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:

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