How To Become A Dentist In The UK:11 Best Steps

Dentists handle injuries, treat oral and dental conditions, and prevent problems before they arise.

A dentist often supervises a group of dental nurses, hygienists, therapists, and technicians and provides care for a variety of patients, including infants, adolescents, and the elderly.

The most typical position in dentistry is that of a general dentist (GDP). In high street dental offices, you’ll work as a self-employed contractor offering general dental care to the public as a GDP. In hospitals, part-time employment is also an option. You might offer services through the NHS, in the commercial sector, or both.

In this blog post, we will be talking about how to become a dentist in the UK and everything else you need to know.

How To Become A Dentist In The UK: The Best Steps

  • Take Lots of Math and Science Classes in High School
  • Choose the Type of Dentistry You Want
  • Reach out to local dentists
  • Check the Entry Requirements
  • Submit Great College Applications
  • Get Qualified
  • Get Relevant Skills
  • Start Practicing
  • Build relevant work experience
  • Continuous Learning
  • Advance Your Career

Now, let’s give you more information on how to become a dentist in the UK.

Step 1: Take Lots of Math and Science Classes in High School

You are expected to perform extremely well in related courses because the field of dentistry demands a thorough understanding of advanced math and science. In order for you to get in-depth information on each of these areas, it wouldn’t hurt to include a few advanced versions of these subjects.

You obviously do not want to harm your GPA by enrolling in courses you are aware you will not find particularly interesting. Make sure to enroll in the advanced versions of the courses you are confident you will excel

No matter what program of study or school you decide to attend, make sure to enroll in as many science and health-related courses as you can.

Of course, the purpose of this is to assist you to become familiar with the issues surrounding science and health as they pertain to dental treatment. Make sure you succeed at them as well. Many schools have course advisors that you can speak with for advice on the course combinations you will require.

Here are a few of the subjects you need to do well in the interim:

  • Chemistry Biology (including lab work)
  • Chemistry (including lab work)
  • Chemistry, organic

You should use all of these to get ready for the knowledge you’ll encounter in dental school.

Step 2: Choose the type of dentistry you want

While searching for how to become a dentist in the UK, you could decide to focus on any of the following branches of dentistry, such as:

  • Community dental care – treating patients who have special needs and are unable to visit a high street practice by working in patients’ homes, nursing homes, and community clinics.

  • Dental public health – performing non-clinical work and determining the dental health requirements of populations as opposed to those of individuals.

  • Hospital dental care – treating patients who require long hospital stays, giving emergency care for individuals who are only there temporarily, or treating patients in the broader population in order to educate them.

  • Armed forces – As a military dental professional, you provide a full range of dental services to armed forces troops in the UK and abroad.

What are the various kinds of Dental Specialties?

Dentists are not required to pursue a specialization in the UK. The thirteen recognized fields of study are available to anyone who choose to specialize, nevertheless.

The difficulty of your selected field will determine how long the specialty training will last.

SpecialtyDescription
Dental & Maxillofacial Radiologyexperts in the diagnosis of oral disease using medical imaging equipment (such as x-rays) on the head, neck, jaws, and teeth.
Oral & Maxillofacial PathologyA lab-based specialty that focuses on employing microscopic analysis of sick tissues to diagnose and evaluate oral conditions.
Dental Public Healthfocuses on enhancing community oral health through research and public awareness programs.
Endodonticsinvolves identifying, avoiding, and treating conditions that affect the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue. They are experts at performing root canals..
Restorative Dentistryuses endodontics, prosthodontics, and periodontics to treat and improve people’s oral health.
Oral MedicineManage patients with recurrent chronic conditions affecting the jaw, salivary glands, and mouth.
Oral Microbiology  professionals in the diagnosis and evaluation of face and dental infections who operate in laboratories.
Oral SurgeryThey oversee the care of patients who need surgery on their mouths, teeth, or jaws.
Orthodonticsworks to prevent and remedy dental, bite, and jaw abnormalities. Braces and retainers are fitted by them with precision.
Paediatric Dentistryprovides kids and teens with dental treatment.
Periodonticsfocuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum diseases and disorders.
Prosthodonticsuses implants and prostheses to restore and replace lost teeth and the accompanying soft and hard tissues (such as crowns, bridges, and dentures).
Special Care Dentistrythe provision of oral care to those who require special attention, such as those who suffer from physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, or social impairments or disabilities.  

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You’ll also need to know what their responsibilities are to be sure it’s something you can venture in.

As a dentist, you’ll need to:

  • educate patients on oral healthcare
  • examine teeth, diagnosing dental conditions using tools such as x-rays
  • assess treatment options and agree on treatment plans with patients
  • carry out agreed clinical treatments such as restoring teeth affected by decay and treating gum disease
  • maintain patients’ dental records
  • recruit, train and manage staff
  • oversee budgets and maintain stocks of equipment
  • market services to potential clients.

