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Medical

Dental therapist

Dental therapists carry out routine treatments prescribed by a dentist.

Annual Salary

£25,654 to £39,026

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

5.8%
Future employment

There will be 5.8% more Dental therapist jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you might:

  • remove plaque and other tooth coatings
  • apply antibacterial and de-sensitising agents
  • polish and whiten teeth
  • apply sealants and fluorides to teeth to help prevent decay
  • take x-rays
  • replace temporary fillings and crowns
  • carry out simple fillings
  • extract teeth
  • give certain types of local anaesthetic

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work at a dental practice, in an NHS or private hospital or at a school.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
University

You'll need a degree or diploma in dental therapy approved by the General Dental Council.

You'll also need relevant work experience shadowing a dental therapist or hygienist.

You may be able to get additional student finance support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

Some dental schools offer part-time courses for qualified dental hygienists and dental nurses wishing to become dental therapists.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could work towards this role by starting with an advanced apprenticeship as a dental nurse.

After a few years' experience you could study a degree or diploma whilst working.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a dental therapist from Health Careers.

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With experience, you could progress to dental practice manager. Some dental therapists become self-employed or set up their own practice and employ dentists to work with them.

You could also move into a research post or teaching, take further training or go into orthodontic therapy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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