Workforce, training and education
East of England

HEE East of England




Disclaimer: This information is provided in good faith by Health Education England, East of England and Health Education England, Midlands, but HEE M&E cannot accept any liability for its accuracy. You should check the information at source if you intend to take any action which relies upon its accuracy

1. How do I Register to work as a dentist in the UK?

Information for potential registrants is available from the General Dental Council (GDC). It is possible to work in this country as a dentist only if you are registered with the GDC. There are two types of registration;

  • Full registration(usually just called 'registration')
    • This allows you to practice dentistry without supervision. 
  •  Temporary registration
    • oIf you are not eligible for full registration this will allow you to practice dentistry in the UK in a supervised post for training, teaching or research purposes only, and for a limited period of time
    • You are eligible for temporary registration if you hold a dental degree certificate from a University/Institute recognised by the GDC for the purposes of temporary registration and the ORE.
2. What is Temporary Registration?

Posts approved for temporary registration by the GDC allow dentists to work in dental schools or hospitals. Apart from these approved settings temporary registration will not currently allow dentists to work in general or private practice, or in the community dental services. You can therefore apply for registration only for the following purposes;

  • Postgraduate Study/Training
    • To allow you to have postgraduate training in a post approved by one of the Royal Surgical Colleges of the UK. You can get information about postgraduate dental education from the National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education (see end of this leaflet for contact details).
  • Teaching
    • To allow you to give clinical demonstrations as part of a lecture or to accept a teaching appointment on the staff of a dental school or hospital.
  • Research
    • To allow you to carry out clinical procedures as part of research work in a dental school or hospital.

Dentists with temporary registration can practice only under the supervision of a named consultant.

Temporary registration directions are granted for a minimum of 84 days and a maximum of 365 days at a time. Temporary registration may be reviewed, by means of applying, for up to a maximum of 1826 days (5 years).

You can only apply for temporary registration after you have received an offer of employment for an approved post. Once you have an offer of employment, contact the GDC, confirming the title and institution of the post, and request an application form.

Your form will be considered complete only when all areas of the application are filled in by the appropriate people, are current (where applicable) and are accompanied by the additional supporting documentation. Please ensure that you read the Guidance Notes found on the back of the application form.

Before you can apply for temporary registration, you must find out whether your degree is eligible. You can find this out by completing and returning the Request for Registration with the General Dental Council form at the back of their information leaflet.

If your degree is eligible, you will be sent an information pack containing details of posts approved by the Council for the purpose of temporary registration together with full details of the procedure for applying for temporary registration.

3. What is Full registration?

You can apply for full registration with the GDC if:

  • You are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and you qualified as a dentist in the EEA,


  • You are a national of the EEA who qualified as a dentist outside the EEA, and your qualification has been recognised for unrestricted registration by an EEA state,


  • You are married to an EEA national (other than a British national) who is in full-time employment in the UK, and have qualified as a dentist in an EEA state,


  • You hold one of the following qualifications:
    • BChD MEDUNSA, BDS Malaya – awarded between 1 January 1997 and 31 December 2000
    • BChD Western Cape – awarded before 31 December 1997
    • Awarded before 1 January 2001: BDS Adelaide, BDSc Melbourne, BDSc Queensland, BDS Sydney, BDSc Western Australia, BChD Pretoria, BChD Stellenbosch, BDS Witwatersrand, BDS New Zealand, BDS Otago, BDS Hong Kong, BDS Singapore,


  • You qualified as a dentist overseas and have passed the Council’s International Qualifying Examination – see below.

If you wish to apply for registration, please complete the Request for Registration with the General Dental Council form, which can be obtained from the GDC.

4. What are my obligations as a registered dentist?

If you are registered with the GDC, you will be required to follow the GDC’s guidance, and to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD). At least 250 hours of CPD must be completed every 5 years.

At least 50 hours of CPD within the 5 year period must be verifiable. This means that certification as proof of completion must be provided, and there must be an evaluation form for each course attended. The GDC’s recommendation is that you should include the following subjects in your 50 hours of verifiable CPD:

  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (10 hours)
  • Infection Control (5hours)
  • Radiological (IRR and IRMER) requirements (5 hours)

Further information about the GDC’s guidance and CPD will be sent to you when you apply for registration.

