Dentist Jobs and Careers

If you are interested in a healthcare but don't wish to pursue a career in medicine, then dentistry might be of interest to you.

Typically, dentists work in teams of dental healthcare professionals, helping people with their dental care, restoration and repair.

Dentist Jobs Sites.

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In the UK, dentists may work in one of four areas:

1. General dental practice.

2. Community dental care.

3. Hospital dental care.

4. Dental public health.

The dental teams include dental nurses, dental technicians, hygienists and therapists. Dentists themselves are often self-employed in their own practices, either providing dental care under the National Health Service (NHS), or working privately. Dentists also work in the armed forces, and research or teach in universities.

What is Involved in the Dentist Job?

We will now look more closely at the different areas of dentistry and what each area covers.

General Dental Care

As the most common area of dentistry, this is where most dentists work at the start of their dentistry careers. Like the general practitioner in medicine, the dentist's surgery is a private business, often located in the heart of the community. The majority of dentists in this situation combine NHS work with private practice from the same premises.

The NHS pays a basic rate to the dentist plus fees for work conducted. Work may include:

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Hospital Dental Care

Working in hospitals involves a high level of specialisation, in areas such as oral surgery, paediatric dentistry, orthodontics or restorative dentistry. Clients are fewer in number, but the treatment is more demanding and complex, as it addresses medical conditions, facial injuries due to accidents or car crashes, facial disease that affects the mouth, or congenital abnormalities requiring redress. Usually working within a team, the hospital dentist may be involved in:

Hospital dentists benefit from progressive training through a postgraduate program and a clear career structure. Their professional status is equivalent to hospital doctors.

Community Dental Care

Some patients require dental treatment but are unable, for various reasons, to attend their local surgery. They might be elderly, bedridden, disabled or mentally ill, or they might be children with special needs. Employed directly by primary care trusts, community dentists work with these people in their home settings, nursing homes, community clinics or even mobile clinics.

Community dentists work within teams that include other healthcare professionals, such as community nurses and health visitors. Their work also involves administration, while they can also take on managerial and research duties. In the context of the primary care trust, they can also become involved in screening work and wider oral health studies.

Dental public health

Dentists involved in public health do not see patients, but are involved in assessing dental health needs amongst the population in general. Their work in this fairly new area aims to ensure that those needs are met through dental services. This is achieved by working with people in all areas of dentistry, primary care trusts, health authorities and government offices, as well as academic post holders in higher education and the Department of Health.

Is This Job Right for You?

Dentists need to possess the following skills and abilities.


The majority of dentists working in general dental practices work weekday hours between 8am and 6pm. Dentist work in hospitals is more likely to be out of office hours, particularly if specialising as a consultant in dental surgery. They are also likely to be on call with weekend rotas.

Qualifications Required

Dental education is akin to medical education, being lengthy and highly regulated. A five-year Bachelors' degree (BDS or BChD) from an approved dental school (approved by the General Dental Council [GDC]) entails academic education, theoretical and practical training. Subjects covered include health, biological and behavioural sciences, as well as clinical dental skills.

Graduates in science degrees with a high level of biology and chemistry can pursue shorter dental courses of four years. If planning to work as a general dental practitioner, students have to complete vocational training as a Vocational Dental Practitioner (VDP). Students planning to work in hospital dental services have to work in a hospital as a Senior House Officer.

Attainment of this degree is then followed by further specialist training, in the form of postgraduate dental education or vocational training.

Salaries and Prospects

Vocational Dental Practitioners, who are not yet fully qualified, can earn around £30,000 a year. Self-employed general dental practitioners earn from £60,000 to £142,000.

If later employed by an NHS primary care trust in a community dental service, earnings range from £38,000 to £80,000.

Dental consultants working in hospitals earn between £75,000 to £175,000, with additional performance awards.

Dentist Jobs Sites

There are many specialist Dental recruitment agencies offering jobs in the UK and abroad:

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