WHAT IS AN OVERSEAS DENTAL ELECTIVE WITH WORK THE WORLD?
Dental electives abroad are a placement undertaken in a low-resource hospital in the developing world.
Right away you’ll see how the local healthcare system contrasts with your own. In that clinical setting, you’ll get experience with both practices and conditions you’ve never seen before.
You choose the destination you want to travel to and the areas you want to experience — from general oral hygiene to maxillofacial surgery. The whole placement is completely customisable.
You’ll see cases of decay far more advanced than what you’ve seen before. You’ll also learn how cultural issues impact care (oral hygiene is a secondary concern in some of our destinations), and see how local dentists cope with equipment shortages.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A DENTAL ELECTIVE ABROAD?
Our dentistry placements help you stand out from all the other dental students who’ll graduate alongside you.
On our placements for dental students, you’ll:
- Expand your clinical knowledge and skill set
- Develop your confidence and resourcefulness
- Build your personal and professional network
- Sharpen your verbal and non-verbal communication
- Become more attractive to employers
As a dental student, electives in our partner hospitals run Monday to Friday, which means your evenings and weekends are yours to do with as you please. You might choose to go on an adventure across whichever destination you’ve travelled to.
WHO ARE WE?
We're Work the World — The authority in designing and organising dental electives abroad. Since 2005 we’ve built placements for more than 15,000 students 450+ universities all over the world.
We provide a personal, end-to-end service that includes:
Placement customisation (choose your destination and areas of clinical interest) | Comprehensive pre-trip support | 24/7 in-country support team | Private, catered accommodation
You’ll arrive on a Sunday (we operate 52 weeks a year so travel whenever suits you), and placement durations start from one week upwards.
For more detail about how our service works click here.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
You can go on a dental placement abroad if:
- You are undertaking a dentistry degree
- You have recently graduated dentistry degree
WHERE DO I START?
Step one: Speak to our team of experts. We’re here to answer your questions, help you choose a destination, and secure your space (places are limited).
Get in touch using the short enquiry form.
Indonesia - Yogyakarta
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Your first few hours next to the dental chair in Yogyakarta will be a crash-course on the state of dental health in Indonesia. It will be clear from day one that education around oral care at home (that and promoting limited-sugar diets) haven’t been a priority here. Patients tend to only seek treatment when there is pain, and because of this, preventative dentistry is less developed here than you’re used to in Australia. One major barrier to patients seeking care is the cost. Dental care is neither free nor subsidised in Indonesia, so the average salary wouldn’t cover tooth-saving procedures, let alone regular check-ups.
Mexico - Merida
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Merida is Mexico’s centre of sophistication. The city is home to beautiful colonial architecture, and broad boulevards punctuated with green plazas. At night, the city is alive with restaurants and bars spilling out into the streets. At weekends, dive in beautiful underwater caves known as ‘cenotes’, unwind on tropical beaches, and visit breathtaking Mayan temple ruins.
A high percentage of people in Mexico exhibit signs of periodontal disease. This can be considered a reflection of the population’s limited access to information and preventative care. Common procedures such as fillings and restorations are performed here, but many patients present late meaning cases are likely to be far more severe than restorative treatments can help.
Zambia - Lusaka
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Lusaka is the beating heart of Zambia. From here you can visit up to 20 game parks to see rhino, lions, elephants and cheetah. You might even spot hippos wading through the beautiful Zambezi River while canoeing along the shore. You can also the rich local cultures and traditions so ingrained in Zambian tribal culture.
Our partner hospital is the only one in the city where patients enjoy free or low cost care. All standard procedures are carried out here like restorations and fillings, however, as education about oral hygiene is lacking, patients can often present late. This means you’re more likely to see severe cases than you are at home. It’s possible to observe maxillofacial surgery here, too.
