Close this search box.

Dental Mentor is Part of Mentorverse ltd

CO. NO: 15364722 VAT REG: 456648553

01530 417 299


Contact form

General Enquiries

Close this search box.


Dental mentor is Committed to

Widening Access to Dental School

Widening access to dental school involves making the opportunity to pursue a career in dentistry more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented communities, lower socio-economic backgrounds, and non-traditional pathways.

Dental Mentor is a UK-based social enterprise organisation that aims to increase the diversity and inclusivity of the dental profession by providing support and guidance to students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry.

Play Video

At Dental Mentor, we have a unique stance on widening access compared with other organisations that might limit their widening access resources to a particular group of students.  We believe that widening access to dentistry (WA or also referred to as widening participation) should mean that all students from all backgrounds have access to the same high-quality resources to help them decide on and apply for careers.  This is why we provide free places on most of our programmes to everyone, regardless of family-income or background.  

We also appreciate that every student is different and some need more help than others.  This is not just based on widening access criteria, but also the individual. For this reason we provide students with the option of accessing ‘extra mentoring’, so that they can determine for themselves if they need additional support. Whilst extra mentoring is more labour intensive and incurs a cost, we have ensured that there are free widening access places on these programmes too.  Therefore, for the small number of ‘paid-for’ programmes that we do run, we promote equality by offering free places to those who cannot afford it, whilst also giving students who can afford them, the options of doing so in order to access additional help, if they need it.  This is very different to other organisations who focus only on a particular group of students with their widening access criteria, because they are limited by funding and therefore have to prioritise who to offer these free resources to. Even if funding everyone is the limiting factor, they will refuse to assist students who are willing to pay for themselves.  We feel that excluding any group from having access to helpful resources is not the way forward.  That is why, we have decided as an organisation to take a more inclusive stance on widening access.  

We take this approach because appreciate that there are many reasons that students might be at a disadvantage.  Students can be affected by their location in the UK, which school they go to or if they are the first in their families to attend university.  While Dental Mentor cannot help with these factors, we can at least do our best to standardise careers guidance by offering it to all students as equally as possible.  As a social enterprise, we do not receive large amounts of government funding, but our model ensures that all of the money that is raised is reinvested back into supporting widening access and wellbeing programmes that benefit everyone.  Therefore, because we are more inclusive, it has enabled us to run the largest widening access programmes in the whole country, for students applying to dentistry.  We reach around 50,000 secondary school students each year.

Accessing work experience has long been a stressful process for dental applicants.  In-person placements are limited and difficult to acquire because they often have a number of restrictions such as age and distance which makes the inaccessible.  This was worsened by the pandemic because hospitals and GP practices did not accept work experience students.  During this time, Dental Mentor partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust to create a virtual work experience programme for our aspiring dentists using their state of the art SIM suite.  Students spent 6 months attending LIVE Virtual sessions where they saw a variety of different areas in dentistry and followed patients on their healthcare journeys.

Since then Health Education England completed a discovery report on virtual work placements to evaluate their effectiveness.  Dental Mentor was invited to participate in this discovery report, which ultimately concluded that virtual work experience can be as valuable as in-person experience.  The Dental Schools Council adopted this stance too, stating that they would accept virtual placements.  The excerpt below from the Dental Schools Councils’ Guidance on Work Experience Document states:

Will online experience count for my application form for UCAS?

Yes, you can use any type of experience that you have gained in your personal statement, no matter what the setting for this experience was. You can talk about the experiences you have had and the things you have learnt, about dentistry as a profession and about yourself in your personal statement.

Our free virtual work experience programme is available to all students.

Dental Mentor run free conferences every month across the entire year for students and their parents.  These conferences help families to learn more about what an application to dental school will entail which is an important aspect of making an informed-decision about becoming a dentist.  We have had feedback from many WA students that have only heard talks from speakers about what dentists do and that although these talks and experiences are inspiring, it raises their hopes without actually explaining how to get there.  Some students have felt that by doing this, they have been ‘set up to fail’. At Dental Mentor, we are determined to help students from start to finish.  Our programmes are not just about giving students access to dentists, but also providing them with the guidance on how to tackle every aspect of their application to dental school.  The Get into Dentistry Conferences is a crucial introduction to what applying to dental school will involve, how much effort and preparation is required and an opportunity to learn from successful who students and dentists about the honest approaches that they used.  These conferences are virtual, so it reduces the barriers for arranging travel to get to a venue.  We have 2 specific streams to ensure that the content is relevant to the audience.

