What does a Dentist do?
Dentists work in hospitals and in high street practices, with some operating in the community for those who are unable to access traditional dental care. Dentists discuss their patients’ dental care needs, examine their teeth and diagnose decay, infections and other diseases of the teeth, gums and mouth. They can prescribe medication and refer patients for investigations, surgery or other corrective or cosmetic work as required.
Dentists carry out a range of procedures, including taking X-rays, performing root canals and extractions, repairing damaged teeth and fitting crowns and plates. They work with other dental care professionals, such as Hygienists, Orthodontists and Dental Surgeons to provide a full range of dental care to their patients.
Dentist skills and qualifications
Dentists need to be dexterous and able to perform a variety of procedures while being patient focussed and running a practice. A successful Dentist candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Being detail-oriented and thorough
- Methodical nature
- Leadership skills
- BDS, BChD or LDS
- Current General Dental Council (GDC ) registration to practice dentistry
Dentist experience requirements
Dentists can gain experience of working with patients during their training, but having experience of other roles, especially those that are customer-facing and roles that work with the public can prove to be an advantage. Experience of working in a Dental surgery shows that a candidate understands the basics of how Dentists operate. Senior Dentists usually need several years’ experience if they lead a team, Junior Dentists on the other hand may be offered additional training or mentoring in their role.
Many Dental students will volunteer in an office, care home, hospital or other dental care setting. They will work alongside experienced Dentists to get experience of the different disciplines involved in dentistry. Candidates with a wide range of experience can offer patients a more holistic service, so an understanding of the different branches of dentistry is a plus.
Dentist education and training requirements
Dentists need to complete a Degree in Dentistry for typically over five years in a course approved by the GDC. They then complete post-graduate dental training, which takes an additional one to two years. To secure a place on a dentistry course, aspiring Dentists may have to take an aptitude test, such as the University Clinical Aptitude Test or the BioMedical Admissions Test.
Dentists must also register with the GDC in order to practice and complete Continuous Professional Development on a five-year cycle to maintain their registration.
Dentist salary expectations
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Dentist is £66,006 per year, though this depends on the level of experience required, the type of setting and the location of the job.
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