Am I working legally?

Only registered dental professionals can offer or provide dental treatments legally and safely.

This is because they have trained for a significant amount of time to be skilled in:

  • carrying out careful and comprehensive dental examinations of the mouth, teeth and gums
  • diagnosing and treating dental conditions in a safe way
  • giving advice on dental hygiene and care
  • explaining the risks, costs and benefits of treatments so dental patients are well informed and able to provide proper consent
  • intervening in an emergency situation
  • identifying when certain treatments might not be suitable for a particular patient.

The law recognises the importance of keeping patients safe and it is very clear that it is a criminal offence for someone who isn’t registered with the GDC to offer or provide dental treatment.

You also have to be registered with us to legally be able to call yourself a dentist or any other title that implies that you are a registered dental professional, such as a dental nurse or dental technician. If you are not registered and you use these titles, you may be committing a criminal offence.

In order to legally receive payments for offering or providing dental treatments:

  • ​​As an individual, you must also be registered with us.
  • As a company, you must ensure that a majority of directors are registered with us.

The GDC will prosecute cases of illegal practice where it is appropriate to do so.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. Provided that you are properly qualified and registered with us you can legally do so. 
Yes. Provided that you are registered with us, your patient has been assessed as suitable for the treatment by a dentist who has prescribed it and you have developed this additional skill you can legally do so.
No. It will be illegal for you to offer or provide tooth whitening treatment.
No. It will be illegal for you to offer to or make dentures directly for patients.
Whilst you are subject to an order of suspension you must not call yourself a dentist either directly or in advertising material, offer dental treatments or receive payments that arise through yourself or your employees practising dentistry.
If your company is receiving payments for dental treatments, a majority of its directors must be registered with the GDC.