Ghana - Takoradi
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Ghana’s African atmosphere is evident in its lively markets and through its friendly local people. The area has a fascinating history, with old colonial slave forts dotted along the coast, and plenty of chances to go on safari. You might also choose to hike to waterfalls hidden deep in the jungle, or to visit local villages.
On your dental elective you’ll have the opportunity to observe advanced oral conditions uncommon in the developed world. Time on the wards will highlight the severity of conditions like pulpitis, gingivitis, and periodontitis in people across all ages. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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Dar es Salaam is the second most expansive city in Tanzania. It’s becoming an urban metropolis, but being a coastal city surrounded by game parks, mountains, forests, and white beaches, the region also has a wealth of natural beauty.
When it comes to your dental elective, ideas you might have about developing healthcare will be challenged. As many Tanzanians suffer from oral health issues due to contaminated water and a lack of oral health education, you could encounter a range of advanced cases on your dentistry placement, learning about oral surgery and pathology and a lot more. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.
Nepal - Pokhara
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The vibrant city of Pokhara is nestled at the feet of the Himalayas, surrounded by calm lakes, ancient temples, bars, and restaurants. Feeling adventurous? Try paragliding, bungee jumping and whitewater rafting, all bookable from the city.
On your dental elective you could gain insight into how local specialists manage maxillofacial trauma, battle gum disease, and repair cleft lip palettes—all with incredibly limited resources. There’s also the opportunity to spend time in Dental Radiology. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.
Nepal - Kathmandu
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Kathmandu is the proud capital of Nepal, home to an ancient culture spanning back thousands of years. It’s also surrounded by natural beauty holding plenty of opportunity for adventure. Trek through lush jungles, plunge from the world’s highest bungee platform, or even ride an elephant.
On your dental elective you could encounter everything from routine check-ups to abscess surgeries. Demonstrate enthusiasm and opportunities across Maxillofacial, Prosthodontics, and Endodontics could also become available to you. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
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Explore the Kandy’s many shrines and ornate Buddhist temples, one of which is rumoured to contain the tooth of the Buddha. The country is also home to elephants, jaguars, and leopards, which you’ll be able to spot if you go on a jungle safari.
Under the supervision of local specialists in our partner hospital’s Dentistry Department, you'll witness how a lack of resource impacts patient care. You could also see cases of oral cancer, which will open your eyes to issues faced by local staff. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.
"Due to the lack of resources, rubber dams and rotary instruments were not readily available."
Leo Sim, Queen's University, Belfast 2019Read more
"I got to watch lots of interesting cases such as a salivary gland stone removal"
Abbie Colley, Dundee University 2019Read more
"I learnt so much about dentistry, but also left feeling inspired thanks to my housemates and staff."
Jenna Perkins, University of Kentucky 2019Read more
"Ghana does have many of the same treatments available as we do at home, but many people cannot afford it."
Tess Everatt, University of Sheffield 2018Read more
"The resilience of the patients—and the people of Tanzania in general—astounded me."
Tessa Jensen, University of Adelaide 2018Read more
What do our dental electives offer?
A Work the World dental elective gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. Learn more here.
What are the benefits of a Work the World dental elective?
The benefits of our dental electives include:
- Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
- Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
- Making yourself more attractive to employers
- Doing some proper travelling
- Building your personal and professional network
- Sharpening your language and communication skills
- Renewing your perspective on care back home
How can I raise funds for my dental elective?
It’s easier than ever to get the funds together for your overseas dental elective. You can take advantage of government programs like OS-HELP, you can take the initiative by starting your own online fundraising page, and you can apply for a huge number of grants and bursaries to help you along the way. Learn how easy it is to raise as much as you need.
What kinds of cases will I see on a Work the World dental elective?
You will see cases like:
- Severe pulpitis, gingivitis, and periodontitis among young people
- Various oral cancers
- Oral abscesses
- Maxillofacial trauma
- Cleft palate/cleft lip
How long is a Work the World dental elective?
A dental elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum elective duration is one week, but students typically travel on their dental electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.