BDS Finals: Where to Begin? A Revision Checklist

Emily Black

Final Year Dental Student, University of Bristol

Emily is a final year dental student at Bristol Dental School, having completed an intercalated BSc in Global Health between her second and third year of dental school. Upon her 4th year clinical studies being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she began working as an NHS 111 Health Advisor. She began writing articles and sharing her experiences on her Instagram page (@emilydental) as well as featuring in podcasts, YouTube videos and blogs

Alongside now being in final year at Bristol, she works for the tech company Kiroku. The start-up uses artificial intelligence to help dentists write their clinical notes. She is a keen hockey player for the 2nd team at Bristol University and has been shortlisted as Future of Dentistry’s dental student of the year!

BDS Finals: Where to Begin? A Revision Checklist

Finals. An incredibly intimidating set of exams, with many of us left baffled at where to begin when it comes to revision! To try and help, I have written a (non-exhaustive!) revision checklist to try and help get your mind around the essentials to cover for BDS finals. I have also included the resources I found to be most useful when revising for my BDS finals.

Please do not neglect your lecture notes, as every dental school’s syllabus is slightly different. But this should hopefully help ensure you haven’t forgotten any essentials!

– Paediatric Dentistry

  • Development of the dentition:
    • Basic development of teeth
    • Eruption and calcification dates
  • Safeguarding children
  • Diagnosis and prevention of dental caries
  • Dental trauma
  • Dental abnormalities of tooth formation and eruption
  • Periodontal diseases in children
  • Local anaesthetic, sedation and general anaesthetic in children

– Orthodontics

  • Aetiology and classification of malocclusion
    • Definition of incisor, molar and canine classifications
    • Orthodontic treatment indices
    • Anteroposterior and transverse relationships
  • Interpretation of radiographs
  • Anchorage and retention planning
  • Functional, removable and fixed appliances
  • Hypodontia
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Orthognathic surgery

– Oral Surgery

  • Anatomy
    • Tooth morphology
    • Anatomy of the head and neck
    • Local anaesthetic techniques
  • Oral surgery instruments
  • Management of haemorrhage
  • Post-operative complications
    • Alveolar osteitis
    • OAC/OAF
  • Guidelines to be aware of in oral surgery
    • Patients on anticoagulants
    • Patients on anti-angiogenic and anti-resorptive medications
    • Pericoronitis management
  • Implants

– Special Care Dentistry

  • Systemic diseases
  • Therapeutics relevant in dentistry
  • Safeguarding and raising concerns
  • Medical emergencies
  • Radiography
  • Conscious sedation in dentistry

– Oral Medicine

  • White, red and pigmented patches
  • Ulcers
    • Recurrent
    • Single
  • Xerostomia and salivary gland pathology
  • Oral lichen planus and vesiculobullous lesions
  • Bacterial, viral and fungal infections of the mouth
  • Facial and temporomandibular pain
  • Oral manifestations of disease
  • Drug induced manifestations of the mouth
  • Oral cancer and potentially malignant lesions
  • Syndromes of the head and neck

– Restorative Dentistry & Prosthodontics

  • Principles of treatment planning
  • Aetiology of dental caries, periodontal disease and tooth surface loss
    • Prevention and histological appearance
  • Direct restorations
    • Indications
    • Materials
    • Classifications
  • Indirect restorations (indications, materials, design)
    • Onlays
    • Crowns
    • Bridges
    • Post-crowns
  • Occlusion
    • Classification and definitions
  • Tooth surface loss
    • Aetiology
    • Management
  • Removable partial dentures
    • Classification
    • Acrylic dentures: indications, principles and problem solving
    • Cobalt chrome dentures: indications, principles and problem solving
  • Complete dentures

– Endodontics

  • Pulpal and apical diagnosis
  • Indications
  • Preparation techniques
  • Irrigation
  • Medicaments and materials
  • Obturation
  • Post-operative complications and indications for referral

– Periodontology

  • Microbiology of oral microflora
  • Histology of the periodontium
  • Pathogenesis of gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Classification of periodontal diseases
  • Non-surgical periodontal management
  • Antimicrobials in periodontal disease management
  • Periodontal surgery

– Clinical Cases

I used two books that helped me with treatment planning principles and especially helped me in my oral exams. If you are going to only find two books in the library, these would be the two!

– Test Yourself

My biggest advice for revising: make it active! The most useful thing I did was practice questions: I used the Pastest books and the online question bank (3-month  paid subscription). I also used Oxford Assess and Progress Clinical Dentistry, as well as a free question bank that came with the Harty’s endodontics book. The Master Dentistry books are very succinct with practice multiple choice, extended matching, oral and essay questions and detailed answers at the end of each chapter.

I also used the free series of webinars by Dentinal Tubules ‘Headstart to Finals’, and ACE Courses Undergraduate Programme webinars to supplement and mix up my revision. Finally, I had my lecture notes from 5 years at dental school!

Good luck!


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