentistry in the UK after BDS

Every budding dentist who wishes to study abroad goes through a phase of uncertainty while choosing the country for further education. One of the trendiest options is to select the United Kingdom for further studies in Dentistry.


To practice as a dentist in the United Kingdom after BDS or postgraduation from your home country, there are 2 pathways: Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) and the License in Dental Surgery (LDS) Exam.


ORE (Overseas Registration Exam) PATHWAY – Most common pathway.

A few things to know before starting the process are:

  • You are eligible to register to practice dentistry in the UK without writing the ORE exams if you are a registered dentist from Australia, Hongkong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa.

  • For all the foreign-trained dentists, if you do not fall under any of the above mentioned, you need to write the ORE to become a registered dentist in the UK.

The ORE is an exam that foreign-trained dentists must pass to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). Registration allows dentists to practice dentistry unsupervised in the UK. The ORE tests dentists' clinical skills and knowledge from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), whose qualifications are not eligible for full registration with the GDC here in the UK. Candidates are expected to meet or exceed the standard of a 'just passed' UK BDS graduate.


The exam has to be taken in the United Kingdom as it is not conducted outside the country. Most students either go with the tourist visa to write the exam or take a master's program (either clinical or non-clinical) and prepare for the exams.


An important thing to note is - if you do not obtain your visa before the exam date, you'll not be refunded. So, it is better to plan your visa interviews and exam dates accordingly.


1. Requirements before applying for the ORE:

  • You need to fill an online application form on eGDC. https://www.egdc-uk.org/

  • You need to make sure you meet the clinical experience requirement. You must have at least 1600 hours of clinical experience where you have personally treated patients in the dental chair. The number of hours of this clinical experience will either be hours spent undertaking appropriate investigations and administering dental treatment: during your dental degree, during the post-qualification experience, or a combination of the two.

  • You are required to submit evidence of the English language by taking the IELTS (Academic) exam. Minimum bands of 7 and no less than 6.5 in each section are considered a good acceptance score.

2. Apply for the ORE:

Once applied, the GDC will send you confirmation about your applications and documents that they received. After this, your eGDC credentials will be emailed to you.


The exams consist of 2 parts:

Part 1 - Written Exam

Part 1 is designed to test the application of knowledge to clinical practice.

Part 2 - Clinical Exam

Part 2 is designed for candidates to demonstrate practical clinical skills.


You are allowed up to four attempts at each part of the ORE. You will have to pass Part 2 within five years of first sitting Part 1.


Cost of the exams:

Part 1 Exam: £806

Part 2 Exam: £2,929


There are only a limited number of seats to write the ORE exam.

Part 1 Exam: up to 200 candidate seats

Part 2 Exam: up to 144 candidate seats



For ORE Part 1, there will be 2 computer-based exam papers: Paper A covers clinically applied dental science and clinically applied human disease, and Paper B covers aspects of clinical dentistry, including law and ethics and health and safety.


Time: 3 hours

Questions: Multiple short answer questions (extended matching questions and single best answer questions).

Upon passing Part 1, your name will be added to the Part 2 candidate list.


For ORE Part 2, there are four components of the exam: An operative test on a dental manikin (DM), An objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), A diagnostic and treatment planning exercise (DTP), and A practical examination in medical emergencies (ME).


Once you have passed ORE Part 2, you will be able to apply for registration with the GDC. After completing ORE and with the GDC assessment team's approval, you will be registered as General Dental Practitioner. ​If you want to work within the National Health Services (NHS), you will be required to enter a 'performers' list.' To get onto such a list, you will need to be evaluated for suitability. This may mean that you are required to undertake up to a year's Vocational Training equivalence training.


LDS (License in Dental Surgery) PATHWAY – Less common pathway.

The LDS exam is conducted by the Faculty of Dental Sciences of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS).


LDS gives you post-nominal letters, as it is a degree/diploma awarded by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Many countries accept the LDS as an equivalent exam for registration with their own dental councils. Passing the LDS exam may thus serve as a ticket to practice in many other countries, without having to give the qualifying exams held in that country. If you have a high chance of not settling in one place and traveling across countries, then LDS may be the better choice out of the two for you.


