Bachelor of Dental Surgery

BDS stands for Bachelor of Dental Surgery. It is a medical field of surgery related to mouth and handling the injuries related to teeth, jaw, and gums. It is a five year undergraduate degree program in dentistry to prepare students for a successful career as a dental surgeon.


The Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course enables an aspirant to pursue their career as a dentist. The syllabus of the BDS course comprises group discussions, seminars, clinical work, academic lectures, demonstrations, and conferences. Candidates are educated in the fields of dental treatment, including dental anatomy and oral histology, oral pathology, community dentistry, surgical procedures, dental materials, Pedodontics, oral medicine & radiology, etc.

The five years of dental course is divided in two parts:

  • Four year training
  • One year compulsory internship

BDS Course Preparation Tips:

Scrutinization of the syllabus: The foremost step in preparation for BDS exams is the scrutinization of the curriculum. As most of the entrance exams cover the NCERT syllabus, an aspirant should make a proper list of the topics required to be included additionally and should lay primary focus on the same.

BDS Fees in India:

BDS course fees may vary from different institutions with respect to college/university standards. The average BDS course fee is INR 50,000 to 4 Lakh per annum.

Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) is a 3 years post-graduation course after BDS that deals with the study of development, anatomy, and diseases of the teeth.

BDS graduates who wish to get admitted to MDS have to clear the entrance exam conducted by the central government of India (NEET PG).  Students have to score minimum required marks to get admissions in the college of their choice. MDS degree provides a backbone to a dentist’s career as it helps them to get higher posts such as directors in hospitals or colleges. MDS graduates get paid very well according to their job position.

MDS Fee in India:

MDS fees change according to college and also varies according to the ranks gained by students in their entrance exams. MDS course average fee ranges from INR 1.5 Lakh – 11.5 Lakh per annum.

The specializations available allow the dentist to choose the area in which they would like to mark their career. They have a choice of 9 specializations to choose from while pursuing their masters as given below:

  • Oral Medicine, Diagnosis, and Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral Pathology and Microbiology
  • Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics
  • Orthodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontal Surgery and Oral Implantology
  • Pedodontics
  • Public Health Dentistry

MDS is not just the only option that is open for students. Dentists can also pursue a management course like MHA (Masters in Hospital Administration) or MPH (Masters in Public Health). This will allow them to step into the management side of health organizations or hospital chains.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Dental Sciences 

PhD in Dental Sciences is a full-time 3 years Doctorate course. Many colleges offer PhD Dental Sciences course in India. Every college has their own eligibility criteria, admission process, and fees structure. Admission for PhD in Dental Sciences is based on merit list or entrance-based. Most of the colleges select students based on the marks obtained in their master’s degree or an equivalent degree. Some reputed colleges conduct entrance exams for this course admission.

After completion of this course, graduates may work in fields like Dental Clinics, Hospitals, Health Centres, Research Institutes, Dental Colleges, Pharmaceutical Industries, etc. These professionals may work in positions like Dentist, Ceramist, Oral Pathologist, Professor, Medical Consultant, etc. The average salary for these professional’s ranges between INR 2 to INR 20 lakhs as per their experience and expertise in this field.

The average fee for this course ranges between INR 10,000 to INR 15 lakhs based on the candidate’s marks obtained in their master’s degree or entrance exams.

In this course, students receive various forms of treatments including Dental materials, Surgical procedures, Oral histology, Pedodontics, Radiology, Dental anatomy, Oral Pathology, Oral medicine, Community dentistry, etc. Students also study function, structure, and path function of stomatognathic and cranio-cervical region. The curriculum includes Oral pathology, Orofacial pain, advanced radiology, Advanced Oral medicine, and Drug interactions in Dentistry.

Required Skills and Aptitude

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria to gain admission into a dental school include a pass certificate in 10+2 with  Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as compulsory subjects and a minimum of 50% marks for Unreserved candidates OCI, NRI, foreign candidates. Admission to BDS is granted through a national competitive examination called NEET.

The entrance examination is conducted in a large number of centres in all the major cities all over India. NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (UG) will be conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses and other undergraduate medical courses in approved/recognized Medical/Dental & other Colleges/ Institutes in India.

Entrance Examination

NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test)  is mandatory for enrolment to the BDS degree. NTA (National Testing Agency) conducts the entrance every year.. 

For BDS Admission, it is compulsory to qualify NEET BDS exam, and NEET is now mandatory for AYUSH courses (BAMS, BHMS, BUMS, etc.), as well. To qualify the NEET BDS exam, the candidate must obtain a 50 percentile (not percentage) in the test. Successful candidates then participate in the counselling process organized by the respective authorities (Central, States, and Union Territories). Counselling involves the allotment of seats to the candidates, based on NEET rank. Candidates have to fill-in college choices (priority ranking of colleges) concerning the availability of seats in the BDS course. Both government dental colleges and deemed dental colleges at the level of All India quota and State quota are part of the counselling process.

(a) All India quota: This quota has 15% seats of all government dental colleges from all states (except Andhra Pradesh and J&K) and 100% seats of all deemed dental universities. MCC (Medical Counselling Committee), a central govt. authority manages the process of counselling.

