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The majority of dentists in general practice work as self-employed associates. The relationship between associates and practice owners centres on the associate making regular (usually monthly) payments to the practice owner in return for the use of the practice premises, equipment, materials and staff.

Associates and practice owners should have a written agreement signed by both parties. Here you will find our advice on associate contracts, together with various model associates contracts that can be adapted to suit individual circumstances. But there is other information that associates may find useful, so this included too.


Update: Associate pay - we're seeking further clarification from government on a number of issues. Our most up to date advice on associate pay is set out in our webinar. Please look at section 3, Finance for practices and associates. We will update our website as soon as we have further clarification.


IR35 changes may impact the employment status of dental associates. Read our blog to find out more. Please note, our advice below will be updated accordingly once HMRC’s changes are finalised.



Quick guide to working as an associate

Associate payments during the pandemic in England

Associates working in general dental practice

NHS dentistry in England and Wales

NHS dentistry in Northern Ireland

NHS dentistry in Scotland

Associates - leaving a practice

Dentists parental leave and pay


UDA value checker - Analysed data from the NHS Business Services Authority to provide an estimated UDA value for all NHS contracts in England so that you can compare your practice or the practice where you work to the local and national averages.

Template contracts










Contract review 

Associate contract - England and Wales
Associate contract - Northern Ireland 
Associate contract - Scotland 
Associate contract - Private only within a mixed practice - Scotland 
Associate contract - private practice 
Associate ortho contract - England and Wales 


We have produced side agreements to help practice owners and associates in England and Wales adapt their pre-coronavirus commercial arrangements to the current situation.


This agreement suspends the operation of UDAs and requires both parties to adhere to guidance from NHS England and the Health Board in Wales. This includes guidance on pay and requirements for providing dental services.

The side agreements are designed to complement the BDA written associate agreements.

Locum-Associate contract - HSCNI and mixed - NI 
Locum-Associate contract - NHS and mixed - Eng and Wales 
Locum-Associate contract - NHS and mixed - Scotland 
Locum-Associate contract - ortho - Eng and Wales 
Locum-Associate contract - private practice 

An associate contract review service is available to BDA members who are associates, in relation to their own contracts. Please email your contract to:

Expert templates

Associate-performer information 

Associate-performer reference request 

Data protection privacy notice - associates 

Career opportunities

Career planning

Preparing your CV

CV and interview help

Dental specialty training

Further study – educational options, from DF2 to specialisation

Alternative paths – volunteering and working abroad

BDJ Jobs - find your next associate job, upload your CV and set up alerts


Further information and support can be found in the careers section.

Advice videos

Obtain the best associate position for you
The importance of your associate contract
Making an associateship work for you
How do you know you’re ready to buy a practice
Financing a practice purchase


Current and previous DDRB recommendations and evidence
Dental contract reform across the UK
Getting a fairer deal on pensions tax


​Information and discussions on associates and related issues.


Training essentials – courses for the whole team
Clinical seminars – an in-depth exploration of clinical topics
iLearn webcasts – a selection of sessions filmed at the British Dental Conference and Exhibition
Conferences – information about the annual British Dental Conference and Exhibition, the Scottish Dental Conference and Exhibition, and group conferences for dentists in community and hospital dentistry
Branches and sections events listing

Get involved

The BDA’s network of local Branches and Sections ensures local representation and encourages members to network at a local level.

Young Dentists Committee

Young Dentist Groups

Other resources

Financial Healthcheck tool - To help you, we’ve teamed up with our partner Lloyd & Whyte to put together a Financial Healthcheck tool, asking you a series of questions to give you an advice based report.

One-to-one advice

Extra and Expert members have access to unlimited one-to-one advice via phone or email from our experienced advisors. Contact our Practice support team on 020 7563 4574 or email:


We may record telephone conversations that are advisory in nature to offer you additional security, resolve complaints and improve our service standards. Conversations may also be monitored for staff training purposes. You will be alerted to this when you call.