Get into Dentistry Conference: Ideal for students who have not applied to dental school yet.
This is great for students in 10-13, S3-S6 or Northern Irish year 11-14 year groups.

Get into Dentistry Re-application Conference: This is for students who have been unsuccessful in their first attempt at applying to dental school.  At this conference we explore all of the additional options available to secure a dental school place so that students can still pursue their dreams of becoming dentists.  It is ideal for students in 13, S6 or Northern Irish 14 year groups, or older.

The Virtual Dental Society (VDS) is a peer-mentoring programme that is led by a student committee and supported by mentors.  The VDS gives students an opportunity to take charge of their own learning and development as well as access incredible CV opportunities.  The VDS offers students the option of boosting their CVs with competitions, debates, volunteering, research and presenting opportunities.  They also form a close-knit supportive community that fosters a culture of positivity and collaboration.  The VDS is very important in empowering students to succeed together and escape much of the toxic competitiveness that typically exists among dental applicants.  They are excellent role models and mentors that support each other through the dental school application process.

Meeting take place online on Zoom webinars every Tuesday evening at 5.45pm GMT.  All students are invited!

Dental Mentor’s Dental Leadership Programme is the UK’s only dental leadership programme for secondary school students.  Students are awarded a place on this programme by applying competitively through an online application.  We have funding for 3 students from each school: 1 in year 11/S3/NI 12, 1 from year 12/S5/NI 13 and 1 from year 13/S6/NI 14.  These students have access to 3 interactive workshops (1 each term) that take place in small groups online with their own dedicated mentors.  The sessions focus on developing the skills, qualities and attributes of a future doctor as laid out by the GMC’s outcomes for dental graduates.  

Dental Mentor’s Dental Leadership Programme helps aspiring dental students develop a wide range of skills, qualities, and attributes that are essential for success in the dental profession. Some of the key skills, qualities, and attributes that students develop include:

  1. Leadership skills: The Dental Leadership programme helps students develop strong leadership skills, such as effective communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. These skills are essential for success in a dental career, where leaders are often required to work as part of a team, make difficult decisions, and take responsibility through interactive sessions.

  2. Personal qualities: The Dental Leadership Programme help students develop personal qualities such as empathy, resilience, and compassion. These qualities are essential for building strong relationships with patients, managing the emotional demands of a dental career, and maintaining a strong commitment to patient care.
  3. Professional development: The Dental Leadership Programs also helps students develop a range of professional skills, such as effective communication with colleagues and patients, time management, and project management skills. These skills are essential for success in a dental career and can help students to become effective leaders and managers.

  4. Research skills: The Dental Leadership Programme provides students with opportunities to develop research skills, such as data analysis, critical thinking, and scientific writing. These skills are essential for success in a dental career, where evidence-based practice and research are increasingly important.

The MLP is fantastic for aspiring dental students because it prepares them for success in the dental profession, both as clinicians and as leaders.  Any student can competitively apply for the positions.

Dental Mentor is committed to promoting equality and diversity among staff mentors and students. Watch the introductory video and then start your e-learning!  You will awarded a certificate on completion to add to your application and CV.  You can access the E-learning through your free Dental Mentor Student Portal.

Firstly, we ensure that our team of mentors reflects the diversity of our student population. We actively recruit mentors from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and we value the unique perspectives and insights that they bring to our programmes. We also provide ongoing training and support to our mentors to ensure that they are equipped to work effectively with students from diverse backgrounds.

Secondly, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, and we have policies and procedures in place to address any such incidents that may occur. We also provide support and resources to students who may be facing challenges related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Thirdly, we work to promote diversity and inclusivity in our programmes and events. For example, we ensure that our speakers and workshop leaders come from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and we actively seek out perspectives and insights that may not be represented in traditional dental  education. We also incorporate topics related to diversity and inclusion into our programmes to raise awareness and promote understanding among our students.

We believe that creating an inclusive environment is essential to achieving our mission of supporting and inspiring the next generation of dental professionals

The Summer School offers additional mentoring for students who feel that they might need extra help with their applications.  It is a comprehensive mentoring programme that supports students, families and their teachers at every single stage of the application process.  Students receive personal mentoring on an unlimited basis for each component of the application.  The Summer School includes an optional residential component that lasts 4-5 days but this can also be delivered virtually.  It is a year-long mentoring programme that includes support for personal statements, UCAT, interviews, supplementary questionnaires (where needed), strategically deciding which dental schools to apply to, teachers references, access to scholarships to study dentistry at university.

