Most dentist jobs are sole practitioners, meaning that they own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff. Some dentist jobs have partners, and a few work for other dentists as associate dentists.
Dentist jobs diagnose and treat problems with teeth and tissues in the mouth, along with giving advice and administering care to help prevent future problems. They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, the use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. Dentist jobs can remove tooth decay, fill cavities, examine x rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. Dentist jobs also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.
Most dentist jobs are general practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs. Other dentist jobs practice in specialist areas including Orthodontics and oral pathology.
There are thirteen dental schools in the UK, each located in a major city. Dental courses usually last five years and lead to a bachelor's degree (either BDS or BChD). The courses include a sound academic education combined with theoretical and practical training in all aspects of dental practice. Subjects studied include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, behavioural sciences and dental materials science, as well as clinical skills in all dental disciplines. The academic requirements for entrance to dental school are high. They vary according to the school and so should be checked individually.
Some dental schools offer a "pre-dental" year for suitable candidates lacking the relevant science subjects.
Once qualified, dentists continue to update and further their knowledge, through a wide range of short courses. There is also the possibility of studying for further postgraduate qualifications, sometimes on a part-time basis.