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Dental care is an important element of healthcare for everyone. The workforce within the dental care work across a variety of settings – such as hospitals, high-street practices, universities, within the community and even the armed forces – so it can be a varied sector in which to work.

Each member of the team, whether based in a practice or a hospital – is integral, playing a vital role in promoting and maintaining the oral health of their patients.

From training to be a Dentist – and perhaps running a high-street practice – working as a Dental Nurse to support the team with delivering advice and treatment to patients, a Dental Hygienist role to help prevent dental disease – or training into a Dental Technician role, making patients’ retainers, dentures, crowns and bridges… there is a wealth of options if you’re interested in the sector.

Discover more about your role of interest – including entry requirements you’ll need to get started – below. Alternatively find out how to make an application to study dentistry at a UK university –

Dental Nurse & Hygienist

Both of these positions are integral to the dental team, but slightly differ in role specifics (though some responsibilities may occasionally overlap).

A Dental Nurse provides all-round support for the Dentist and other members of the team to help treat patients of all ages. This could include some reception work and welcoming of patients as well as directly supporting treatments with tasks such as maintaining equipment and supplies, patient records, maintaining cleanliness, and more.

Typical entry requirements:

  • You may be able to work in a trainee position without specific academic qualifications, but you will need to complete a General Dental Council/GDC-approved course in dental nursing to hold a qualified position
  • For part-time courses you will require a minimum of 2 GCSEs (above C/4 grade, in English language, maths or science); for full-time courses you may require A-Levels or equivalent
  • A dental nursing apprenticeship is another way to progress in this role

Dental Hygienists work to prevent dental problems in patients, helping people of all ages to better look after their teeth and gums and in doing so, helping to prevent gum disease, bad breath and other conditions. They may also carry out procedures including cleaning, polishing or scaling teeth, or applying sealant to cracks in teeth. The role may be based with a community practice, private practice or within a hospital setting.

Typical entry requirements:

  • For dental hygiene courses, you’ll require 2 or 3 A-Levels (or a recognised dental nursing qualification) / 5 GCSEs (A-C/4-9)

Dental Technician

Often referred to as Dental Technologist, Dental Technicians use a range of materials (such as gold, porcelain or plastics) to design and create dental items such as braces, dentures, crowns and bridges based on patients’ needs. These pieces of equipment help patients to improve their chewing and speaking abilities as well as often improving the appearance of teeth.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Completion of a General Dental Council (GDC) recognised course
  • For a BTEC National Diploma in dental technology, you’ll require 4 or more GCSES (A-C/4-9); BSc degrees will also require A-Level, or equivalent, qualifications
  • Foundation degrees often require you to be employed in a trainee role
  • Registration with the GDC, post-qualification
  • Strong understanding of dental and facial anatomy is very beneficial


Many Dentists work as General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) to provide dental care to the general public, often within a high street practice. Usually working as the lead of the dental team, Dentists work with patients to treat, and prevent, oral or dental disease, treat injuries and correct irregularities in our teeth and gums. Dentists may also work within a hospital setting to consult and treat out-patients, or those who have been referred due to disease or trauma; specialist Dentists may also cover some degree of oral surgery, orthodontics or restorative dentistry.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Usually at least 5 years of study at dental school
  • One to two years of supervised practice
  • For undergraduate courses, 3 A-Levels, grade A or above; pre-dental courses (typically one year) are also offered by some dental schools