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Dentistry Career Options

Graduation marks the end of your undergraduate dental education. Once you graduate you’ll be registered with the General Dental Council, our regulatory body. Your GDC registration certificate allows you to practice dentistry in the UK and needs to be renewed annually.
photograph of graduating students in graduation robes throwing their graduation scrolls in the air
© University of Glasgow

Career Options in Dentistry

Graduation marks the end of your undergraduate dental education. Once you graduate you’ll be registered with the General Dental Council, our regulatory body. Your GDC registration certificate allows you to practice dentistry in the UK and needs to be renewed annually.
As a qualified dentist, you will have a wide variety of career options to pursue. These are just some of those available.

Vocational Training

In the first year after graduation everyone who chooses to work in the UK has to do a year of Vocational Training. During this year you work in General Dental Practice semi-independently with the support of your Vocational Trainer. You’ll continue learning on regular VT group study days.
After VT you have many different career choices.

General Dental Practice

Many people choose to remain in General Dental Practice after VT and may later on decide to own and run a dental practice as a business in either the NHS or private sectors.

Dental Core Training

Others return to training posts within the Hospital Dental Service or the Public Dental Service. Dental Core Training (DCT) provides an introduction to some of the clinical dental specialties in the hospital setting and the Public Dental Service. Six or twelve months posts in DCT allow you to decide whether you want to go on and work or specialise in one of these areas.

Specialist Dental Training

After Dental Core Training some dentists return to general dental practice or the Public Dental Service, some become Specialty Trainees in one branch of dentistry and go on to become Consultants.

Specialist Dentist Posts

Others take up Specialist Dentist posts. Specialist Dentist posts are not training posts but involve working in one area of dentistry and gaining experience and skills on the job.
There are other options too.

Academic Dentistry

Working in Academic Dentistry allows you the chance to combine your clinical career with research or teaching. These posts are usually within a university setting and can also involve Specialist Training to Consultant level. You’ll be able to teach undergraduate students, post-graduate students and carry out research in an area of interest, often leading to a PhD or MSc qualification.

Dentistry in the Armed Forces

You can also join the Armed Forces either as a student or on graduation. You can join as an armed forces staff member or as a reserve. You’ll usually enter the armed forced as an officer and many of these posts offer opportunities to travel within the service.

Working Overseas

Travel is something that many young dentists want to do and normally there are opportunities to work overseas in countries like New Zealand and Australia for a couple of years. During COVID-19 these opportunities have not been available but hopefully they will be again in the future.
Career Options After Graduation Image 1Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand. (Source: Pixabay)

Voluntary Dentistry

If you don’t want to leave the UK for a long period you can still work overseas for a few weeks with one of the charities that works to provide dental care in areas where access to healthcare is poor. One such charity is Smilawi who work in Malawi to provide dental care and dental education for remote and rural populations in the country.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a medical speciality that requires you to have both a medical and dental degree and you can do these in any order. Some graduates go on to pursue this option and although it is a long career path it allows you to treat patients with facial trauma, facial deformity and head and neck cancer, so is very rewarding. You can find out more about this career path on the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website.
© University of Glasgow
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Becoming a Dentist

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