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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)

£25,654 Starter


£39,026 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

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.

You may be able to get additional student finance support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

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


Further information

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

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

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 teeth
  • give certain types of local anaesthetic

Working environment

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

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to dental practice manager. Some dental therapists become self-employed or 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

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Dental Nurse

  • Wage: £19,760.00 Annually
  • Location: Guiseley, Leeds

Dental Nurse Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £10,004.80 Annually
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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