Dental Talent – Possible Careers for Dentists in the UK Dental Health Industry

Recently, more people have become interested in cosmetic dentistry and its services, like tooth whitening, polishing, or computerised smile analyses. Since dental healthcare is continuously evolving, prospective dentists must be aware of the latest dental techniques, and technology, and even roles.

General or Personal Dental Care

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Most dental students will go on to become general dental practitioners (GDP’s). They offer general dentistry either to the public through the NHS or working private associate dentist jobs. Due to their broader range of services, GDP’s have a higher earning potential and a more significant customer base. While NHS prices are already determined, dentists can charge accordingly for private services, which may vary throughout the country.

Community Dental Care

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Community dental care includes various methods of delivery for dental services, like home visits, temporary dental stations in nursing homes, or mobile clinics. Patients with special needs who cannot be treated in their local practice usually avail of this, as provided by the NHS.

If a patient requires a more specialised service, they will need a referral from their regular dentist. It is why community dental professionals regularly travel around different locations, whether full-time or part-time. They could spend one day in a mobile clinic, providing treatments to locals, then spend the next day in a school as visiting health professionals. Most community dentists will work as part of a larger team that offer different kinds of free services.

Hospital Dental Care

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Hospital dental care professionals are usually specialists in their field. They hold postgraduate qualifications and will have taken a career related to their studies. There are five sub-specialities in the hospital dentistry service: oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral surgery, orthodontics, paediatric dentistry, and restorative dentistry. These professionals provide emergency dental care for patients with more urgent needs.

Generally, hospitals do not provide dental treatment, but patients can opt for urgent dental surgery as supplied in a broader treatment plan. Both general medical doctors and dentists can refer patients, especially those with related diseases and trauma or those needing urgent restorative surgery, to hospital dental specialists.

However, an exception to this rule for this type of dentist is in dental hospitals. They require large numbers of patients for educational purposes, so they offer reduced fees and a wide variety of services to entice patients.

Dental Public Health

The main concern of Dental Public Health is the improvement of quality of dental care for the general population and the spreading of awareness of dental issues. Though academic roles are limited within this growing department of dentistry, some academic advisory posts are available within the NHS and Department of Health.

Other Roles within the Field of Dentistry

Every qualified dentist can deliver some cosmetic dental services. However, for those who want to specialise in certain types of cosmetic dentistry, separate dental qualifications are available.

Dental Care Practitioners

Dental Care Practitioners, like dental nurses, are clinical healthcare professionals who do not have full qualifications to be dentists. They are often required to work on different types of roles to ensure the smooth running of the practice.

They provide many services to assist in quality care, like sterilising equipment, mixing treatments, disinfecting the work area, and even completing administration tasks. Though they typically require less training than a dentist, they still have many training opportunities that allow them to take on more duties and to increase their salary.

Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists deal with preventative care against tooth decay and other oral problems. They offer treatments like polishing, scaling, and applying topical fluoride.

Dental Therapists

Though dental therapists are similar to dental hygienists, the former are qualified to undertake more procedures. They perform dentists’ requests, which could be anything from polishing and scaling to an extraction requiring anaesthesia.

Dental Technicians

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Dental technicians can have highly specialised roles dependent on their place of work. They must create crowns, dentures, and braces to improve the appearance of teeth. For example, hospital dental technicians may work with cosmetic surgeons for face reconstruction due to trauma or disease.


There has been a growing demand in recruitment for dentists and related professions in recent years. However, those pursuing a career in dentistry become unsure as to what route they should follow due to their needs. Therefore, it’s essential to know the various options one can take.

Explore your options for dental jobs through Dental Talent. We are a specialised job board for dentistry, offering dental practitioners in the UK a place to seek, post, and respond to job openings in the field. Sign up today or contact us for more details.