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The University of Sheffield

Discover Dentistry

The University of Sheffield via FutureLearn


Learn how to become a dentist and what that means

Are you fascinated by the world of dentistry? Try our 6-week course by the University of Sheffield and learn the essentials of dentistry from leading dental experts.

You’ll explore the intricacies of what dentists do, learn how to become a dentist and discover the rich history of dentistry.

Understand tooth anatomy and development

To start with, you’ll meet the dental team and receive a tour of the dental surgery. You’ll experience a dental check-up with experts and discover the basics of tooth anatomy and development by looking at 3D models.

Find out if you’ve been brushing your teeth the right way, and glimpse into the different dental specialities. Learn what an oral pathologist does and experience a virtual tour of a tooth.

Learn about dental treatments and different dental materials

You may be familiar with dental treatments such as dentures and crowns, but you’ll discover more about dental restoration in this course.

We’ll be thinking about dental materials that can be used to restore and replace teeth, including plastics, ceramics and metals such as gold and titanium.

Discover the future of dentistry and dental public health

In the final few weeks, we’ll be thinking about the future of teeth and how to care for the teeth of a population. From water fluoridation to diet effects, teeth are not immune to damage.

Spark your curiosity and take a look at current research in dentistry, such as nerve regeneration and tissue engineering. The future of dentistry holds many exciting possibilities.

To finish, you’ll get the chance to learn how to become a dentist and get a valuable introduction to studying dentistry degrees.

This course is for anyone interested in dentistry or science and is designed to be enjoyed without prior knowledge.

It would be especially valuable for dentistry professionals, or anyone thinking of entering the profession.

Due to the highly visual nature of dentistry, a small number of exercises in the course, unfortunately, won’t be accessible to learners with visual impairment.


  • Discover dentistry
    • Welcome to Week 1
    • A brief history of dentistry
    • The Dental Team
    • Week 1 Summary and quiz
  • Teeth and their care
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • Introduction to tooth development, shape and function
    • A dental checkup
    • Instruments and charting
    • How to brush like a pro!
    • Week 2 Summary and quiz
  • Oral disease and trauma
    • Welcome to Week 3
    • Meet the specialists
    • It's not all about teeth!
    • Oral Pathology
    • Your dental experiences
    • Week 3 Summary and quiz
  • Restoring and replacing teeth
    • Welcome to Week 4
    • The history of dental materials
    • Dental restoration and dental materials
    • Modern dental materials
    • Do try this at home: Kitchen experiments
    • Week 4 Summary and quiz
  • Caring for a population's teeth
    • Welcome to Week 5
    • What is Dental Public Health?
    • Discussion: The Big Issues
    • Discussion: Your diet
    • Dental ethics and the law
    • Week 5 Summary
  • The future of teeth
    • Welcome to Week 6
    • Current research in dentistry
    • Final course assessment
    • Farewell video

Taught by

Christopher Stokes


4.9 rating, based on 177 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 247 ratings

