Jesmond Surgery Phone: 0191 2814444

Gosforth Surgery Phone: 0191 2132001

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Dental Training


Your dentist has undergone five years of an intensive university degree course, which involves studying the basic medical sciences, physiology, anatomy, etc. and includes three years developing the high degree of clinical skills working under supervision on members of the public. This enables your dentist to provide you with dental treatment and to screen for disorders which may be present in the oral cavity.

The dental undergraduate must prove they are fit and safe to practice by sitting a number of professional exams. Once they have successfully completed these exams they are then put on a list held by the General Dental Council which entitles them to practice dentistry under the rules set out by the G.D.C. No dentist may practice unless their name is on this list and members of the public are entitled to view this list.


General Dental Practitioners

Principle / Owner / Partner

They own the practice and are responsible for all those who work within the practice. That pay the salaries and the bills. They may have a partner who equally owns and runs the practice.


An associate has a contract with the principle which allows them to work from the practice premises paying the principle a proportion of what they earn as rent.

Vocational Dental Practitioner (VDP)

A V.D.P. is a salaried dentist who is usually newly qualified. They spend a year under the supervision of their trainer putting together the practical information that they learnt as undergraduates with the practicalities of working in general practice after which they are able to practice on their own.


They work as an assistant to the principle or associate and are also qualified dentists but have not yet completed the year of vocational training.




A hygienist spends two years on a university based course and provides periodontal treatment and fissure sealing under the instruction of a dentist.


Dental therapists are a fairly new addition to the team, they perform similar duties to the hygienist but they may also take impressions and perform simple fillings under the instruction of the dentist. They only work in community or hospital service.


A dental nurse assists the dentist during treatment of a patient by aspirating (sucking up the water from the drill with an aspirator) and mixing various materials as and when the dentist needs them. Qualified nurses have under taken exams in various disciplines which allows them to wear a badge on their lapel stating the exams they have qualified in.


The receptionist may be the first person in the practice you meet. They are responsible for greeting the patient, making appointments and taking phone calls, they also deal with a lot of the paperwork.

Practice manager

The practice manager ensures the smooth running of the practice, they deal with the paperwork, wages and day to day running of the practice.


The technician is involved in providing crowns, bridges, dentures, and orthodontic appliances. The dentist will usually send off impressions to the laboratory stating the item they require and the technician will produce them.