How much do dentists earn? UK average salary for a dentist

Advertisement

British dentists are typically self-employed and can choose between NHS and private work

Part of the problem is thought to be due to how much private work dentists are taking on in the wake of a real NHS pay cut.

Advertisement

How much do dentists make for the NHS and private healthcare?

Here’s what you need to know.

Advertisement
The number of dentists offering NHS treatments has fallen (Image: Getty Images)

How does paying for dentistry work in the UK?

Dentistry in the UK has been a private sector since the 1950s after the government converted it from a free service to a subsidized service in 1951.

Advertisement

It also means that the Government will not fund NHS dental care directly, but will only fund part of a dentist’s salary or a practice’s income, rather than investing in equipment or services.

(Graphic: Mark Hall)

Any NHS work they sign up for in England and Wales is subject to a contract which sets a minimum number of ‘units of dental work’ that the dentist must complete over a 12 month period – a system introduced in 2006.

Advertisement

NHS England defines UDAs as a measure of how much dental work is being done, not how many patients are being treated.

As a rule of thumb, more complex treatments count towards more UDAs than simpler ones.

Advertisement

For example, a routine exam counts as 1 UDA, while dentures are worth 12 UDAs.

Dental facilities tend to oppose the UDA NHS contract system (Image: Getty Images)

If the dentist and their practice fail to meet the contract’s UDA targets, they will be penalized financially by the NHS.

Advertisement

However, this system is unpopular with dentists who do not believe that a targeted approach incentivizes the best treatment.

The picture is broadly the same across the other British nations.

Advertisement
Patients are struggling to access dental care in the wake of the pandemic.

Over the same period, revenue from patient fees – ie private appointments – increased by 17%, suggesting that there has been a greater shift towards private healthcare in recent years.

What is the average dentist salary in the UK?

Advertisement

Mazic News polled several leading job search websites to find out the average UK dentist salary.

At the other end of the scale, a Distributor can take home between £84,559 and £114,003 per year on average.

Advertisement

What is the difference between NHS and private dentistry?

There is no measure of how much NHS work pays out compared to private dentistry.

Advertisement

Given the perception that private care tends to be more lucrative, one would think there would be a large disparity in income.

Dentists turn their backs on NHS work (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

However, when looking at the gains made by practices, a surprising picture emerges.

Advertisement

According to a recent report from the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL), net profits for NHS practices were £145,498 in FY2020/21.

For private practice they were £143,418.

Advertisement

While this doesn’t necessarily mean salaries are in line with these statistics, it does suggest that there aren’t huge differences between what dentists earn for NHS and private work.

However, NASDAL predicted the NHS tally would fall behind in their next figures.

Advertisement

In fact, the Census of Dentistry revealed that 73% of dentists expect to practice less NHS dentistry over the next two years, while 84% expect to practice more private dentistry over the next 12 months.

Advertisement