As a dentist you can work in a variety of different areas.
General dental practice
dentists choose to work as General Dental Practitioners (GDPs). In
order to do this a dentist must undertake Vocational Training or
Foundation Training (VT / FT). After, the dentist enters an established
practice as an associate (a self-employed dentist but working in a
practice owned by someone else), later, she/he may become a practice
owner (principal), either by becoming a partner, buying a practice or
establishing a new practice.
practice is highly specialised and dentists tend to see fewer patients
than GDPs, but their treatment is usually more complex as they have
generally been referred. Hospital dentists receive a salary and often
work as part of a team. The hours are not as flexible and time can be
spent 'on call' resulting in long working sessions. Within the hospital
service there is a defined career structure and training pathway, and
advancement requires obtaining recognised postgraduate qualifications.
Community Dental Service (CDS) provides dental care for patients with
special needs. Work in the CDS is demanding, but very rewarding and
dentists can undertake managerial and research duties. These posts are
salaried and there is a defined career structure.
is undertaken at universities, and is usually combined with teaching at
the university dental school. This can provide the opportunity to
pursue a particular interest in greater detail. University dental
teachers will have gained postgraduate qualifications and can progress
to become senior lecturers or professors.
armed forces provide a comprehensive dental service for servicemen and
women, both abroad and in the UK. Dentists hold a commissioned rank and
there is a very structured career path. If you choose to practise in the
armed forces, financial scholarships may be available during your
dental studies. Also, the salary structure on the Vocational Training
(VT) period is different from that of its counterparts.
large companies offer a dental service to their employees. These posts
are salaried but the role is equivalent to that of a general dental
Alternatively dentists may
work for a corporate body, some of which actively recruit dentists from
overseas. We have an advice sheet on working for corporate bodies,
available for members to download.