Dentist qualifications in the UK

The Dentists Register is maintained by the General Dental Council (GDC), and includes names of dentists who are registered to practise in the UK.  After graduating all dentists must be registered with the GDC  whether they work in the NHS, private practice or any other form of practice and as the GDC also regulates other dental care professionals dental hygienists, dental therapists, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists must also be registered in order to practice in the UK.  Registration with the GDC will also soon be compulsory for dental nurses and dental technicians (July 2008). 

According to the GDC all registered dentists are legally entitled to practise any clinical aspect of dentistry, such as cosmetic surgery, provided they undertake only procedures within their competence and do not use the title of 'specialist' unless entitled to do so.  

Specialist Lists

The General Dental Council works with postgraduate dental deans, the Royal College of Surgeons of England and universities to award a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) which allows a dentist to be added to aSpecialist List.  The Specialist List is for dentists who work in a particular branch of dentistry, for example, oral surgery or orthodontics, and only dental professionals who have met the criteria to earn the title ‘specialist’ in a particular dentistry area are listed. 

The 13 Specialist Lists include:

  • Oral Surgery;
  • Surgical Dentistry;
  • Orthodontics;
  • Paediatric Dentistry;
  • Endodontics;
  • Periodontics;
  • Prosthodontics;
  • Restorative Dentistry;
  • Dental Public Health;
  • Oral Medicine;
  • Oral Microbiology;
  • Oral Pathology;
  • Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology


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