Dentist: job description
As a dentist, you will typically be examining the dental and oral hygiene of patients, and either offering advice, or carrying out surgeries. Other tasks may include:
- operating technical equipment such as X-ray machines
- keeping accurate records of patients’ dental structure (which may need to be used to identify individuals)
- keeping up-to-date with developments in dentistry
- working with a medical nurse and a medical receptionist
- continuing training and specialising
You may be required to work some overtime and weekend slots, but hours tend to be a lot more regular than those of medical doctors.
Dentists are typically employed by the NHS or by a private practice. Dentists working for the NHS earn a basic salary of between £38,500 and £82,000. NHS dental consultants earn a basic salary between £76,000 and £102,500 per year. Salaries for an associate dentist in a private practice can be anything between £30,000 and £200,000 depending on location.
In order to work as a dentist you will need to have a degree in dentistry approved by the General Dental Council. This is typically a five year course with high entry requirements, usually including one or two sciences. There are a few accelerated four-year courses for graduates who already have a 2.1 in subjects like chemistry or biology. Before you start work you will also be required to take a clinical aptitude test (UKCAT).
- A thorough and methodical approach
- Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
- Good ethical grounding
- Teamwork skills