Dentists diagnose and treat problems affecting the mouth and teeth.
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What does a dentist do?

Dentists educate people on how to care for their mouth and teeth, and provide treatment for any problems that occur. Services provided might include:

  • dental treatments, such as teeth whitening, fillings, extractions, and fitting dentures and bridges
  • taking x-rays and giving local anaesthetic
  • referring patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist for certain treatments

What do I need to do to become a dentist?

You’ll need to have good hand-eye coordination. You'll also need excellent communication skills to explain treatments to patients. 

You'll need to complete a General Dental Council (GDC)-approved dentistry degree, which usually takes five years. You'll then need to do one year of postgraduate training, sometimes more, depending on what kind of dentistry you want to specialise in.​​​​​​​​ 

Related skills

  • Business management
  • Communication
  • Leadership

Academic route

  • Five GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and science subjects
  • Three A levels, usually at grades ranging from AAA to ABB, including chemistry and biology

Related subjects

  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Essential qualifications

  • A General Dental Council (GDC)-approved dentistry degree

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Most opportunities are in general practice as a self-employed dentist. With experience, you could go on to become a partner in the practice or set up your own practice. In your own practice, you'll have the flexibility to develop your knowledge in areas that are of particular interest to you.

You could also work at a hospital, where you'll complete further training in specialist areas, or as a dentist in the armed forces, where you'll provide dental care for service men and women and their families at locations in the UK and overseas.

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