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Who do the issues affect?

07 February, 2024

Patients and the public should be confident that the treatment they receive is provided by a dental professional who is properly trained and qualified and who meets our standards.  Standards to register to practise in the UK must be maintained. 

Dental professionals who want to practise in the UK but qualified outside the UK are affected because pressure has built up in some of the routes they need to take to register, causing delays. 

As of 31 December 2023, 30% of dentists on the register had qualified outside the UK, and 4.6% of DCPs had qualified outside the UK. 

For those who have qualified outside the UK, their route to registration will depend on where they qualified. Those who qualified within the EU/EEA have their qualifications automatically recognised under the standstill arrangements. These arrangements have been extended by the Government until June 2028. 

The Overseas Registration Examination (ORE) provides a route to registration for those whose qualifications are not recognised for the purposes of UK registration as a dentist. It is for applicants to who do not hold either a UK or EEA diploma in dentistry.  

​In 2023 we increased the capacity of the ORE and in 2024, our capacity for this two-part exam is:

  • Part 1: A total of 1200 places across 2 sittings 
  • Part 2: A total of 576 places across 4 sittings 

The list of candidates for the ORE changes over time and some exams sit with unfilled places. As of 1 February 2024, the current candidate lists for 2024 are: 

  • Part 1: 1808 candidates
  • Part 2: 672 candidates

DCPs with overseas qualifications can apply to register in the UK. Their applications are assessed by an independent panel. In 2023 we increased the capacity of these assessments and in 2024, our capacity for this route will clear the backlog that resulted from the surge prompted by the legislation changes, and restore the assessment process to the future predicted levels: 

  • 250 applications assessed per month

Dental employers who have vacancies to fill are affected because there might be insufficient capacity to meet demand.