This is a resource intensive programme with significant overheads and logistical co-ordination that involves 1000s of doctors, dentists and medical and dental students.  Therefore, there is a cost associated for this programme for students to attend.  If there are students from low-income backgrounds who would like to attend but cannot afford to do so, they are welcome to apply for our funded summer school places that become available in January each year.  

As a social enterprise, Dental Mentor reinvest all of the proceeds raised from our programmes back into support our students applying for dentistry.  We do this primarily in 3 ways:

  1. We run the UK’s largest dental students scholarship programme.  These are academic awards worth up to £10,000 across an individual’s 5 year dental degree.  In addition to the financial help provided through these awards, our dental students receive additional wellbeing and mentoring support throughout dental school, so that they can make the most of the experience and ensure that they are well prepared for working as a dentist. These are merit-based awards made to applying students at the end of their school years (during the summer when they receive their final results).  Students are selected on how pro-active they have been as Dental Mentor students.
  2. We run the largest widening access (WA) programmes for aspiring dental students in the country.  We teach 50,000 students between 10-13/S3-S6/NI 11-14 year groups.  Our criteria to include students in most of our programmes is to expand our reach to everyone. Therefore we do not differentiate between student backgrounds, schools that they attend, or whether they are UK residents.  We aim to be as inclusive as possible.
  3. We invest heavily in our widening access students to enrol onto Dental Mentor programmes for extra mentoring that involves an extra cost.  Where there are costs associated with additional mentoring, we ensure that a number of places are reserved for students from low-income backgrounds.  This diversifies our future dental cohort to promote a workforce that is reflective of our diverse patient population.
Why is

Widening Access to Dentistry Important?

Widening access to dental school is important because it can help to address the underrepresentation of certain groups in the dental profession, as well as ensure that the workforce is more representative of the communities it serves. This, in turn, can help to improve health outcomes for diverse populations and reduce health disparities.

The effectiveness of widening access to dentistry programmes can be difficult to measure definitively, as it often takes several years to see significant changes in the demographics of dental school applicants and students. However, there is evidence to suggest that current widening access to dentistry programmes are having a positive impact.

For example, in the United Kingdom, the number of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and underrepresented groups, such as Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) students, entering dental school has increased in recent years. According to data from the Dental Schools Council, the percentage of UK dental students from lower socio-economic backgrounds increased from 7.6% in 2014 to 10.2% in 2019, and the percentage of BAME students increased from 22.9% in 2014 to 28.8% in 2019.

However, while these programs are making progress, there is still more work to be done to ensure that dental schools are truly representative of the communities they serve. Ongoing efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in dental education are necessary to address the persistent inequalities that exist in the healthcare system.

Dental Mentor helps to widen access to dentistry by providing support and resources to students from diverse backgrounds who may face barriers to entering the dental profession. By offering outreach programs, admissions support, scholarships and bursaries, and mentorship opportunities, Dental Mentor is helping to create a more diverse and inclusive dental workforce that better reflects the needs and experiences of the communities it serves.

Real Dentists. Real Students. Real Success Stories

We teach 50,000 students every year and our authenticity policy mandates us to abide by the GDC and GMC’s professional code of conduct: honesty, integrity and respect.  All photos and stories are of real people. We will never engage with false or paid for reviews on third-party review platforms.  To learn more about our authenticity policy click here.

Let's Get that


Dental Mentor is an all-in-one solution to your dental school application.  We bring only the best resources for tackling every single component of your dental school application to one place.  We are here to help you work efficiently, by balancing the UCAS application process alongside your school work and extracurricular activities.  One of the best ways to save you time is to direct you to the best advice and resources so that you do not have to waste time searching for them yourselves.

We know what you are going through, as dental professionals and dental students who were in your position!  By combining application knowledge, extracurricular opportunities, platforms to up-skill and boost confidence, it is not a surprise that Dental Mentor students are successful.  Will it be difficult? Yes, applying to dental school is not easy.  But through Dental Mentor it will be less stressful, and even fun.  Let’s get started!

Our Partners

Making a huge impact on the dental profession...