If you do not hold full registration with the GDC you may eventually be able to work as a dentist if you pass the ORE and have the correct visa to remain and work in the UK. This ORE examination is held by the GDC and replaced the International Qualifying Examination (IQE).
The ORE is in two parts. Part 1 consists of written papers covering the subjects of:
- applied dental science
- clinically applied human disease
- clinical dentistry
- law and ethics
- health and safety.
Part 2 consists of a practical examination on:
- a dental manikin
- an OSCE,
- an exam in diagnosis and treatment planning
- a medical emergencies exam.
You need to contact the GDC to find out if you are eligible to sit this examination as there is a new requirement to demonstrate that you have had at least 1600 hours of dental clinical experience of treating patients.
The ORE is based in the UK dental curriculum. Candidates are advised to read the GDC document, The First Five Years: A Framework for undergraduate Dental Education. This can be found on the GDC website.
The GDC also provides a list of useful text books. The list comprises of some of the books used in some UK dental schools. You may find that you have used similar text books as part of your undergraduate curriculum. If you live in a large city where there is a university with a dental school, it may be useful to look at the books stocked in branches of medical and dental bookshops. You will then be able to make a judgment as to whether you need to buy or borrow new text books.
It can be difficult studying for ORE on your own. If you contact your local postgraduate dean, you may be able to join an ORE study group/course or be introduced to other dentists also studying for ORE.
Dentists who complete the ORE and have no clinical experience may need to do up to 1 year Dental Foundation Training (DF1) in order to be able to work as a general dental practitioner for the NHS. Success in the ORE does not mean you will automatically secure a DF1 place or a job in the NHS. It has become very difficult to find a DF1 training place as there is a lot of competition from UK and European graduates.
Definition of Prior Clinical Experience
On the GDC website you will see the following advice about per-requirements for entering the ORE:
"The overseas dentist must have 1,600 hours clinical experience where they have personally treated patients in the dental chair. The number of hours of this clinical experience will either be hours spent by the overseas dentist undertaking appropriate investigations and administering dental treatment during their dental degree, during post-qualification experience, or a combination of the two. It could also be undertaken during temporary registration. It will not include time observing other dentists or assisting other dentists/dental students in undertaking diagnosis/treatment planning or provision of treatment."
Verification of the Prior Clinical Experience
The clinical experience will be verified. The GDC will request signed references from university dental teams for the undergraduate experience and from employers for the post-qualification experience. The employers must provide their registration number. The GDC will reserve the right to undertake spot checks to verify references where appropriate. Affidavits will be accepted in only exceptional circumstances where an overseas dentist has proven refugee or asylum-seeker status.
It is important to be aware that if you arrive in the UK having less than the minimum 1,600 hours of clinical experience and being unable to sit the ORE, you may put yourself in a very difficult situation. Although the GDC website states that you could obtain experience in a post offering temporary registration, you need to be aware that under current circumstances obtaining such a post will be extremely difficult. You should not rely on obtaining such a post in the UK in order to obtain sufficient experience to enter the ORE.
In addition, please check if you have any restrictions on your visa preventing you from applying for training posts. You will not be able to apply for training posts if your visa has restrictions such as-no employment as doctor or dentist in training - or similar wording.
If you know that you have not achieved the 1,600 hours of clinical experience required to enter the ORE, you would be advised to seriously consider obtaining a clinical post in the country where you qualified before coming to the UK.
For any ORE examination queries, please contact the ORE department at the GDC at firstname.lastname@example.org.