Studying to become a licensed dental professional in Nigeria usually takes place in the health faculty of a university, which must be accredited to award degrees in dentistry. There are dental colleges not affiliated with universities, but they can only award Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) at best and don’t qualify you to become a dentist.
This article will aim to list the best dental schools in Nigeria where you can study to get a dental degree or diploma in Nigeria. It’s essential to note that there are only 11 colleges accredited to award Bachelor in Dental Surgery (BDS) degrees in Nigeria, so making this list isn’t a particularly high bar.
Enough said; let’s jump into the article.
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List of All Accredited Dental Schools in Nigeria
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Nigeria’s regulatory body for medical and dental schools, keeps a list of all accredited medical and dental schools at any given time. For now, only 11 are accredited to award BDS degrees, and here is an exhaustive list of all of them:
- College of Medicine, University of Lagos
- College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin
- College of Medicine, University of Ibadan
- College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt
- College of Medicine, University of Nigeria
- College of Medicine, Lagos State University
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri
- College of Medicine, Bayero University Kano
- University of Medical Sciences, Ondo
- College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar
Note that most of these medical colleges have a faculty of dental studies/surgery that handles the education and award of degrees to budding dental professionals.
Best Dental Schools in Nigeria
Of the list of accredited dental schools in Nigeria, here are the best ones to consider for the highest quality of dental education.
1. OAU Faculty of Dentistry
The Faculty of Dentistry at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is the third oldest (continuously running) dental school in Nigeria, which is unsurprising when you consider the university’s reputation. Founded in 1975, the school initially commenced operations at Ife State Hospital before eventually moving to the Ife Dental Teaching Hospital at the OAU Main Campus in Ile Ife.
The OAU Faculty of Dentistry was initially a department under the Faculty of Health Sciences, and it was later broken down into three departments. Following a 1991 NUC visitation panel recommendation, OAU added another department and officially created the Faculty of Dentistry.
Today, the Faculty of Dentistry at OAU has four departments: Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Pathology; Preventive and Community Dentistry; Child Dental Health; and Restorative Dentistry departments. Thanks to the Faculty’s structure and reputation, it’s widely regarded as one of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
2. University of Nigeria Faculty of Dentistry
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) operates a Faculty of Dentistry that’s similar in structure to OAU’s dentistry faculty. However, unlike OAU, UNN doesn’t have a dedicated dental teaching hospital; rather, the Faculty of Dentistry still operates from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), as with most other dental schools in Nigeria.
UNN’s Faculty of Dentistry has several departments, including the Departments of Child Dental Health, Preventive Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine, and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The Faculty is one of the oldest in Nigeria, as it was established in 1983 but had to close down in 1992 due to issues with NUC accreditation.
Ever since the UNN Faculty of Dentistry was reopened in 2004, it has strived to hold itself to the standards of the best dental schools in Nigeria, making it an attractive option for students looking to get a BDS in Dentistry.
3. Bayero University Kano Faculty of Dentistry
Unlike UNN and OAU, Bayero University Kano (BUK) did not always have a Faculty of Dentistry, as the college is the newest in the school. The journey of the Faculty of Dentistry at BUK started with the establishment of the Department of Dental & Maxillofacial Surgery within the Faculty of Medicine, a move that achieved unprecedented success.
Building on the successes of the Department, Bayero University Kano created one of the first Dental Schools in Northern Nigeria, complete with the Departments of Child Dental Health, Oral Diagnostic Science, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Preventive Dentistry, and Restorative Dentistry.
With BUK’s tradition of excellence as a catalyst, the newfound Faculty of Dentistry at Bayero University Kano quickly grew to become one of the best dental schools in Nigeria and one of the only options for Northern students, earning it a place on this list.
5. University of Port Harcourt Faculty of Dentistry
University of Port Harcourt’s (UNIPORT) Faculty of Dentistry is one of the best dental schools in Nigeria, especially for students limiting their search to the South-Southern geo-political zone of the country. While it currently has full accreditation for all of its five dental departments, it’s one of the more unstable dental schools in Nigeria, making it not a first choice for most people.
UNIPORT’s Faculty of Dentistry has five departments: Child Dental Health, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Pathology and Biology, Preventive Dentistry, and Restorative Dentistry. The faculty is led by Prof. Olufemi G. Omitola, and the veteran dental educator has done so much to establish it among the best dental schools in the country.
6. College of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Ibadan
The Faculty of Dentistry is one of the sixteen faculties in the University of Ibadan, filed under the College of Medicine. While UI is one of the oldest universities in Nigeria to offer Dentistry as a program (1975, same as OAU), the program didn’t achieve Faculty status until 2002, as they couldn’t meet the NUC accreditation standards.