To be eligible to enter each part of the LDS exam all candidates must: If holding a qualification awarded by an overseas university or licensing body that is not recognized by the GDC for purposes of full registration in the UK, produce evidence of qualification and a NARIC certificate.


1. Requirements before applying for the LDS exam:

  • Evidence of qualification and a NARIC certificate. In addition, it is necessary to provide certificates showing that the studies and courses undertaken were in line with the standards described in the First Five Years: A Framework for Undergraduate Dental Education 3rd edition (interim).

  • You need to make sure you meet the clinical experience requirement. You must have at least 1600 hours of clinical experience where you have personally treated patients in the dental chair. The number of hours of this clinical experience will either be hours spent undertaking appropriate investigations and administering dental treatment: during your dental degree, during the post-qualification experience, or a combination of the two.

  • You are required to submit evidence of the English language by taking the IELTS (Academic) exam. Minimum bands of 7 and no less than 6.5 in each section are considered a good acceptance score.

2. Apply for the LDS exam:

The exam was conducted in 2 parts but from June 2022 it will be conducted in 3 parts:

Part 1 - Written Exam

Part 1 is designed to test the application of knowledge to clinical practice.

Part 2 - Clinical Exam

Part 2 is designed for candidates to demonstrate practical clinical skills.

Part 3 – Details will be updated soon.


You must pass Part 2 within five years of passing Part 1. Up to four attempts are allowed for each part of the exam. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and you may be unable to secure four Part 2 places in five years.


Cost of the exams:

Part 1 Exam: £900

Part 2 Exam: £1,575

Part 3 Exam: £1,525


There are only a limited number of seats to write the LDS exam.

Part 1 Exam: up to 120 candidate seats

Part 2 Exam: about 48 - 60 candidate seats

Part 3 Exam: TBC candidates


  • You will need to have an RCS online account and know their contact/membership number. You do not need to log in to apply and no payment will be taken at this stage. Completing the application does not confirm your place on the exam.

  • Selection to write the LDS exam is granted via a random allocation ballot and confirmed via email within 24 hours.

  • If you are selected, you are required to complete payment of the examination fee and provide the relevant documentation by the date confirmed in the confirmation email - information on how to do this will be provided in the confirmation email.

Part 1 LDS is comprised of two papers: single best answer (SBA) questions and extended matching (EMQ) questions. Both Part 1 papers must be passed in one sitting for candidates to progress to Part 2. The examination will be held remotely online from now on.


Exam Pattern: a) clinically applied dental science and clinically applied human disease, b) aspects of clinical dentistry, law and ethics, and health and safety.


Only after passing the LDS Part 1, you will be able to register for LDS Part 2 by the application closing date online.


Part 2 LDS will be held over a two-day period and consists of two sections: objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) consisting of 12 stations, each of 7-minute duration; the ‘unseen case’ exam - (based on an objective structured long examination – OSLE model) which is designed to test candidates’ diagnosis treatment planning and clinical reasoning. Consisting of four cases, approximately 30 minutes each. The exam has to be taken in the United Kingdom as it is not conducted outside the country. Most students either go with a tourist visa to write the exam or take a master's program (either clinical or non-clinical) and prepare for the exams.


An important thing to note is - if you do not obtain your visa before the exam date, you'll not be refunded. So, again it is better to plan your visa interviews and exam dates accordingly.

Candidates must pass Part 2 to be eligible to apply for Part 3. Up to three attempts are allowed for the Part 2 exam. It is a candidate’s responsibility to apply for resits.


Check out the information on the LDS exam structure change: LDS Structure Change


Part 3 LDS will be held over a one-day period and consist of one section: a 180-minute operative assessment on a dental manikin, designed to test your practical clinical dental skills. The examination will be held in the United Kingdom.


After passing all the 3 parts of the LDS exam, eligible to apply for registration with the General Dental Council (GDC). There is a £230 completion fee for those completing an FDS Royal College of Surgeons of England diploma. This fee will be collected once you have passed the exam. Candidates are also required to complete a serology test and a basic life support (BLS) course.

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