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Dental therapists carry out routine treatments prescribed by a dentist.
1. Entry requirements
- a General Dental Council (GDC) approved degree or diploma in dental therapy
- registration with the GDC
Health Careers has more information about becoming a dental therapist.
2. Skills required
- a steady hand and good practical skills
- the ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- the ability to put anxious patients at ease
- the ability to work independently without supervision
3. What you'll do
You’ll work in general dental practice, hospitals, the Community Dental Service (CDS) or cosmetic dentistry.
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- removing plaque and other tooth coatings
- applying antibacterial and de-sensitising agents
- polishing teeth and tooth whitening
- applying sealants and fluorides to teeth to help prevent decay
- taking x-rays
- replacing temporary fillings and crowns
- carrying out simple fillings
- extracting deciduous (milk) teeth
- giving certain types of local anaesthetic
Your work may also involve health promotion and education to children and adults. This could include teaching and motivating people to maintain good oral hygiene and dental care.
Starter: £22,000 to £28,500
Experienced: £26,250 and £35,250
Highly Experienced: £41,500
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week, from 9am to 5pm. If you’re working in the CDS or carrying out health promotion work, you may need to travel between schools, community centres and clinics.
You’ll work mainly in dental surgeries, clinics and hospitals.
When carrying out treatments, you’ll usually wear a coat or tunic, surgical gloves, eye protection and a mask to reduce the risk of infection.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience, you could progress to dental practice manager. Some dental therapists 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.
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Last updated: 10 September 2018