So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Carry out various dental treatments under the direction of a dentist
- Practical work in a people-facing setting
- Opportunities to become self-employed or run your own practice
As a Dental therapist you may work in a 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, and giving certain types of local anaesthetic. You'll use a range of instruments, and sometimes have the help of a dental nurse. 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.
- 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
You'll use a range of instruments, and sometimes have the help of a dental nurse. 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.
As a dental therapist you may work in a general dental practice, hospitals, the Community Dental Service (CDS) or cosmetic dentistry.
If you're working in the CDS or carrying out health promotion work, you may need to travel between schools, community centres and clinics. 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.
This role requires someone with a steady hand and good practical skills, the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, the ability to put anxious patients at ease, and the ability to work independently without supervision.
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. Some dental schools offer part-time courses for qualified dental hygienists and dental nurses wishing to become dental therapists.
As well as a student loan, you may be able to get support through the NHS Learning Support Fund, that can help with costs for travel, childcare and hardship.
Alternatively, 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.
It may be helpful to join the British Association of Dental Therapists to get access to professional development training.
With 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.