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Dentistry in Africa

Egypt - High Standards for Cosmetic Dentistry

Egypt's Abu Simbel Temple

Country Profile

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country and has among the longest histories of any modern country, emerging as one of the world's first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilization, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion and central government. Egypt's rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, and at times assimilated various foreign influences and is one of the earliest centres of Christianity. Egypt was Islamized in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority.

Modern Egypt is considered to be a regional and middle power, with significant cultural, political, and military influence in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Egypt's economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, and is projected to become one of the largest in the 21st century.

Most of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim and Sidi Barrani, and rarely in Alexandria. Frost is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt. Egypt is the driest and the sunniest country in the world and most of its land surface is desert.

National Demographic

Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East, and the third most populous on the African continent. Egypt's people are highly urbanized, being concentrated along the Nile (notably Cairo and Alexandria), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Egyptians are divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centres and the fellahin, or farmers that reside in rural villages. For most of their history, Egypt has been a state, but only in recent years has it been truly a nation-state, with a government claiming the allegiance of its subjects on the basis of a common identity.

Ethnic Egyptians are by far the largest ethnic group in the country. Ethnic minorities include the Abazas, Turks, Greeks, Bedouin Arab tribes, the Berber-speaking Siwis (Amazigh) of the Siwa Oasis, and the Nubian communities. There are also tribal Beja, and a number of Dom clans and Faiyum. Egypt also hosts an unknown number of refugees and asylum seekers (Palestinian refugees, Iraqi refugees, and the Sudanese).

The official language of the Republic is Modern Standard Arabic. Arabic was adopted by the Egyptians after the Arab invasion of Egypt. The spoken languages are: Egyptian Arabic, Sa'idi Arabic, Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic, Sudanese Arabic, Domari, Nobiin, Beja, Siwi and others. Additionally, Greek, Armenian and Italian are the main languages of immigrants. The main foreign languages taught in schools, by order of popularity, are English, French, German and Italian.

Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion followed by Coptic Christians, and other Christian denominations. Egypt hosts two major religious institutions, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, established in the middle of the 1st century CE by Saint Mark the Evangelist, and Al-Azhar University, founded in 970 CE by the Fatimids as the first Islamic School and University in the world. Egypt recognizes only three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Other faiths and minority Muslim sects practiced by Egyptians, such as the small Bahá'í and Ahmadi community, are not recognized by the state.


Egypt has long been the cultural and informational centre of the Arab world, and Cairo is the region's largest publishing and broadcasting centre. Currently, there are three companies which offer cellular communication service: Orange, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Egypt. These companies are providing services surpassing voice communication such as 3G and 3.75G services.

There are 8 major Service Provider companies which sell their services to smaller ISPs. The Egyptian ISP market is fully liberalized and highly competitive, at least in Cairo and Alexandria, with over 220 ISPs offering a range of services, including dedicated, dial-up, pre-paid and premium services. With the introduction of ADSL for homes and businesses, more subscribers are introduced into the market. Egypt is following closely the efforts to standardize WiMax technologies as they permit simpler and faster access to Internet services, especially as WiMax receivers are integrated into PC processors. The government is still also holding discussions with relevant stakeholders to determine the best policy framework for introducing WiMax into the market through existing or new operators.

English Literacy

Well, like any other language, learning Arabic is not an easy job to do. Learning  some basic words and phrases would be helpful though. Everywhere you go you will meet someone who speaks a little English. English is obligatory at school, but they focus on exams and grades in written exams more than speaking. For basic communication there will be no problem. But if you want to have deeper conversations, a few will be able to handle it.

Most of the youth will speak English and try strike up a conversation to improve their language skills. About middle aged people speaking English, some do some don't. Egyptians are very hospitable people, their English maybe broken but it will get the job done. In any case, knowing basic Arabic will help. Egyptian Arabic is different that Modern Standard Arabic.

School System

Egypt has an extensive education system that outstrips all others in the Middle East and North Africa, and where even tertiary education is free. The compulsory primary education program follows kindergarten at age 4. Primary school that begins at age six takes 6 years and preparatory school another 3. During this introductory phase pupils may enrol at state, religious or private schools by choice.

Three years of preparatory schooling follow at the end of which a basic education completion certificate is awarded. During this time a student’s aptitude is examined in order to determine their best secondary education route.

There are three streams in secondary education, namely general (3 years), technical (as long as 5 years) and vocational. Technical secondary schools are organized around industrial, commercial or agricultural themes. Both technical and general schooling are conduits to tertiary education.

Egypt has a well-developed and extensive tertiary education system with 30% of Egyptians availing themselves of this opportunity. There are 17 public universities, 16 private universities, 89 private higher education institutions and 51 public non-university facilities.