Some practices employ practice managers so that dentists can concentrate on clinical work.

Get to see what you’re likely to earn when you eventually become a Dentist. 

  • You must undergo a year of foundation training as a freshly licensed dentist if you wish to work in the NHS. You will be paid a salary of £33,720 during this time.

  • The majority of dentists work as independent contractors in general practice, juggling NHS and private jobs. Although dental clinics’ profits vary widely, in general, you may expect to make between £50,000 and £110,000. Fully private dentists can make more than £140,000.

  • Instead of working in general practice, you might enroll in dentistry core training and make between £39,467 and £50,017 annually. For a night, weekend, and on-call work, there are also additional pay rates.

  • You may expect to make between £43,019 and £92,013 as a salaried dentist employed by the NHS, primarily in community dental services.

  • Depending on the number of years spent at the consultant grade, dental specialists’ basic salaries in NHS trust hospitals range from £84,559 to £114,003.

In the military and in business, there are additional salaried positions.

info on salaries from Health Careers. Figures are just meant to be a guide.

You also need to know how much time you’re likely going to spend working. 

Working as a GDP will let you to be self-employed and set your own hours, which may include weekend or evening sessions to accommodate patients. Opportunities for career breaks and part-time employment are available.

Hospital employment sometimes entails short-term contracts, unpredictable hours, and on-call responsibilities. Only consultants are eligible for self-employment and freelance work in hospital dentistry.

What to expect

  • In both urban and rural sections of the country, there are open positions.

  • You will be expected to wear a tunic, surgical gloves, and safety glasses while caring for patients in order to protect yourself and lower the possibility of cross-infection.

  • The task may lead to eye strain, neck pain, and back ache. When dealing with patients’ pain and worry or working under tight deadlines, you could feel a lot of stress. When you observe patient happiness, though, the position can also be extremely rewarding.

  • In general practice, travel during working hours and overnight stays away from home are uncommon but occasionally required for employment in hospitals or the community.

  • There may be occasions to travel abroad to take part in international conferences.

Step 3: Reach out To Local Dentists

Working as a GDP will let you be self-employed and set your own hours, which may include weekend or evening sessions to accommodate patients. Opportunities for career breaks and part-time employment are available.

Hospital employment sometimes entails short-term contracts, unpredictable hours, and on-call responsibilities. Only consultants are eligible for self-employment and freelance work in hospital dentistry.

What to expect

  • In both urban and rural sections of the country, there are open positions.
  • You will be expected to wear a tunic, surgical gloves, and safety glasses while caring for patients in order to protect yourself and lower the possibility of cross-infection.
  • The task may lead to eye strain, neck pain, and back ache. When dealing with patients’ pain and worry or working under tight deadlines, you could feel a lot of stress. When you observe patient happiness, though, the position can also be extremely rewarding.
  • In general practice, travel during working hours and overnight stays away from home are uncommon but occasionally required for employment in hospitals or the community.
  • There may be occasions to travel abroad to take part in international conferences.

Step 4: Check the Entry Requirements

A General Dental Council-approved Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) or Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BChd) degree is required to practice dentistry in the UK (GDC). Additionally, you must have finished your foundational training.

What are the Entry Requirements for Dental School in the UK?

If you wish to pursue a career in dentistry, you should start preparing early because there is a significant demand for medical school spots.

There are two admission options for you to select: undergraduate entry and graduate entry, depending on your qualifications.

Undergraduate Entry:

Each university has its own set of specific entry requirements for undergraduate dental programs.

In general, though, you’ll need three A levels, preferably in chemistry and biology, with marks ranging from AAA to ABB.

Instead, some dental schools in the UK provide one-year pre-dental programs for applicants who did not achieve the academic requirements for direct admission.

You may also need to pass the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), depending on the university (BMAT). In addition, candidates must submit a personal statement and appear in person for an interview.

Graduate Entry:

Graduate Entry may be available to those who currently hold a 2.1 degree in a science or biological field.

Starting their studies in the second year of the program enables the student to complete their degree more quickly.

For medical professionals looking to change careers or advance, this is the perfect route.

To practice dentistry, you must obtain a degree that has been approved, and the programs must last at least five years.

Typically, you’ll need excellent grades in chemistry and biology at A-level and higher education. For those without the necessary A-levels or equivalent, several dental schools provide a one-year pre-dental study.

If you have already earned a degree with at least a 2:1 and a significant amount of biology or chemistry, you might be allowed to enroll in a four-year dentistry program that is accelerated.

The General Dental Council (GDC), which oversees all dental schools in the UK, maintains a list of all the programs that are offered at GDC Dentistry Programmes and Qualifications.