5. What is the International English language Testing System (IELTS)?

The ORE is held only in English. All applicants are required to demonstrate their competence in the English language by means of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS test is administered by the British Council in 105 countries including the UK

For information on where to sit the test contact:

British Council
IELTS Enquiries
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester M1 6BB

0161 957 7755

  • N.B. In accordance with Law, Nationals of European Economic Area (EEA) States, or persons who are entitled to be treated no less favourably than EEA nationals, cannot be required to take the IELTS test unless they are going to work in an NHS general dental practice.

Candidates are required to submit an Academic IELTS Test Report Form before their application to sit the ORE will be accepted. The form must:

  • Be no more than 2 years old on receipt at the GDC
  • Show a minimum overall band score of 7.0
  • Show no score lower than 6.5 in any section.
6. What is the Overseas Registration Examination?

The ORE replaces the previous International Qualifying Examination, and tests the clinical skills and knowledge of dentists from outside the EEA whose qualifications are not recognised for full registration with the GDC. The examination is based on the UK dental curriculum and uses modern assessment methods to ensure a robust and consistent examination.

Those wishing to apply to take the ORE should send the General Dental Council (GDC)

  1. an application form (obtainable from the GDC) completed in all parts;
  2. a qualifying dental degree certificate or diploma;
  3. a Certificate or Letter of Good Standing which is no more than three months old;
    a current, valid passport;
  4. two recent, passport size photographs;
  5. a short statement of the career which has been followed since qualifying as a dentist;
  6. a single stamped and signed academic IELTS Test Report Form, which is no more than two years’ old on receipt and shows a minimum overall band score of 7.0 and shows no score lower than 6.5 in any section.
  7. NB. In accordance with Law, this requirement will not apply to EEA nationals.
  8. for those whose current surname differs from that on any of the required documentation, evidence of the legality of the name change.

Prior to sitting IQE Part C, candidates are also required to submit a Hepatitis B certificate and a Health Declaration.

Please check the GDC website for up to date information as this may have changed since the production of this website.

7. What is in the ORE?

The ORE has 2 parts which must be taken – and passed – in order. The purpose of Part 1 is to test the candidates’ application of knowledge to clinical practice. This is a written exercise. Part 2 is designed for candidates to demonstrate practical clinical skills and includes manikin, diagnostic/treatment planning and medical emergency exercises.

There is also a prior clinical experience requirement for all new applicants. The key purpose of this is to ensure patient protection as the new examination will not include a test on a patient.

The overseas dentist must have at least 1600 hours of clinical experience where they have personally treated patients. This will need to be verified, and the GDC will request signed references from university Dental Deans for the undergraduate experience and from employers for the post-qualification experience. The employers must include their registration number.

All sittings of the ORE at present will be held in London.

Part 1

A successful ORE candidate will :

Biomedical Sciences and Oral Biology

  • have knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biochemistry relevant to dentistry
  • have knowledge and understanding of biomedical sciences and of oral physiology and craniofacial, oral and dental anatomy in the management of their patients

Behavioural Sciences

  • be competent at communication with patients, other members of the dental team and other health professionals
  • be familiar with the social and physiological issues relevant to the care of patients.

Human Disease

  • have knowledge of the scientific principles of sterilisation, disinfection and antisepsis
  • have knowledge of the pharmacological properties of those drugs used in general dental practice including their unwanted effects
  • be familiar with the pathological features and dental relevance of common disorders of the major organ systems
  • be familiar with the role of therapeutics in the management of patients requiring dental treatment
  • be familiar with the general aspects of medicine and surgery
  • be familiar with the main medical disorders that may impinge on dental treatment
  • be familiar with the work of healthcare workers
  • be familiar with the place of dentistry in the provision of healthcare.

Medical Emergencies

  • be competent at carrying out resuscitation techniques and immediate management of cardiac arrest, anaphylactic reaction, upper respiratory obstruction, collapse, vasovagal attack, haemorrhage, inhalation or ingestion of foreign bodies, and diabetic coma
  • have knowledge of diagnosing medical emergencies and delivering suitable emergency drugs using, where appropriate intravenous techniques

Law, Ethics and Professionalism

  • be competent at maintaining full, accurate clinical records
  • have knowledge of responsibilities of consent, duty of care and confidentiality
  • have knowledge of patients’ rights
  • have knowledge of the regulatory functions of the General Dental Council
  • be familiar with the legal and ethical obligations of registered dental practitioners
  • be familiar with the obligation to practice in the best interest of the patient at all times
  • be familiar with the need for lifelong learning and professional development.

