A Levels Needed for Dentistry: Our Guide to Top Schools Applications

A Levels Needed for Dentistry: Our Guide to Top Schools Applications

February 28, 2024 | 3months | General

Being one of the alternatives in healthcare services, dentistry is a popular career choice for students looking to start university. In the last few years, its popularity has greatly increased, given the work benefits that this job has to offer. For example, orthodontics specialists can have annual salaries of over £115,000. Additionally, dentists can choose to work in healthcare institutions, and dental hospitals or on their own, a freedom that sounds appealing to many.

If you are planning to study dentistry at university, you should know that you will need to sit for Biology and/or Chemistry at A-level, and aim for high grades, which takes a lot of effort and lots of studying. But we've got you covered. Keep on reading to find out what are the A-level requirements for dentistry, where you can study and more.

How do you know if dentistry is what you want to do?

Many students finishing secondary school or college usually have a couple of options in mind for their academic future, and it is common for many to be hesitant about choosing between dentistry and other medicine-related courses.

Students who want to start a healthcare career normally feel they want to choose a profession through which they can directly help other people enjoy a better quality of life. For some, dentistry was the best choice compared to medicine because:

  • Dentistry involves more hands-on work, which might be appealing to people with a preference for kinaesthetic activities.
  • Results tend to be faster to see. On many occasions, dentist consultations end with a visible change or clear improvement for the patient, which may be more rewarding for the treating professional.
  • You don't make life-or-death decisions. You can drastically change a patient's quality of life, but the treatments you indicate will probably not be as risky as a doctor's could. Of course, this also depends on the medical specialty you choose in both cases.
  • There are many different branches of dentistry to choose from. Whether you want a more medical approach to treating patients with serious clinical conditions, or you want to focus on aesthetics, you get to choose.

Exploring other career choices? Take a look at our recommended A-levels for Medicine.

If you still have doubts about choosing one option or the other, try volunteering in these areas to see what a day in the life of a doctor or a dentist is like. This will give you deep insight into what the job is like, what it involves, and whether you really like it or not.

female dentistry student

What A Levels are needed for dentistry?

Most dentistry courses require a minimum of 3 A-levels with A*AA grades in specific subjects and also accept other complementary subjects that fit well for the course. Here is what A-levels are for dentistry UK courses and the criteria to choose A-levels for this course:

Preferred subjects

Here is a list of the subjects that most universities require as mandatory. However, these may change from one institution to another, so we recommend checking on the website of your university of choice.


Learning about Chemistry is important in dentistry to understand how chemical factors affect teeth and mouth tissue, how cements and alloys behave within the oral cavity and how to deal effectively with bacteria. For this reason, Chemistry is one of the most important subjects among those required by most dental schools.


Studying Biology helps students understand basic bodily functions and behaviours, like inflammatory processes, homeostasis, immunological response and bacterial life cycle. That's why this is another essential A-level to enter dentistry school, as it is required to enter most universities.


Dentists use Maths to calculate measures, forces, proportions and even quotes for their work. Though numbers are not as widely used as in engineering or architecture, they are still used every day in the dentist's office.


The concept of forces and how they interact is key in dentistry in order to properly treat crooked or displaced teeth, perform extractions and use dental implants. Though not the top requirement, Physics is one of the desired subjects for university acceptance boards.

Complementary facilitating subjects

Facilitating subjects are a set of subjects that are not directly related to the course but can add up to make you a suitable candidate for it, and which are usually the answer to "what are the easiest A-levels?"


English is always a good choice to pick, as it will give you the tools to express yourself more clearly and professionally, and also to have the necessary reading comprehension to understand academic material later in university.


Many patients are scared of going to the dentist and their fear may make consultation and treatment for them as well as the doctor. Having a psychology background can help in making your patients feel more comfortable and understood in a stressful situation.


As in medicine, having knowledge of sociology can help in identifying patterns between a patient's social status and their health. Understanding the connection between a patient's medical condition, their everyday life and their social environment can help adjust treatments accordingly.

male dentistry student

Best A-Level combination for aspiring dentists

Chemistry, Biology & Maths

Biology and Chemistry make up a good combination as the basics of human anatomy and physiology, and Maths provides the necessary tools for daily calculations and problem-solving.

Chemistry, Biology & Physics

Physics adds the knowledge to understand, for example, how teeth move in orthodontic treatments or how wisdom teeth can "push" others. In combination with Chemistry and Biology, this is one of the top combinations to enter dental school.

