Job description of a Dentist

Dentists are healthcare professionals who provide preventive and restorative treatments for problems affecting the mouth and teeth.

Most dentists work as self-employed practitioners in general practice, providing dental care to the public under the National Health Service (NHS) and/or privately. Others work in salaried posts within a variety of specialisms in hospital dentistry, community dentistry, the armed forces, corporate practices, industry, or university teaching and research.

A general dental practitioner (GDP) typically leads a team made up of dental care professionals (DCPs) and treats a wide range of patients, from children to the elderly.
Typical work activities

Most dentists work in dental practices where the team may include a dental nurse, hygienist, therapist and technician, plus a receptionist.

A dentist is typically responsible for:
educating patients on oral healthcare;
examining teeth and diagnosing patients' dental conditions by using tools such as x-rays;
assessing treatment options and agreeing treatment plans with patients;
carrying out agreed clinical treatments such as restoring teeth affected by decay and treating gum disease;
maintaining patients' dental records;
recruiting, training and managing staff;
managing budgets and maintaining stocks of equipment;
keeping abreast of new developments through structured continuing professional development (CPD);
marketing services to potential clients.

Some practices also employ practice managers so that dentists can concentrate on clinical work.

Hospital dentists usually treat patients who have been referred by a GDP and provide more specialised and complex dental care. Additional postgraduate qualifications are required for career progression.

Dental officers working in the Community Dental Service (CDS) (known in England as the Salaried Primary Dental Care Service (SPDCS)) are employed by the NHS and provide dental care to adults and children with special needs and disabilities, as well as providing school visits.

Dentists in the armed forces hold a commissioned rank and provide a comprehensive range of dental services for armed forces personnel in the UK and abroad.