Alternate Dentistry Career

Updated: Feb 6

Clinical dentistry is not for everyone - there are many challenges for being a dentist, some of them are

“I honestly think its better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”

-George Burns


Photo courtesy - @indykadeer


  • Need a lot of 'people skills' and can test the patience of a person - as we have to make sure the patients, the dcp, patient coordinator, hygienist, lab , reception , colleagues,other specialists - all work in perfect sync and communication crucial between all these persons.

  • Have to juggle between consulting patients , treatments, contacting labs, writing referrals, write letters to patients, writing detailed patient notes (anything not written is not mentioned to the patient!) and lot of other admin work.

  • It is physically quite challenging and can lead to work-related issues like back pain/ carpal tunnel issues/neck and shoulder issues.

  • You may not enjoy the business side of dentistry, and speaking money or the surgical side of it

  • Be claustrophobic in a small room / the PPE (Especially during these difficult covid times!)

  • It's a very stressful job meeting people's expectations without complications can be challenging.

  • Very many regulations and organisations to be accountable to.

  • Most western countries ' we live in a constant fear of getting sued / getting a written complaint - which can sometimes be career-threatening - ' which can happen even to the dentist with 'best skills and best intentions for the patient' !


IF NOT A DENTIST THEN WHAT ?? I shall pen down some suggestions...

1. Dental therapist


  • Duties include examination and routine dental treatment and prevention work, such as fillings, fissure sealants and extractions of primary/milk teeth. Duties may also include giving local anaesthetic and taking X-rays. Therapists also advise patients and their parents how to care for the patient's mouth.

  • This is a degree / diploma course - and is regulated like dentistry and can have direct access in most countries like UK and USA - where patient can book to see them directly.

  • There is a high demand for dental therapists in the public sector dental health services, especially in the rural and remote areas. Dental therapists have an opportunity to impact on the oral health and general health of current and future generations.

2. Dental Hygienist

  • They typically focus on preventative dental health and treatment, such as helping you to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

  • Dental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Programs typically take 3 years to complete -is regulated like dentistry and can have direct access in most countries like UK and USA

3.Orthodontic therapist

  • This is a registered member of the dental team. They assist dentists/orthodontists in carrying out orthodontic treatment and provide some aspects of the treatment themselves.

  • In UK , It comprises of an initial four-week core course at the teaching centre followed by 8–20 additional study days throughout the year. Concurrently, workplace-based training will be carried out at an approved practice

4. Dental technicians

  • Dental technologists as they are often referred to make the dentures, crowns, bridges and dental braces that improve patients’ appearance, speech and ability to chew.

  • If you are a creative and artistic person this is the best job for you.

  • In the UK this is a registerable job with the GDC.

  • The US is also quite similar

  • As a prosthodontist - They are my right hand and right eyes!!! My work is hugely depended on these artists - and they need to have in-depth knowledge of how occlusion works and to make corrections for poor quality dentists work!!

  • I work with BEN for my crowns and bridgework and JOHNATHAN for my denture work and both of them are amazing and hugely talented and each case is a learning for me. I am truly blessed to have found such great technicians.

5. Dental Prosthetics

  • ​This usually is a specialisation for a dental technology student or a dentist.

  • When I started the MClinDent course we had to closely work with the MSc prosthetic course students in the first year - and we were all good friends and they were doing some very interesting work - like replacement of nose and eyes after cancer resection or trauma and it is life-changing work.

  • There are a number of course in the US as well.



6. Dental Assistant/ Dental care professional / Dental nurse

  • This is sometimes an alternative while preparing for the exams or while circumstances get better , but the most beneficial part of this is integration into the new system of practice , getting accustomed to the instruments /materials / the software system, regulations / Patient management / the slang of the area.

  • I have done this for 3 months (although it was supposed to be shadowing !) and it was the best learning experience before an exam. It was literally like an animation out of the books to it happening in front of you. So if you have an opportunity for this use it.

  • THE BIGGEST TAKE HOME IS THE CONTACTS AND NETWORKING THAT HAPPENS - A FOOT IN THE DOOR!

  • In the UK you have to enrol onto a training programme to be a DCP

  • A dental nurses networking site in UK .

  • In US as well you need to do a certification course.

  • Dental Assistant job with the army

7.Dental Treatment Co-ordinator / Pathway coordinators (Hospital)

  • This person is a go-between for dentist and patients, who can explain the treatment options, the alternates, what the procedure involves, it's before and aftercare and the costs and time involved in a non-clinical environment. For cases like implants or large treatment plans or surgical treatment, it works like a charm.

  • This is an ideal position for a dentist to be able to do this, so if this interests you , you can contact the nearby clinics offering this service.

  • Job options the US

  • Job options UK

8. Community Dental Health Coordinator

  • This is a proposed initiative to bring greater access to oral health care to underserved communities. The program is being piloted in several locations.

9. Oral Health Advisor

  • This is the role that can be seen in big dental practices , where a lot of attention is given to prevention. This person usually helps giving diet advice and oral hygiene instructions to the patient and helping dentists and hygienist with their job.

  • Example of an Oral Health Advisor, at one of the best dental practices in Cambridgeshire.

10. Practice manager / CQC Manager / Compliance Manager

  • If you have natural leadership skills and organisational skills then this should be some options you should look at.

  • This is a hard and multitasking job but could be an option , and you will need good orientation into the job.

  • A lot of options are there but I am just picking some that are not mention in other sites like ADA and ASDA which are interesting.

  • Options mentioned in BDA

  • Some mentioned on the Chron website

  • ​ALL CAREERS COMES WITH THEIR OWN PERKS AND SLOPS ... IF YOU ARE A DENTIST AND LIKE IT , THEN NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCE , TRY AND PERSEVERE IN YOUR GOAL TO MAKE THINGS WORK OUT , IT IS A WELL RESPECTED AND REWARDING CAREER (FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY) .

  • AND REMEMBER THIS TOO SHALL PASS, KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL IS PERTINENT - KNOCK ALL DOORS - YOU DON'T KNOW WHO WILL HELP!!