Why work in dentistry?

Dentistry is an interesting and challenging vocation and offers a range of opportunities. The profession has undergone significant change in recent years, and more responsibility has been devolved to the dental team. Dental care professionals (DCPs), such as dental nurses, dental hygienists, therapists and dental technicians play an integral part in the services provided by the modern dental practice.

Dentistry is a highly respected profession. A dentist holds the title of doctor and is given the responsibility to prescribe drugs, review personal health histories and perform oral surgeries. With this responsibility comes a strong respect from the community.

Members of the dental team can pursue their careers in a variety of areas: the high street dental practice, the salaried primary dental care service, dental hospitals, universities and the armed forces. Working in variety of settings gives you different options on how to further your career.

Roles in the dental team

Dentist and dental nurse

You could train to be a dentist and run a high street practice, work as a dental hygienist to help prevent dental disease or train as a dental nurse and help the team deliver treatment and advice. Alternatively, you could train as a dental technician and make dentures, crowns, bridges and retainers for patients.

Find out more about the different roles in the dental team »

Training and development


All members of the dental team have to take a course approved by the General Dental Council (GDC). You can search for GDC-approved courses using the Health Careers course finder or by looking at the programmes and qualifications listed on the GDC website. The course you take depends on your role within the dental team.

Find out more about training and development »

Registration process

Woman patient at dentist

To work in dentistry, dentists and Dental Care Practitioners (DCPs) must be registered with the General Dental Council (GDC), the profession’s regulatory body. Registration depends upon certain criteria and the General Dental Council website explains how to apply for registration, if your qualifications may need to be individually assessed, or if you will need to pass the overseas registration exam before you can register.

Find out more about registration »

Taking a career break


If you are planning to take a break from dentistry, it is important to keep up to date with the changes that will take place while you are away from practice and to maintain your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as required by the GDC. Clinical techniques, best practice, standards, regulations etc. are changing and evolving more rapidly than ever.

Find out more about taking a career break »

Returning to practice

Dentist and dental nurse

To return to practice after a career break you will first have to ensure that your full registration with the (GDC) is current and that your indemnification is organised. You will have kept up your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours including attendance at GDC core courses during your time away from dental practice.

Find out more about returning to practice »

International dentists

Woman patient at dentist

The Overseas Registration Exam (ORE) is an exam that overseas qualified dentists have to pass in order to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). Registration allows dentists to practice dentistry unsupervised in the UK.

Find out more about international dentists »