Higher Education

The Ministry of Higher Education supervises the tertiary level of education. Out of the 51 non –university institutions, 47 are two-year middle technical institutes (MTIs) and four are 4–5 years higher technical institutes’.

The Egyptian tertiary education is steered by a centralized system with institutions having little control on the decisions of the curriculum, program development and deployment of staff and faculty. Improving system governance and efficiency is an imperative that takes on added urgency given that a significant population bulge has reached the higher education system.

Medical Education

Students join the medical school or “The Faculty of Medicine” right after they are done with high school. The average age for a first year student is 17-18 years. The selection process totally depends on the scores of final exams in high school. Since joining the faculty of medicine is highly desired in Egyptian culture, those who get accepted are the top students around the state. Acceptance depends on final exams scores, SATs or International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) system. The exam subjects include physical sciences (like chemistry and physics), biology, mathematics and languages.

Three years of basic science and three years of clinical training. In the first 2 years they study Physiology, Histology, Anatomy and Biochemistry. The third year subjects are Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Parasitology. In the last 3 years they start the clinical section and do rounds in Ophthalmology, ENT, Forensic medicine, Public health, Pediatrics, Gynecology, General Surgery and Internal Medicine. In the first 3 years it’s all about lectures, practical classes and exams. In the last 3 years they do rounds in the hospital departments and have theoretical lectures and evaluation end round exams. Students pick their specialty and apply for residency following their intern year, which would be the 7th year of study. 

Medical Students have to pass the end year exams every year until the sixth year, then start an internship year in the college hospital doing clinical rotations in its departments for 2 months each and finally graduate at the end of that year with a bachelor degree in medicine. And they will be officially called doctors, GPs “general practitioners,” following this graduation.

The Dentistry Profession

Dentistry in Egypt has a long history, with the dentist occupation first appearing as early as 3000 BC. Dentistry is taught in governmental and private dental schools in Egypt.

The private schools have better facilities in education. However, graduates from governmental universities have better chances when it comes to internship, practice in general hospitals and job opportunities after graduation. There is a syndicate for all dentists which regulate the work in dental clinics in association with ministry of health. For dental clinicians to practice, they should be enrolled in the dental syndicate. Dentists complete a 5-year-study course plus 1 year of practice in their dental school or general hospitals in the country. Most governmental dental schools give degrees of Bachelor, Master's degree & PhD in all dental fields. However, obtaining a chance for postgraduate studies in the field of orthodontics is somehow difficult according to many of Egypt general dental practitioners.

Getting There for Dental Care

It is possible to get to Egypt by land, but most visitors fly in. The best airfares are available in low season, November through March, excluding Christmas and New Year, which counts as high season along with June, July and August. Flights on weekends can cost more than on weekdays; prices quoted below are for the cheapest round trip midweek including tax. Many have restrictions such as fixed dates, and may require advance booking.

Egypt is well served by international airlines that fly direct from around the world, including multiple routes operated by its national carrier, EgyptAir. British Airways offers direct flights from the UK. The main international airports are Cairo International Airport (CAI) is Egypt's the main entry point, served by most international carriers, Burg al-Arab Airport (HBE) in Alexandria mostly receives flights from Middle Eastern and North African cities, Hurghada International Airport (HRG) receives mainly charter international flights, Luxor International Airport (LXR), very few international direct flights; EgyptAir flies direct from London Heathrow Airport (LHR), Marsa Alam International Airport (RMF) Served by a handful of charter flights from European destinations, Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (SSH), Although historically an excellent Egypt entry point for travelers looking for low-cost fares – served by a number of European budget airlines – since late 2015's Metrojet Flight 9268 disaster, most direct international services have been suspended.

EgyptAir is the national carrier and a member of Star Alliance. Ticket prices are usually exceptionally good value. No alcohol is served on flights. Its international fleet is in good shape and air marshals are present on every flight.

Egypt, which is bordered by Sudan in the south, Libya to the west, Israel and the Gaza strip to the east and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, is not easily accessed by road and bureaucracy at border points can prevent entry by both car drivers and coaches.

Visitor Highlights

Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a dazzling destination of temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It's not all historic treasures though. With vast tracts of desert, superb scuba diving, and the famed Nile River there's something for everyone here. Beach lovers head to the Sinai to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor. Cairo is the megalopolis that can't be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside. Egypt has so much for travelers to see and do; it's the perfect country for a mix of activities combining culture, adventure, and relaxation.

Egypt has plenty of swimming opportunities on the beaches along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. Diving and snorkeling are the most popular activities in Egypt, where the underwater life comes in a variety of colors and shapes. Cairo is a city of 19th century buildings, modern art and sculpture as well as Pharaonic sites and pyramids.