Career outlook for dentist
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
Dentists help people keep their teeth and gums healthy and strong. You’d check patients' mouths and treat any problems and explain how they can care for their teeth and gums.
You’d carry out delicate procedures using medical instruments. Patients might be anxious or upset about their treatment, being able to reassure and relax them is important.
Many dentists work as general dental practitioners (GDPs) in the community, looking after private and NHS patients. As a GDP you’d be self-employed and run your own practice. You’d mange the business and lead your team to provide a good dental service to your patients.
You'd carry out dental treatments such as:
- filling teeth
- extracting teeth
- fitting dentures and bridge
- whitening teeth
As part of treatments you’d also take X-rays and give local anaesthetics.
You’d refer patients to a dental hygienist or dental therapist for certain treatments. You’d also need to keep dental records for each patient.
Some dentists practices offer facial aesthetics work, also known as anti-wrinkle treatments. These are non surgical cosmetic treatments, for example Botox injections or lip fillers. You could assess and refer patients for these treatments, or carry them out yourself. You'd need to do further, accredited training to carry out these treatments.
There are other places you could work, such as:
- for a community dental service, treating people with special needs, young children and the elderly
- in a hospital doing specialised dental work such as restorative dentistry, orthodontics and oral surgery
- in corporate practice providing general dental services for the employees of a large business
- for the armed forces treating services personnel, including in combat zones
In all these areas, you'd use a range of dental and surgical techniques and instruments. In a hospital you would carry out some procedures in an operating theatre.
You could also work in dental public health. This is a relatively new and expanding field. You'd assess the dental health needs of the regional population rather than treat individuals. You'd then make sure that dental services meet those needs. You'd work with other dentists, NHS professionals, government departments and related agencies.
UK employment status
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- Verbal communication
- Problem solving
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- Developing a plan
- Taking initiative
- Time management
- Taking responsibility
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