Dentists perform a vital role in society by improving community health. There are around 21,000 dentists currently practising in the UK, but there is a shortage of NHS dentists, meaning they are in high demand.
The British Dental Association website is a good resource for graduates interested in a career in dentistry.
A dentist's office also employs people other than dentists, like administrators, dental nurses and dental hygienists.
Dentists’ salaries are high once they have a few years’ experience.
According to Pay Scale, the average wage for a dentist in the UK is £51,196 – but can vary between £29.900 and over £99,000 depending on the level of experience.
Whilst in your year of post-graduation dental training, you will earn around £31,000.
If you work at night, through the weekend or any unsocial hours you will also receive overtime pay.
You will need to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) and complete one year of dental foundation training in a dental surgery after you have graduated. This will include lectures and demonstrations in hospitals. When you’ve completed this year you’ll be able to get a job in a dental practice as an associate or an assistant.
Orthodontists and those who want to go into dental medicine will need to undergo further training in a hospital setting.
As dentistryis a vocational degree, the skills you learn will be all about teaching you how to diagnose, treat and care for patients with various illnesses and ailments.
However, you will also need to develop personal and professional skills that will be necessary for a career in this area. Excellent communication skills are vital in medical roles, as you will be dealing with nervous and potentially upset patients.
Some skills that would be useful for a graduate dentistry role include:
As a dental professional you will be constantly updating your skills and knowledge as new medical developments take place. Working in dentistry is about dedicating yourself to lifelong learning.
To help you move into a dental career more quickly, it’s essential that you get work experience. Luckily, this is likely to be covered by your dentistry degree – and as your mandatory year of training after graduation is spent in a surgery, your work experience needs are likely to be taken care of.