The Faculty of Dentistry at UI has five departments: Oral and maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Pathology, Periodontology and Community Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, and Child Oral Health.
Being one of the few dental schools in Nigeria to offer periodontology and oral pathology as unique programs, it would be a mistake to exclude the Faculty of Dentistry of UI’s College of Medicine from a list of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
7. University of Lagos Faculty of Dental Sciences
The Faculty of Dental Sciences at the University of Lagos is the oldest dental school in Nigeria and the second oldest in sub-Saharan Africa, only second to Witwatersrand Dental School in South Africa. Established in 1964, the Faculty of Dental Sciences in UNILAG has had more than enough time to establish itself as one of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
Like with other dental schools in Nigeria, it has five departments, all of which take six years to complete. The available departments include the departments of Child Dental Health, Oral Pathology, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Preventive Dentistry, and Restorative Dentistry.
With more than half a decade of experience in dental education, describing UNILAG’s Faculty of Dental Sciences as one of the best dental schools in Nigeria feels like an understatement; it might very well be the best.
8. Lagos State University College of Dentistry
The College (or Faculty) of Dentistry at Lagos State University only came around in 2008, quickly establishing itself as one of the best dental schools in Nigeria. With a mandate to train the next crop of dental surgeons for the teeming population of Lagos State, Lagos State University Faculty of Dentistry already has a sizeable job on its hands.
LASU College of Dentistry has full accreditation to award BDS in five dental fields that serve as the different departments in the faculty. The school’s five dentistry departments include the Departments of Child Dental Health, Restorative Dentistry, Pathology and Oral Medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Preventive Dentistry.
The dental school operates from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and is reputed to be one of the state’s best destinations for oral care, aside from being a leading source of dental education. No doubt, the LASU Faculty of Dentistry deserves a place on any list of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
9. University of Medical Sciences Faculty of Dental Science
University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Ondo is one of the youngest institutions on this list, but it’s easy to see why its Faculty of Dental Science is one of the best dental schools in Nigeria. Unlike other universities with a plethora of programs, UNIMED offers medical courses only, and dentistry fits right into the equation.
Like most other dental schools in Nigeria, the Faculty of Dental Science at UNIMED has five departments: Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral/Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Oral Medicine, Preventive and Community Dentistry, Child Dental Health, and Restorative Dentistry.
UNIMED’s Faculty of Dental Science is headed by an Acting Dean, Dr. Ezekiel Adebayo, and it boasts of some of the greatest minds in Nigeria’s dental industry. With a mission to train dental students to international standards, UNIMED undoubtedly hosts one of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
10. University of Calabar Faculty of Dentistry
The University of Calabar hosts one of the 11 fully accredited dental schools in Nigeria in its Faculty of Dentistry. It awards the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in five fields, following the standards of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
Similar to most Nigerian schools of dentistry, the UNICAL Faculty of Dentistry has five departments: Child Dental Health, Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Oral Pathology and Medicine, Preventive Dentistry, and Restorative Dentistry.
While the school claims to have the most well-equipped faculty of dentistry in Nigeria, I’d take that with a grain of salt, as it’s hardly verifiable outside of their dean’s statement. However, they don’t need the best-equipped faculty to be one of the best dental schools in Nigeria, so it’s only natural that they make this list.
11. Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu
Qualifying to study dentistry at a Nigerian university can be pretty challenging, and that’s why the Federal College of Dental Tech and Therapy is providing an alternative. While it’s not accredited to issue BDS degrees yet, it’s a less challenging way for aspiring dental professionals to make headway into the industry or prepare themselves for the rigors of the best dental schools in Nigeria.
Unlike with accredited dental faculties in tier-one universities, FEDCODTTEN lacks the most sought-after departments of dentistry like Child Dental Health, Maxillofacial Surgery, or Oral Pathology. Rather, it offers diplomas in Dental Nursing, Dental Therapy, Dental Technology, and Prosthetics and Orthodontists, all excellent A-level programs for further dental studies at an accredited university.
FEDCODTTEN also recently got approval from the NUC to award B.Tech degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Dental Technology, but that’s not equivalent to a BDS in a dental field. While FEDCODTTEN is a good first step for dentists who wouldn’t ordinarily make the merit list of the best dental schools in Nigeria, it’s not a degree-awarding institution that can make you a professional dentist.
Dentistry is one of the most exclusive programs at any Nigerian university, and securing admission to a BDS-awarding program is ordinarily a great feat. If you want a degree from one of the best dental schools, however, here are our recommended picks in Nigeria.
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