Health Informatics

  • be competent at using information technology
  • be familiar with the law as it applies to records.

Introduction to Clinical Dentistry

  • be competent at obtaining a detailed history of the patient’s dental state
  • be competent at obtaining a relevant medical history
  • be competent at using laboratory and imaging facilities appropriately and efficiently
  • be competent at clinical examination and treatment planning
  • be competent at arranging appropriate referrals
  • be competent at maintaining an aseptic technique throughout surgical procedures
  • be competent at obtaining informed consent
  • have knowledge of managing patients from different social and ethnic backgrounds
  • have knowledge of dental problems that may manifest themselves in older patients and of the principles involved in the management of such problems
  • have knowledge of working as part of the dental team
  • be familiar with the complex interactions between oral health, nutrition, general health, drugs and diseases that can have an impact on dental care and disease.

Restorative Dentistry

  • be competent at diagnosing and planning preventive, non-operative care for the individual patient who presents with dental caries, periodontal disease and tooth wear
  • be competent at completing a periodontal examination and charting, diagnosis and treatment plan
  • be competent at supragingival and subgingival scaling and root debridement, using both powered and manual instrumentation, and in stain removal and prophylaxis
  • be competent at knowing when and how to prescribe appropriate anti-microbial therapy in the management of plaque-related diseases
  • be competent at completing a range of procedures in restorative dentistry including amalgam and tooth-coloured restorations, endodontic treatments of single- and multi-rooted teeth, anterior and posterior crowns, simple bridges, and partial and full dentures
  • be competent at deciding whether severely broken down teeth are restorable
  • be competent at designing effective indirect restorations and full and partial dentures
  • have knowledge of when periodontal surgery might be advised
  • have knowledge of how missing teeth should be replaced, choosing between the alternatives of no replacements, bridges, dentures or implants
  • have knowledge of the design and laboratory procedures used in the production of crowns, bridges, partial and full dentures and be able to make appropriate chairside adjustment to these restorations
  • be familiar with the diagnosis and management of temporomandibular joint disorders
  • be familiar with dental implants as an option in replacing missing teeth.

Dental Biomaterials Science

  • have knowledge of the science that underpins the use of dental biomaterials
  • have knowledge of the limitations of dental materials
  • be familiar with those aspects of biomaterial safety that relate to dentistry.

Paediatric Dentistry

  • be competent at diagnosing active caries and planning non-operative care
  • be competent at fissure sealing, preventive resin restorations, and pit and fissure restorations
  • be competent in undertaking approximal and incisal tip restorations
  • have knowledge of preformed stainless steel crown and pulp therapy in primary molar teeth
  • have knowledge of the role of sedation in the management of young patients
  • have knowledge of the management of trauma in both dentitions.


  • be competent at carrying out an orthodontic assessment including an indication of treatment need
  • be competent at managing appropriately all forms of orthodontic emergency including referral when necessary
  • be competent at making appropriate referrals based on assessment
  • have the knowledge to be able to explain and discuss treatments with patients and their parents
  • have the knowledge to be able to design, insert and adjust space maintainers
  • have the knowledge to design, insert and adjust active removable appliances to move a single tooth or correct a crossbite
  • be familiar with contemporary treatment techniques
  • be familiar with the limitations of orthodontic treatment

Preventive Dentistry

  • be competent at oral hygiene instruction, dietary analysis, topical fluoride therapy and fissure sealing
  • be familiar with an evidence –based approach to treatment

Dental Public Health

  • be familiar with the prevalence of certain dental conditions in the UK
  • be familiar with the importance of community-based preventive measures
  • be familiar with the social, cultural and environmental factors which contribute to health or illness
  • be familiar with the principles of recording oral conditions and evaluating data
    Comprehensive Oral Care
  • be competent at working with other members of the dental team
  • have knowledge of providing a comprehensive approach to dental care