(b) State quota: This quota has 85% seats in all government dental colleges from respective states, and the admittance process is controlled by domiciliary status. This rule of domicile does not apply for private dental colleges situated in particular territories, as any candidate all over India can apply for enrolment in those private colleges as well.

State Counseling Authority

State authorities govern the counselling process. There are three rounds of counselling – 1st round and 2nd round are online, whereas the 3rd round is organized by DGME (Directorate General of Medical Education) or commissioner of entrance examinations at a predesignated venue. All the colleges (government and private) that participate in this procedure are recognized/approved by the Dental Council of India (DCI). Hence, it leaves no scope for difference between government BDS college and private BDS college in terms of infrastructure, faculty, campus area, etc. But because of the difference in fee structure, priority is always given to government BDS colleges.

Score requirement in NEET to get BDS Admission

A candidate is required to attain a minimum NEET score of 450 (It may vary) or above for BDS admission in government dental college. For BDS admission in private dental colleges, 50 percentile in NEET is sufficient.

Job Profiles

The course, while providing some significant attributes to the professional regarding oral care, also enables them to work on the oral genesis of other species. The most lucrative job opportunities available to the professionals of the BDS course are:

  • Dental Clinics
  • Dental Equipment Manufacturers
  • Dental Products Manufacturers
  • Educational Institutes
  • Private practice 

Careers opportunities after BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)

A plethora of career choices is open for students after BDS. The most obvious choice would be to practice as a dentist. However, that in itself has choices of where for whom and as what. An important point is that students must register with the Dental Council of India to be able to practice as a dentist. Some of the career options are mentioned below:

Set up private practice: A common option followed by many dentists who have passed and registered themselves with the Dental Council of India. This will require some amount of funds and a good location. It also will take some time before the dentists can establish themselves.

Consultant: In case setting up one’s own practice is not appealing, working as a consultant with established hospitals is another option. Here, one would be like an employee who is required to take on the patients who visit the hospital for their dental problems.

Teaching: Generally freshers are not taken in for teaching. The job requires experienced doctors who can answer queries and teach well. Mostly the doctors attached to the Govt hospitals also work as consulting professors to the students at the attached colleges. However, teaching is an option for dentists who have an inclination for it albeit after gaining some experience working as a dentist.

Government Job: Most Govt hospitals, organizations, PSUs require doctors including dentists. So students can go in for these jobs for job security.

Options Abroad: To work abroad or practice as a dentist, one needs to check the regulations of the country and fulfill them to start work.


BDS Colleges in Karnataka

BDS Colleges in Kerala:

BDS Colleges in Madhya Pradesh:

Name of the Institution
Government Dental College & Hospital

BDS Colleges in Maharashtra:

Name of the Institution
Bharati Vidyapeetas Dental College & Hospital
Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Sanstha’s Dental College and Hospital
Government Dental College & Hospital
Jamanlal Goenka Dental College & Hospital
Nair Hospital Dental College
Padmashree Dr.D.Y.Patil Dental College and Hospital
Smt. Radhikabai Meghe Memorial Private Medical Trust`s Dental College
Vasantdada Patil Dental College and Hospital
Vidarbha Youth Welfare Society’s Dental College

BDS Colleges in New Delhi:

Name of the Institution
D.A.V Centenary Dental College
Government Dental College
Government of Haryana Dental College
Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences

BDS Colleges in Tamil Nadu:

Institutes for PhD in Dental Science:

Questions & Answers​

A) Is BDS course eligible to become a doctor?

Q) Yes, a graduate of the BDS course is eligible to practice dentistry as a certified doctor

Q) Is BDS equivalent to MBBS?

A) The BDS course is focused on the dental aspect of human anatomy along with the rehabilitation and treatment of the same. It confers on the graduate the title of Doctor just like MBBS. While it doesn’t have the same respect or job opportunities as an MBBS, BDS is better than an MBBS without specializations.

Q) Is BDS a good career option?

A) Yes, BDS is a very prospective career option with a large number of potential job opportunities in a large number of hospitals, dental clinics and nursing homes

Q) Can an Indian Dentist work in the US?

A) Unfortunately, Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS) is not recognized completely in the United States. Moreover, there are specific visa requirements you need to comply with if you want to work as a licensed dentist.

Q) How to become a licensed dentist in the USA?

A) Dental school in the US is a post-baccalaureate level education, meaning students go there after earning an undergraduate degree. Dental school itself is considered pre-doctoral because you earn a doctoral degree upon completion of the program.

Getting a DDS or DMD (which is the same degree with different names) is not the same as getting a license. One needs to graduate from an accredited dental school to earn a DDS or DMD and then apply for the state license.

To practice dentistry, you’ll need a license from the state you want to practice in. You can only apply for that license if you meet that states’ requirements. The majority of state license requirements include having graduated from an accredited U.S. or Canadian dental school, while some states can give a license to international dentists that have completed a residency program of usually 2 years or longer. There are only a few states awarding such a license. Each state has its own particular requirements, and you need thorough research to familiarize yourself with these requirements.

Another alternative route to consider if you’re interested in both practicing dentistry and teaching is to become a full-time faculty member of a U.S. dental school where you’ll be given a provisional license to practice within the school’s boundaries. While you cannot go into private practice with this license, dental schools in the U.S. are often short of faculty making this an excellent opportunity for those with an interest in an academic dental career.

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This page is supported by: Dr. Kavitha Marusamy