Because of the intense competition, many dental schools require you to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

To practice as a licensed dentist after earning your undergraduate degree with honors, you must register with the GDC.

Step 5: Submit Great College Applications

The culmination of all of them is admission to a dental program, where you can fulfill your lifelong desire of practicing dentistry in Alberta.

You should be aware that the following criteria will be used to assess your application process:

  • Your grade point average
  • recommendations from professors of science or health
  • effective interviews
  • DAT result

When everything is finished, you are prepared to go on to the next phase.

Step 6: Get Qualified

A General Dental Council-approved Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) or Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BChd) degree is required to practice dentistry in the UK (GDC). Additionally, you must have finished your foundational training.

Step 7: Get Relevant Skills

You will need to show:

  • dental technical expertise, manual dexterity, and the capacity for sustained, intense focus.
  • the capacity to establish connections with clients and colleagues.
  • high caliber interpersonal and communication skills for dealing with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
  • concern for other people’s well-being and an empathetic demeanor, especially while handling patients’ anxieties.
  • solid managerial and administrative skills to run a dental practice.
  • information technology abilities, as a result of the growing use of computers for bookkeeping and accounting as well as radiograph and intraoral photography digital imaging.

Step 8: Build relevant work experience

Although prior dental experience is not required, a few weeks of related work experience and job shadowing will show your drive for the job.

Another smart move is to join the British Dental Association as a student (BDA). You’ll have access to its e-books, dentistry library, journal, and student magazine. Additionally, it offers career and interview coaching as well as a support service. Check out BDA – Students to learn more.

Learn more about the various career opportunities and internships that are offered.

Step 9: Start Practicing

You could be employed as a dentist in a:

  • NHS or private dental practice – Either as a hired assistant or a self-employed associate, you will work. The scale of dental practices varies, ranging from part-time, solo operations to multi-site partnerships with numerous associates.
  • NHS hospital trust – as a dentist with a salary who specializes in a certain field, like pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, or restorative dentistry.
  • Community dental service – working as a salaried dentist in the NHS in a range of clinical settings, such as health authority clinics, mobile clinics, and residential homes.
  • Role in the armed forces – with the Royal Air Force, Royal Army, and Royal Navy at locations both domestically and abroad.

Dentists are also employed by corporate offices and regional dental access centers, which are growing more prevalent.

Academic instruction and research can be combined at universities with dentistry schools and teaching hospitals to more thoroughly explore specialized interests.

Look for open positions at

Step 10: Continuous Learning

After you’ve completed your dentistry degree, and before being able to practice as a dentist, you must register with the GDC. To maintain registration throughout your career, you’ll need to follow a professional code of ethics and complete continuing professional development (CPD).

Once you’re registered with the GDC, you can begin your dental foundation training. This is a period of work-based training, which lasts for one year that that must be completed by all dentists. You’ll be based in an approved dental practice with an experienced practitioner who’ll be your trainer. As well as receiving weekly tutorials in the practice, you’ll attend a day-release course of lectures and demonstrations, usually held in dental departments of hospitals.

You have the option to start a practice as a salaried assistant or as a self-employed associate after successfully completing this course. You could also enroll in dental core training (DCT), which could last up to three years. It is common for graduates to complete a year of DCT training to advance their knowledge and expertise in fields like oral and maxillofacial surgery, which they subsequently apply to their future employment in a practice.

You must complete additional specialized training in a hospital setting if you want to think about a future as a hospital consultant. There are classes for specialty certifications in fields including orthodontics, implant dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. To learn more, look at the:

Step 11: Advance Your Career

Lastly, on how to become a dentist in the UK, It is possible to advance to the position of associate or partner in a general practice once you have finished your foundational training. Many dentists eventually decide to open and manage their own offices. You will be able to choose your own working hours and specialty area, but you will be responsible for managing the employees, finances, tax, equipment, and facilities.

If you want to work in hospital dentistry, you will follow a set career path and training schedule, and you will need to get postgraduate degrees in order to advance to senior positions. The hospital dentistry service’s primary areas of expertise are

  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • oral surgery
  • orthodontics
  • pediatric dentistry
  • restorative dentistry.

As a community clinical dental officer, you will get expertise in the field of dentistry and have the opportunity to earn postgraduate degrees through part-time study. You could advance to the position of senior dental officer, which would come with additional responsibilities in areas like managing patients with special needs or epidemiology.

If you possess the necessary postgraduate credentials, you can advance to a senior lectureship or professorial position in university dentistry schools and teaching hospitals.

Fellowships in dental research are a fantastic way to explore a particular passion and gain skills. What are your thoughts about these steps on how to become a dentist in the UK? Please share your thoughts with us.

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