Dentists are healthcare professionals who provide preventive and restorative treatments for problems that affect 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.
Most dentists work in dental practices where, in addition to the dentist(s), the team may include a receptionist, dental nurse, dental hygienist, dental therapist and dental technician.
A dentist is typically responsible for:
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 primary care trusts (PCTs) 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.
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