Career Guide


Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021

The world of medical science can often confused people.

Dentistry instruments

Whenever you talk about medical science, people always think Neuroscientists or Cardiologists and completely and utterly forget that that can also encompass Dentists too, which is one of the most important jobs listed in the NHS, today.

We’ve compiled a useful career guide to a Dentist and what it involves and how best to apply, below, so let’s jump in!

Dentist Career Guide

What is the role of a dentist?

The dentist job role involves treating and preventing problems affecting the teeth and mouth, as well as correcting dental issues and dealing with injuries. The dentist career can either take you working for the NHS or running a dental practice.

Under the dentist job description, it explains while working as a general dental practitioner (GDP), you’ll provide dental care to the general public most likely in high street practices. Some dentists may work part-time within hospitals or in the private sector. A dentist usually leads a team of hygienists, dental nurses, technicians and therapists and treats a range of patients, from the elderly to children.

Where do dentists work? Dentists can work within public health where they carry out non-clinical work and assess the needs of populations over individual patients; community dental care, where they perform within individual’s homes, clinics and nursing homes or people with special requirements where they can’t attend a practice themselves.

The dentistry salary usually begins while individuals are completing their one-year foundation training.

Also, the profession is within the armed forces to provide dental services for armed forces personall abroad, and in the UK, this is called a military dental officer. Lastly, they work within hospitals, dealing with cases of special difficulty, long-stay patients and emergency treatments.

What does a dentist do?

A dentist examines teeth, advise patients on oral healthcare and diagnose dental conditions. They use tools, including x-rays, assess treatments and agree with plans for a condition or tooth problems with the patients. They will carry out treatments, for example, cleaning teeth and restoring them affected by decay.

A dentist will perform admin tasks like maintaining patient records, oversee budgets and order equipment. Dentists may recruit, train and supervise other members of staff and advertise services to potential clients. They may work with other allied professionals, like GPs and ear, nose and throat specialists.

Dentist Career

How to become a dentist?

You’re probably thinking, what qualifications do I need to be a dentist? The first step is to complete dentist training, usually by studying approved dentist qualifications in the UK. To train as a dentist, it typically takes at least five years to complete.

Candidates need high grades at A-Levels, with biology and chemistry as required subjects for the degree course. However, if you don’t have the dentist requirements, you can take a one-year pre-dental course to ensure you are up to the correct level.

How long does it take to become a dentist in the UK? It can take five years through the dental course, or six if you need to take the pre-dental programme, or there is an option of taking an accelerated four-year dental course if you already have a degree, at 2:1 or above, with biology or chemistry as a large element of the course. These are the most common pathways of obtaining the relevant dentist skills needed for the career.

Institutions that offer dentist qualifications are regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC). However, it is essential to note that receiving an offer for a place on a course to be a dentist is fierce - competition is high. Some universities may ask you to sit the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT), or the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT).

A dentist examines teeth, advise patients on oral healthcare and diagnose dental conditions.

How to become a private dentist?

Suppose you’re interested in becoming a dentist who works in private practice. In that case, you will need to complete your degree, register with the GDC and follow a professional code of ethics following qualification. You will also need to maintain registration throughout your career and complete continuing professional development (CPD).

After registration, you can begin dental foundation training, a work-based training programme which lasts for one year, where an experienced practitioner will train you. Following passing the course, you can either enter practice or work as a self-employed associate within the dentistry career. If you want to work as a hospital consultant, you can study further specialist training, such as aesthetic dentistry, orthodontics and implant dentistry.

What skills are useful for a dentist?

Dentists need excellent communication, interpersonal, relationship-building and record-keeping skills. Having technical knowledge, high concentration and focus are essential. A dentist should have a genuine interest to help others and be concerned for their welfare as this profession is within the medical field.

They need to be sympathetic, empathetic and sensitive, as some patients fear the dentist chair. Admin skills are vital, as well as managerial and leadership abilities when running their practice. Dentists need to be able to use computers, medical equipment like digital imaging, x-rays and intra-oral photography.


How much do dentists get paid?

How much do dentists earn in the UK? Dental salary for candidates who are newly qualified begins at £32,050. The dentistry salary usually begins while individuals are completing their one-year foundation training.

How much do dentists earn while self-employed? Contractors in general practice can mix with NHS and private work. Profits of dental procedures vary; however, in general, a dentists salary can be around £50,000, with dentist earnings rising to £110,000. The dentist wage in the UK for those in private practice solely can be as high as £140,000 or more.

How much does a dentist earn after dental core training? If you choose this route over the option of working in general practice, the dental salary can range between £37,935 and £48,075. However, the graduate dentist salary can rise with additional payments from the weekend, night and on-call work.

What do dentists earn through the NHS? Those who work mainly in community dental services can see the dentist pay in the UK be around £40,629, with the average wage of a dentist being as high as £86,900. The salary for a dentist can vary for other positions like within corporate practices or the armed forces. In contrast, the NHS dentist salary for consultants in dental specialities earns a basic salary of £79,860, with the UK dentist salary rising to £107,668 depending on the amount of experience.

If you’re wondering what do dentists earn and how much does a dentist make a year, these guides will offer some insight into the various ranges of dentist wages you can expect. However, working for the NHS as a dental practitioner usually involves the dentist annual salary falling under the different bands (5 to 8c).

The first step is to complete dentist training, usually by studying approved dentist qualifications in the UK.

A private dentist salary will differ depending on the practice and how many patients you treat. The salary for a dentist can also increase through progression and working as the role of a partner or associate in general practice. The average dentist salary in the UK, or answering the question, ‘how much do dentists earn an hour?’, is not easy to define due to the varying factors, but they can give some indication.

Can you work remotely as a dentist?

It’s not possible to work as a dentist on a remote basis; however, you may complete some admin tasks at home, like maintaining records, research, budgets and account-keeping.

What are the prospects for a dentist?

Once a dentist completes their foundation training, they can move up to be an associate or partner. The majority of professional eventually set up a practice themselves, where they’ll take on management responsibilities, including budgets, staff, equipment, security, tax and the premises. Although they’ll have more key duties on their shoulders, they will have more freedom surrounding working hours and specialist area.

Hospital dentists have a clear career progression route, where they will complete recognised postgraduate qualifications to be promoted to senior positions. Hospital dentists can specialise in orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, restorative dentistry and paediatric dentistry.

For those within the community, they will need to obtain experience as a community clinical dental officer before completing postgraduate qualifications - usually part-time alongside work. After, you can move up to work as a senior dental officer with responsibilities revolving around treating people with special needs or epidemiology, as an example.

If academia appeals to you, you can work in universities, teaching hospitals and dental schools and progress to a professorial or senior lectureship post, and teach the dentists of the future.

undergraduate Uni's

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