Oral Surgery

  • be competent at undertaking the extraction of teeth and the removal of roots where necessary
  • be competent at undertaking minor soft tissue surgery
  • have knowledge of the management of acute infection
  • be familiar with the principles of assessment and the management of maxillofacial trauma
  • be familiar with the diagnosis of oral cancer and the principles of tumour management
  • be familiar with the principles of treatment of dento-facial anomalies including the common orthodontic/maxillofacial procedures involved
  • be familiar with the basic principles of oral surgery practice

Oral Medicine

  • have knowledge of the drugs commonly used in oral medicine and of their side effects and drug interactions
  • have knowledge of appropriate special investigations and the interpretation of their results
  • be familiar with the pathogenesis of common oral medicine disorders and their treatment

Oral Pathology and Oral Microbiology

  • have knowledge of the role of laboratory investigations in diagnosis
  • have knowledge of the pathogenesis and classification of oral diseases
  • have knowledge of the aetiology and processes of oral diseases
  • have knowledge of matters relating to infection control
  • have knowledge of the causes and effects of oral diseases needed for their prevention

Dental Radiology

  • be competent at taking and processing the various film views used in general dental practice
  • be competent at radiographic interpretation and be able to write an accurate radiographic report
  • have knowledge of the hazards of ionising radiation and regulations relating to them, including radiation protection and dose reduction
  • be familiar with the principles which underlie dental radiographic techniques

Pain and Anxiety Control

  • be competent at infiltration and regional block analgesia in the oral cavity
  • be competent at when, how and where to refer a patient for general anaesthesia
  • be competent at managing fear and anxiety with behavioural techniques and empathise with patients in stressful situations
  • have knowledge of inhalational and intravenous conscious sedation techniques
  • have knowledge of conscious sedation techniques in clinical practice.

Part 2:

Finalised information from the GDC examination board will be posted here in due course. It is anticipated that it will involve:

  • an operative test on a dental manikin
  • an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) comprising 20 x 5 minute stations
  • diagnostic and treatment planning involving an actor, but not involving an intra-oral examination
  • an examination on medical emergencies
8. What books are useful when studying for the ORE?

Recommended Books






Anatomy for Dental Students

D R Johnson, W J Moore


Oral Anatomy

Oral Histology, Development, Structure and Function

A R Ten Cate



Human Physiology: the mechanisms of body function

A J Vander, J Sherman, 
D Luciano


Oral Physiology

Biochemistry and Oral Biology

A S Cole, J E Eastoe



General and Systemic Pathology

J C E Underwood


Oral Pathology

Oral Pathology

J V Soames, J C Southam



Notes on Medical Bacteriology

J D Sleigh, M C Timbury



Notes on Medical Virology

M C Timbury


Oral Microbiology

Oral Microbiology

P Marsh, M V Martin



ntegrated Pharmacology (2nd edition)

IC Page et al.



Textbook of Dental Pharmacology and Therapeutics

J G Walton, J W Thompson, 
R A Seymour



DPF/BNF Dental Practitioners’ Formulary 2000/2002 together with British National Formulary

Joint publication of the BDA, BMA and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain


General Medicine and Surgery/Human Disease

Clinical Medicine

P Kumar, M Clark




Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine

J Macleod



Lecture Notes on General Surgery

H Ellis, R Calne, C Watson



Hutchison’s Clinical Methods

M Swash, S Mason



Medical Problems in Dentistry

C Scully, R A Cawson



Essential Surgery: problems, diagnosis and management (3rd edition)

H G Burkitt, C R G Quick


Law and Ethics

Dental Law and Ethics

P Lambden (ed.)


