The pathway of becoming a dentist in the UK is pretty well defined. The entire process encapsulates diverse modules that have to be dealt with proper attention. To make your work easy we have accumulated here complete details that are required to become a dentist in the UK including the registration process, necessary exams etc. So keep reading!
Steps to becoming a Dentist in the UK
There are four main steps to becoming a dentist in the UK.
- A level or equivalent
- Undergraduate degree
- Registering with the General Dental Council(GDC)
- Dental foundation training
What are the essential qualifications?
You require a General Dental Council (GDC)-approved dentistry degree which usually takes 5 years. You will require high grades at A-level/Highers, with chemistry and biology being the necessary subjects. Once you have successfully completed your graduation, you will be required to register with GDC in order to practise as a qualified dentist.
How to register with GDC?
Registration with GDC is based on certain criteria. If you are included in one of the following applicant types, you can apply to join the register online.
- a UK qualified DCP or Dentist
- an EU, EEA, or Swiss qualified dentist
- an Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) applicant
- a first-time temporary registrant applicant
The online application process can be accessed through eGDC.
How should I find out my application type?
If you are unclear on which registration type to apply for, you can go for answering the route to registration questionnaire, which will direct you to the correct application process.
It may also happen that your application type is not available for the online process. In such a case you will be redirected to the appropriate GDC webpage for further information which may include a printable application form.
What will happen after completing the online application process?
After you complete the online application process you will be issued with a personalised application form to submit along with your supporting documents.
Am I eligible for registration?
Only the following people are eligible to avail for full registration without the assessment of qualifications.
- Those with a recognised UK dental qualification.
- Those who have successfully cleared the ORE or LDS.
- Those with a recognised overseas qualification which has been achieved before 01/01/2001 from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia with the exception of BChD MEDUNSA, BDS awarded between 01/01/97 to 31/12/2000 and BChD Western Cape awarded before 31/12/97.
- Exempt persons with a scheduled dental qualification from the EEA.
If you are not sure of your eligibility you can complete the route to registration questionnaire to get a better understanding by finding out further details.
What if I do not meet the criteria for full registration?
If you do not meet the criteria above for full registration then you may be eligible for an individual assessment for testing your knowledge, skill and dental training.
Note: This route is only available to exempt persons who have qualified overseas. Additionally, it is not a guaranteed route to registration.
If you do not meet the criteria for full registration following doors are open for you.
Overseas Registration exam (ORE)
The overseas registration exam (ORE) is a two-part exam which tests the clinical skills and knowledge of dentists who are not eligible for full registration or assessment. After passing the ORE, you can apply for full registration.
If the applicants are not eligible for full registration and have had the offer of a supervised post for training, teaching or research purposes, for a limited time, they can practise dentistry via Temporary Registration.
If at any point of time you have any confusion regarding the route, you can complete the route to registration questionnaire to find out more.
What is ORE?
Overseas qualified dentists have to pass the ORE exam to register with the GDC. The ORE test the clinical skills and knowledge of dentists from outside the European Economic Area whose qualifications are not eligible for full registration with the GDC in the UK.
The exam is based on the ‘Preparing for Practice’ (PfP) and consists of two parts.
- Part 1- Written Exam
- Part 2- Clinical Exam
The ORE part 1 exam consists of two computer-based exam papers.
- Paper A covers clinically applied dental science and human disease.
- Paper B covers aspects of clinical dentistry. It includes law, ethics, health and safety.
Both the papers consist of MCQs and the duration of each is three hours. The Part 1 exam is held at King's College London and the examination fee is £806. The exam fee is normally non-refundable. Within approx. 20 days of the examination your result will be sent to you via Email.
Part 2 of the ORE exam will require you to demonstrate practical clinical skills.
The ORE Part 2 further consists of four components.
1. An operative test on a dental manikin (DM)
This primarily involves the preparation and restoration of teeth, but may also include other procedures that will assess your operative skills. Candidates are asked to perform three procedures over a period of three hours.
2. An objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
This is where candidates visit a series of stations which test their clinical skills. The series of stations may cover aspects of the following: paediatric dentistry, clinical dentistry, restorative dentistry, orthodontics, comprehensive oral care, preventive dentistry, dental public health, oral pathology and oral microbiology, oral surgery, oral medicine, dental radiology and imaging.
3. A diagnostic and treatment planning exercise (DTP)
This involves an actor who will provide an appropriate history with relevant additional information such as photographs, radiographs, study models or results of other special tests.
4. A practical examination in medical emergencies (ME)
This assessment consists of two parts:
- a scenario-based oral exam
- demonstration of single-handed basic life support. This will include cardiopulmonary resuscitation using a resuscitation manikin.
You will be able to appear for ORE Part 2 four times. The result will be sent to you via Email within Approx. 20 days from the date of the exam. After passing Part 2 you will be eligible to apply for registration with GDC.
English Language Proficiency
Dentists will also need to exhibit the necessary knowledge of English language in order to be able to treat the patients in the UK. Applicants that are applying from outside the EEA will have to provide certain pieces of evidence to assert that they possess the necessary knowledge of English. The process varies according to the circumstances. If GDC is satisfied with the applicant's knowledge reflected from the initial application, further evidence may not be required. If the evidence doesn’t meet the requirements then the applicant will be required to take an English language proficiency test.
Types of evidence GDC is likely to accept
Examples of the types of evidence GDC will accept are:
- A recent primary dental qualification that has been taught and examined entirely in English.
- A recent pass in a language test for registration with a regulatory authority in a country where the first language is English.
- Recent and continuous experience of practising in a country where the first language is English.
- A pass (level 7) in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam that meets the requirements set out in the GDC’s guidance.
What salary can I expect?
As a newly qualified dentist, if you want to work in the NHS you will have to complete one year of foundation training. You will earn a salary of £31,355 during this span of time. Most dentists combine NHS with private work. This way, you can earn £50,000 to £110,000. Wholly private dentists can earn £140,000+. If you work as a dentist employed by the NHS, mainly in community dental services, you will earn a salary of £38,861 to £83,118. In NHS trust hospitals, you can earn £76,761 to £103,490 depending on the number of years of experience.
After the completion of your Foundation training, you can progress to the role of associate Dentist.
The four main specialisms in the hospital dental service are:
oral and maxillofacial surgery
- paediatric dentistry
- restorative dentistry.
The hospital dentistry will demand you to obtain postgraduate qualifications in order to progress to senior posts. You could progress to a senior dental officer role. With relevant postgraduate qualifications, you can also progress to the post of a senior lecturer or professor.
Jobs and Vacancies
As a dentist, you can be employed in a number of ways.
- In a dental practice
- In an NHS hospital trust
- In a community dental service
- In the armed forces
How can Britasia doctors help you?
The process of becoming a dentist in the UK is a bit complicated and the very first step that you should take to ensure that the process is hassle-free is choosing a partner that can guide you through each step. The team of Britasia doctors is beside you from the point you decide to become a dentist in the UK till you achieve your dream. With our experience and prowess, we will make all the stages including the registration process, exam and interview preparation, visa application and your arrival in the country phenomenally easy for you. With us, you can accelerate the pace of getting your dream job. Our robust support will guide you to take all the measures correctly so that you can complete the process smoothly. For more information please visit our service section.