Alternative titles for this job include Dental surgeon, dental practitioner

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

Average salary (a year)

£36,461 Starter


£83,118 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

as a contractor / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become a Dentist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course


You'll need to complete a 5-year degree in dentistry followed by 1 to 2 years of postgraduate dental training.

When you apply for a dentistry course, you may need to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). This tests 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 a 2:1 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, usually at grades AAA to ABB, including chemistry and biology

More information

More information


Further information

The British Dental Association has information on dental training.

Health Careers has more information about becoming a dentist.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • customer service skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • 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
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your services might include:

  • dental treatments like fillings, extractions and fitting dentures and bridges
  • teeth whitening
  • taking X-rays and giving local anaesthetics
  • referring patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist

Working environment

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

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

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.

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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Dentist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Medical Science Access to Higher Education Diploma Level 3

  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: Manchester

Access to Higher Education - Dentistry

  • Provider: Yeovil College
  • Start date: 11 September 2019
  • Location: YEOVIL

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