Radiology and Radiography

Dental Radiology: understanding the X-ray Image

L M Brocklebank




Essentials of Dental Radiography and Radiology (3rd edition)

E Whaites


Dental Materials

Applied Dental Materials

J F McCabe


Preventive and Community Dentistry

The Prevention of Oral Disease

J J Murray


Children’s Dentistry

Paediatric Dentistry

R R Welbury



W & H Orthodontic Notes (5th edition)

M L Jones, R G Oliver



nterceptive Orthodontics (4th edition)

A Richardson



Prosthetic Treatment of the Edentulous Patient (4th edition)

R M Basker, J C Davenport


Conservative (Operative) Dentistry

Pickard’s Manual of Operative Dentistry

E A M Kidd, B G N Smith



Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry: a contemporary approach

R S Schwartz, J B Summitt, J W Robbins



Harty’s Endodontics in Clinical Practice

T R Pitt Ford



Planning and Making Crowns and Bridges (3rd edition)

B G N Smith



Guide to Periodontics

W M M Jenkins, C J Allan


Oral Surgery

An Atlas of Minor Oral Surgery: principles and practice

D A McGowan



An Outline of Oral Surgery: parts 1 and 2

H C Killey, G R Seward,
L W Kay



Maxillofacial and Dental Emergencies

J E Hawkesford



Principles of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (5th edition)

U J Moore


Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

J Pedlar, J W Frame


Oral Medicine

A Clinical Guide to Oral Medicine

P-J Lamey, M A O Lewis


9. Do I need to do Foundation Training?

Dentists cannot be included in a Area Team (AT) dental list unless they have either completed a period of Foundation Training or have acquired experience and training that may be regarded as equivalent of such training or are within one of the specified categories of exemption from FT requirements. The Area Team is responsible for deciding if an applicant’s experience is ‘equivalent’ to that received during FoundationTraining. As of April 2006 the functions of the DVTA were taken over by the Business Services Agency (BSA). Some details on Foundation Training can be found on the COPDEND website ( and clicking on the Foundation Training link.

10. Where do I find out about working in primary care?

The British Dental Association
The British Dental Association provides draft contracts and advice on working in primary care. The BDA website address is; 

The College of General Dentistry (CGDent)
The College of General Dentistry is the successor to the Faculty of General Dental Practice as the academic home for all dental professionals working in general practice.. 

There are also a number of dental agencies that may be able to find placements for dental practitioners. Their details may also be found in the British Dental Journal.

11. Where do I find out about working in secondary care (the hospital service) and temporary registration?

If you require information on working within in the hospital service, including their notes for overseas dentists, you should contact;

National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education
Faculty of Dental Surgery
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Tel: 020 7869 6804

12. Where can I find information from the Department of Health?

Reports, circulars, reviews and publications about dental services can be found on the NHS Digital website - 

General Department of Health information can be accessed at

13. Do I need a Visa or a work permit or something?

The Home Office is the government department responsible for immigration and nationality. It is their job to regulate entry to, and settlement in, the UK.

Recently (March 2006) the Department of Health Office announced changes to the immigration rules for postgraduate doctors and dentists. The changes mean that all doctors and dentists who wish to work in the UK from outside the European Union will need to meet the requirements of an employment category, such as the work permit provisions.

The current immigration rules allow the category of Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists to train in foundation programmes, senior house office and equivalent grades and in specialist registrar and equivalent grades. For immigration purposes they are considered as being in training and not In employment. However, in the future this will no longer be the case and these posts will be considered as employment posts for immigration purposes and therefore applicants will need to hold a valid work permit.
There are transitional arrangements to cover those dentists who are in training programmes which continue beyond their current leave to remain. These transitional arrangements will also cover those doctors who have been offered a post before the announcement that will start on or before 4 August. In brief, these doctors will be able to switch and into the work permit system without their employer needing to re-advertise the post.

This should not affect the position of dental foundation trainees. VDPs are already required to have work permits and will remain a shortage occupation. 

Latest news on changes in immigration policy within the NHS can be found at:

NHS Employers: Immigration Rules

14. Are there any other useful contacts details?

General Dental Council email contacts:

For general enquiries, please email:

For IQE enquiries, please email:

For information on opportunities for postgraduate dental training, please contact:

National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education
Faculty of Dental Surgery
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PN

Tel: 020 7405 3474


For advice about visa status or work permits in the UK, please contact either the British Embassy in your home country or the Home Office directly:

Immigration and Nationality Directorate 
Home Office        
Lunar House        
40 Wellesley Road  
Croydon CR9 2BY

Tel: 0870 606 7766 

Work Permits (UK)
Immigration and Nationality Directorate
Home Office
Level 5
Sheffield S1 4PQ



Tuesday, 13 November, 2018
Make this a News Item?: 
Show Between Dates: 
Thursday, 30 April, 2020