A Look at Becoming a Dentist

Dentist treating a patient

When you’re a dentist, you will likely have to lead a team that is made up of therapists, technicians, dental hygienists, dental nurses, etc. This team will help you to treat a variety of patients of all ages.

In dentistry, the most popular role is known as a GDP or general dental practitioner. Here, you will be a self-employed contractor who offers dental care to the public. If you’re from Fleet, as a Fleet orthodontist you can also choose to work in hospitals on a part-time basis. You can offer your services privately, through NHS, or even go both routes.

Dentistry Types

There are many types of dentistry that you can specialize in and they are as follows:

Dental Public Health:

You will be doing work that is non-clinical. This includes determining the dental health requirements of wide populations as opposed to specific individuals.

Community Dental Care:

You will be working in community clinics, nursing homes as well as the homes of patients. You will help patients who have particular requirements that don’t allow them to go to high street practices.

Armed Forces:

You will provide dental health care to a variety of armed forces personnel. This includes those stationed abroad as well as in the UK where you will be a military dental officer.

Hospital Dental Care:

This includes handling cases that are particularly challenging and you will need to give treatment to patients that are staying in the hospital for a long duration. You will also be conducting emergency treatment for patients who are only staying a short time as well as teaching the general public.


Once you’re a dentist, you will have to do the following:

  • Teach patients about taking care of their oral health
  • Thoroughly examine teeth and diagnose conditions using dental tools
  • Consider a variety of treatment options and agree on a particular plan with your patients
  • Conduct clinical treatments such as treating gum disease, tooth restoration, etc.
  • Ensure all of your patient’s records are well maintained
  • Hire, train as well as manage employees
  • Look over and manage budgets as well as maintain equipment and dental stocks
  • Market your dental services to attract new clients

Do note that some dental practices actually hire managers so that the dentists can focus solely on dental work.


Once you’re a new dentist that has just completed your studies and wishes to work within the NHS, you will have to do a year of foundation training. This year, you will earn £33,720.

The majority of dentists work as self-employed contractors and they also work with NHS as well. The actual profits of having a dental practice have a lot of variances, but you can expect to make approximately £50,000 to £110,000. Dentists who only do private practice usually make £140,000 and up.

If you decide to do dental core training as opposed to working within general practice, your salary will be between £39,467 and £50,017. You will also earn more money when you do on-call work, on weekends, and on nights.

On the other hand, if you choose to be employed by the NHS as a salaried dentist doing community dental care, then you will make between £43,019 and £92,013.
Consultants within specific dental specialties in NHS trust hospitals usually make between £84,559 and £114,003 according to how many years they have been working as a consultant.

There are also many other salaried posts within corporate practices as well as within the armed forces.

These figures are meant to only be a guide and they come from Health Careers.

Working Hours

If you choose to be a GDP, then you’ll be working for yourself and this means that you can choose your own working hours. You are free to work in the evenings or even on weekends according to your patients and your own schedule. You can even do part-time work or take breaks during your career if you so desire.

Working in hospitals is usually short term and they typically have irregular hours. This also includes on-call. If you want to do freelance work and be self-employed while working in the hospital, then you will need to become a consultant.

What You Should Expect

There are many dental jobs available in the country in rural and urban areas.
Once you’re treating patients you will need to wear safety glasses, surgical gloves, a tunic, etc. This is necessary for protection and to lower the chances of cross-infection.

In this career, it is common to deal with back fatigue as well as neck and eye strain. It is also quite stressful when you need to deal with patients and their own schedules, pain, and anxiety. With that said, this is an extremely rewarding career to help your patients and improve their health and well-being.