Skip to content

Wellbeing

Dentist

Dentists diagnose and treat teeth and mouth problems, and work to prevent dental disease and promote oral health.

Annual Salary

£32,000 to £86,900

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40 a week

You could work: as a contractor / self-employed; managing your own hours

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

You will:

  • lead a dental team to diagnose and treat dental problems
  • see patients for routine check ups
  • perform treatments like fillings, extractions and fitting dentures and bridges
  • whiten teeth
  • take X-rays and give local anaesthetics
  • refer patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

You could work at a dental practice, at a health centre or in an NHS or private hospital.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
University

You'll need to complete a 5-year degree in dentistry approved by the General Dental Council, followed by 1 to 2 years of postgraduate dental training.

When you apply for a dentistry course, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

You may be able to apply for a 4-year dental degree course if you've already got at least an upper second class degree in biology, chemistry or a biomedical subject.

There's a lot of competition for places at dental schools.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a dentist from the British Dental Association and Health Careers.

As a dentist in general practice you could go on to become a partner in the practice or set up your own practice.

If you're working in the hospital dental service, you'll be able to follow the same career structure and training pathway as a hospital doctor. You could also specialise, for example in implant or paediatric dentistry.

As a consultant, you'll often find work opportunities in the private sector.

With experience, you could lead a team, or manage a unit or department.

You could also progress to teaching and training students, trainee dentists and other healthcare professionals.

You can find out more about becoming a dentist from the British Dental Association and Health Careers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to read English
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
My top 5 skills
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register