Total number of registered UK dentists increases slightly following recent renewal

16 January, 2023

The number of dentists on the UK Register, following the recent annual renewal period, has increased slightly when compared to the average over the previous four years.

On the morning after removals there were 43,130 dentists on the Register. This is a 2.2% increase from the previous year, which is almost double the average growth over the previous four years (1.2%). It is important to note, however, that single year data does not establish trend, and so conclusions about whether this is the beginning of a pattern should be avoided.

This year, 999 dentists did not renew their registration, which is 2.3% of those on the Register on 31 December. This compares to an average of 2.8% over the previous four years.

Dentist ARF20192020202120222023
ARF payments received (by 31 December)40,65941,34041,61542,06642,982

Other registrations 1

Register count following removals 240,82241,49441,86342,21543,130
Removals 31,3029751,1911,079999
Removals as % of ARF payments received3.2%2.4%2.9%2.6%2.3%

1The Register is constantly changing. This figure includes ARF payments, restorations, fitness to practise retentions and new additions to the Register (between 1 and 5 January 2023)
Register count in week following the renewal period.
3 Reasons for removal include voluntary removal, non-payment, retirement, and notifications of death.

These figures provide a useful benchmark for the total number of dentists registered in the UK.

While we recognise there are important issues of widespread concern across dentistry – not least in relation to significant ongoing recruitment challenges in some areas – it is important to note that this data does not provide insight into the number of professionals working in different patterns (e.g. full time vs part time), how many dentists are working in NHS services compared to private practice, local workforce conditions, or the numbers of professionals working in different roles (e.g. academic).

While the register is constantly changing, what we invariably see (for both the dentist and dental care professional registers) is that over the course of the year, the number of registered professionals increases due to new registrations, and then that number drops at the point of renewal as professionals leave the Register for a range of reasons.

We publish monthly registration reports which provide further information.