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Dental therapist

Alternative titles for this job include

Dental therapists carry out routine treatments prescribed by a dentist.

Average salary (a year)

£24,907 Starter


£37,890 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

How to become a dental therapist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship


You'll need a degree or diploma in dental therapy approved by the General Dental Council.

You'll also need relevant work experience shadowing a dental therapist or hygienist.

Some dental schools offer part-time courses for qualified dental hygienists and dental nurses wishing to become dental therapists.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree

More Information


You could work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a dental nurse.

After a few years' experience you could study a degree or diploma whilst working.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

More Information


Career tips

As well as a Student Loan, you may be able to get support through the NHS Learning Support Fund, that can help with costs for travel, childcare and hardship.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Association of Dental Hygiene and Therapy to get access to professional development training.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a dental therapist from Health Careers.

What it takes

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you might:

  • remove plaque and other tooth coatings
  • apply antibacterial and de-sensitising agents
  • polish and whiten teeth
  • apply sealants and fluorides to teeth to help prevent decay
  • take x-rays
  • replace temporary fillings and crowns
  • carry out simple fillings
  • extract deciduous (milk) teeth
  • give certain types of local anaesthetic

Working environment

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

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to dental practice manager. Some dental therapists set up their own practice and employ dentists to work with them.

You could also move into a research post or teaching, take further training or go into orthodontic therapy.

Current opportunities

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Dental Nurse

  • Wage: £320.76 Weekly
  • Location: Newark

Apprentice Dental Nurse

  • Wage: £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Hinckley

Courses In England

Are you interested in becoming a dental therapist?

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