Dental Therapist

Job Description:

Dental therapists carry out routine treatments prescribed by a dentist.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As a dental therapist, you could:

  • remove plaque and other coatings on teeth
  • polish and whiten teeth
  • apply sealants and fluorides to help prevent tooth decay
  • put in and replace fillings and crowns
  • take X-rays, give local anaesthetic and take out teeth


You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Dental Therapist, you should aim for a strong educational background in science and related subjects. While specific subjects are not mandatory, having a foundation in relevant subjects can be advantageous. Dental therapy involves providing a range of dental treatments and preventive care to patients, so it’s important to have a good understanding of science and healthcare principles. Here are some considerations:

  1. Biology: courses in biology are highly valuable. This subject is fundamental to understanding human anatomy, oral biology, and dental diseases.
  2. Chemistry: A basic understanding of chemistry can be beneficial, particularly for understanding dental materials, infection control, and dental procedures.
  3. Mathematics (Maths): Basic math skills are necessary for tasks such as calculating medication dosages, managing patient records, and understanding radiographic measurements.
  4. English Language: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for interacting with patients, documenting patient records, and providing oral health education.
  5. Health and Social Care: If available, courses related to health and social care can provide insights into healthcare systems, patient care, and healthcare ethics, which are relevant to dental therapy.

Post School

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.


You’ll need a degree or diploma in dental therapy.

If you’re a qualified dental hygienist or dental nurse, you might be able to do a part time course with a dental school to become a dental therapist.

You’ll need to get work experience in healthcare shadowing a dental therapist or a dental hygienist.


You could start by doing the Dental Nurse Apprenticeship.

With experience, you could then do a degree or diploma whilst working to become a dental therapist.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 39-41 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm.

You could work at a dental practice, in a public or private hospital or at a school. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • progress to dental practice manager
  • become self employed and set up your own practice
  • move into research or teaching
  • do further training or go into orthodontic therapy