Start your review of Discover Dentistry

  • this course was really helpful in getting a basic understanding of the dentistry career, including many different specialisations.
  • Profile image for Rachel Turner
    Rachel Turner
    Excellent course! It doesn't assume any prior knowledge, so is accessible to everyone (though a little background understanding of basic science and a bit of biology/human biology is helpful, but not essential). I found it really interesting and le…
  • Anonymous
    I am doing this course to, primarily, help me to gain a better insight into the realms of dentistry and what dentists do. It has been an interesting and eye-opener journey. The many facets of dentistry and the practice of the profession in various s…
  • Anonymous
    I loved it! It was engaging , fun, and made me realise his interlinked dentistry is to our day to day lives. It really helped to widen my thoughts and ideas about dentistry and has made me even more excited to go onto study it at university.
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely loved thus course! So useful for those willing to gain a taste of dentistry and decide whether dentistry is the right career path for them. Not only are the tasks informational and interesting, but they’re also interactive as you can see 3D imaging of teeth, and even learn to make your own denture. As a year 12 student this was definitely useful for me as I now have an idea of what type of dentist I would want to be. Definitely recommend.
  • Anonymous
    This course is an excellent head-start for a studying dentistry at university and also a great opportunity to learn all about the past, present and future of dentistry. Over the 6 weeks of course the information is presented in a professional and easy-to-learn manner with regular quizzes to reinforce what you have learnt. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in dentistry.
  • Anonymous
    Great beginner course with lots of foundational information for those who are interested in a dental profession whist always being a genuinely engaging and interesting course.
  • Anonymous
    Honestly such an amazing course, it's really cool to finally learn more about the teeth! Hopefully looking forward to one day being a dentist!
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this multi media approach and the course gave a great insight into all aspects of dentistry.
  • Kanta12345
    It was real good and informative
    It was good to see these kind of lectures available on just one click
  • Anonymous
    This course has widely increased my knowledge about dentistry! I have fount it very fascinating and interesting as this course provided real life examples, such as the anxious patient and how to deal with patients who are scared to come to the dentist. What I found most interesting was the history of dentistry and how its changed over time. I've leant a lot about the different professions and how dentistry has a very wide range of routes that students can take. Thank you very much for putting this course together!
  • Anonymous
    The discover dentistry course has been incredibly beneficial to me. I've found it very informative and enjoyed taking part in all the activities. The simulations provided a realistic experience to an online classroom and benefitted greatly. I found…
  • Anonymous
    Discover Dentistry is the best course I have ever done! Professor Chris and others from the University of Sheffield have put in a lot of effort into making this course the best it can be, and it shows. The course has a range of different elements, including videos, practicals and quizzes, all of which help greatly in learning and remembering the content. Speaking of the content, it is so fascinating that there must be something for everyone. It has a different focus each week, beginning with the foundations of dentistry, through the processes and information of the modern day, right up to fields of research. I would like to give great thanks to Professor Chris for making such a fantastic course!
  • Profile image for Yujyun Chen
    Yujyun Chen
    It's a fascinating class that introduce the dentistry. Not only that, but I also learned many aspects of what dentists in the UK are going to do in the future. Indeed, it taught me about different culture in the field of dentistry.
  • Anonymous
    Fantastic course, really informative. Secured my decision in becoming a dentist. Would completely recommemd so much fun too!
  • Anonymous
    This course covers a range of topics related to dentistry and is a great course for those interested in the subject.
  • Anonymous
    This is an outstanding overview of dentistry and dental health. From fascinating historical facts to cutting edge research, the course succeeds in giving a broad perspective. It also provides some very detailed information for practical application - for example, it is the clearest lesson I have ever seen on exactly how to brush teeth properly! Apart from the excellent information, the course delivery is fun and varied. Sample exercises include charting a sample patient's dental chart, modelling a crown with 'clay', doing a mini research project and home kitchen experiments. In short............something for everyone who has teeth or dentures! Highly recommended.
  • Anonymous
    This course is really interesting. If you are unsure about studying dentistry at university, This course provides some amazing information about what you may study, The history of dentistry, Its overall background, and a little insight into what overall dentistry is in this world. The course is split into 6 weeks which ensures you are not overloaded with information and is really well structured with many activities and videos to support your learning. Thank you for this amazing course.
  • Anthony Phillips
    I good overview of dentistry past present and future. Good content, good presentation, interesting and easy to learn from. I'm not planning to get into dentistry in any way. Just wanted to try something different. I'm glad I did. Found flexibility very useful in my busy life. Well done Sheffield!

    Only one suggestion for improvement - I'd like to have seen a dentist & dental nurse putting their skills to use in the the clinical setting, with commentary.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very informative and very engaging. With videos, images and links to research papers, it has everything you need to stay interested and gives amazing insight into the dental profession, specialities and whether it is right for you. I would highly recommend this to anyone thinking of taking this course :)

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