How to Become a Dentist

Become a Dentist

In our review of different careers we take a look at how to become a dentist and the role of a dentist in their day to day working life.

What Does a Dentist Do?

A dentist's primary role is to diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth.  A dentist will usually work for themselves completing a mixture of private work and NHS work.  There is also the possibility to work in a hospital setting for the NHS, rather than a surgery.

As a dentist, your day to day activities will involve meeting your patients and making them feel relaxed, taking x-rays and giving local anaesthetic, examining teeth and diagnosing issues, explaining treatment options to patients, performing treatments such as fillings and cleaning teeth, offering advice on dental care and hygiene and managing patient records.

This job will usually require you to work office hours, but you will likely be required to work evenings and weekends at times to conduct out of hours surgeries.

Is Becoming a Dentist Right For Me?

The following skills are required if you wish to be a dentist:

  • A steady hand.
  • The ability to carry out delicate work.
  • The ability to calm and reassure patients.
  • Good leadership skills to manage a surgery.
  • Good communication skills to explain complex procedures and treatments in a simple manner.
  • Confidence in your own skills and ability.

How Much Can a Dentist Earn?

The NHS pays dentists anywhere between £38,000 and £81,000 after a year-long initial training period that is paid at £30,000.  As a consultant dentist in a hospital, you can earn up to £101,000.

A self-employed dentist can earn anywhere between £50,000 and £110,000 a year.

What Qualifications Do I Need To Become a Dentist?

To become a dentist you need to complete a degree in dentistry that has been approved by the General Dental Council. This takes five years to complete and you must then register with the General Dental Council to be able to practice dentistry.