Chemistry, Biology & Psychology

Aside from the scientific resources that Chemistry and Biology have to offer, adding Psychology to the equation can help in developing the humane aspect of treating patients in the clinic.

Dentistry course entry requirements

Let's have a look at the top options among dental schools to understand what are the standard university requirements. Keep in mind that acceptance rates vary from one institution to another, but the average ranges from 5-20%.

University A-Level requirements Grade requirements Admission tests Others
Queen Mary University of London 1- Biology or Chemistry
2- Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Maths
A*AA UCAT above bottom 40% of applicants Resits not admitted
777666 grades in GCSEs, including Biology, Chemistry, English Language, and Mathematics.
King's College London 1- Biology or Chemistry
2- Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths or Psychology
A*AA UCAT + GCSEs Resits are admitted
6 in Maths and English GCSE (if not in A-level).
Liverpool University 1- Biology
2- Chemistry
3- Arts or Science related
AAA UCAT + SJT + PS 8 GCSEs, including English Language, Maths and Science grade 6.
Birmingham University 1- Biology2- Chemistry AAA UCAT above bottom 25% of applicants 7 in Maths and English and 8 in Biology and Chemistry GCSEs.

Tips for success in A-Levels for dentistry

Achieving success in A-Levels, especially in most science-related subjects, demands a strategic approach to studying. Here's how you can excel in your A-Levels and make your application to dental school stand out.

Study strategies for science subjects

  • Conceptual Understanding Over Rote Learning: Focus on understanding the concepts rather than memorising facts. This will help you apply knowledge in different contexts, a crucial skill for problem-solving in dentistry.
  • Regular Revision: Make a habit of regular revision to reinforce your understanding and recall of key concepts instead of revising once you are done with the course. This can be done through creating summary notes, mind maps, or teaching the material to someone else.
  • Group Study Sessions: Joining or forming study groups can provide motivation and help clarify difficult concepts. Explaining topics to peers is also an excellent way to deepen your understanding.

Taking advantage of online resources

Aside from official academic material from reliable resources, there are dozens of online resources available. Platforms such as The Student Room or Reddit have communities where you can ask questions, exchange notes, and get advice from students who have already succeeded in their A-Levels. Additionally, YouTube Channels dedicated to A-Level science subjects can be an invaluable resource for visual learners. They often break down complex topics into more digestible content.

Practising past papers

Past papers can give you insights into what examiners expect from applicants, and help you identify weaknesses and topics that require more revision. Use them as a study guide to test your knowledge and also to understand how the exam itself works.

Asking for experts' help

The best tip we can give you is to get in touch with experts in the matter to make sure you are on the right path. Having a tutor guide you through the process will be useful to understand difficult topics, identify weaknesses and strengths, and adjust your study techniques accordingly. At CloudLearn, by accessing our online courses, you will have 24/7 availability to ask questions to your dedicated tutor, who will answer them ASAP and send you all the material needed to study for your exam.

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Can you get into Dentistry with AAB?

Though the most prestigious universities normally accept students with A*AA grades, you may be able to enter. Another option is aiming at resitting the third exam and applying to universities that admit students who have retaken exams.

Can I become a dentist without science A Levels?

Accessing dental school without science A-levels is very unlikely, since these will provide the necessary knowledge to enter these courses. However, you may be able to take an equivalent exam like International Baccalaureate, or look for a different alternative, such as a dentist's assistant or similar, which may have less strict requirements.

How do I get into Dentistry with bad A Levels?

If you got bad A-level results, don't worry! You can always try again and resit them. Most universities don't mind how many times you've retried A-levels but make sure to check your specific case. If you want to shorten your study time to give them a second chance, you can study at online academies like CloudLearn, which allow you to fast-track your courses. Enter CloudLearn's site to find out how to resit for A-levels.

Which universities accept A Level resits for Dentistry?

Even some of the most prestigious dentistry schools admit A-level resits. One of them is King's College London, which requires A*AA grades in two Science A-levels and passing UCAT. If you have a university in mind, you can always check their website or contact them directly.

What A Levels do you need to be an orthodontist?

Orthodontics is a specialisation within dentistry, so you first need a qualification in this area. This means that you need to enter dental school with A-levels in Biology and Chemistry (or other Science-related subjects) and graduate from that course.

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