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Occupation Details

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Dentist - Oral Surgeon

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require post-graduate qualifications. For example, they may require a masters degree, and some require a Ph.D., or M.D.

Related Experience
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience plus specialist training to be able to do their job.

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Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. They may also require very specialist skills. Very advanced communication and organisational skills are required. Examples include lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and most scientists.

€39k > 100
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€39 - 100
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Occupational Category

Other Healthcare Professionals

Also included in this category:

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 14%
Aged over 55: 16%
Male / Female: 29 / 71%
Non-Nationals: 11%
With Third Level: 87%
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At a Glance... header image

Treats patients with problems and diseases of the mouth and of the teeth.

Videos & Interviews header image

The Work header image

The dentist studies the patient's past history of dental care and examines the mouth and teeth, sometimes using X-rays, to detect gum disease or tooth decay. Typical routine treatment includes:

  • extracting decayed or septic teeth
  • drilling, preparing and filling cavities
  • scaling and polishing teeth
  • advising on oral hygiene

The dentist may treat irregular teeth by fitting appliances such as braces or may replace teeth by fitting crowns, bridges or dentures. Sometimes they carry out surgery on diseased gums and infected roots to help preserve teeth. Newly qualified dentists entering general practice usually begin their career as an associate in a group practice, where they can receive support from more experienced colleagues.  
Dentists in the community dental service are responsible for the treatment of priority groups such as young children, expectant mothers and adults with physical or mental impairments. They work in local clinics and may travel to locations such as schools, day centres and residential homes to carry out inspections and advise on dental health education.  
Some dentists work in the dental department of general hospitals. Newly qualified dentists begin their career as house officers and progress through the grades of house officer, registrar, senior registrar and assistant dental surgeon to consultant status. During this period, they combine work with study for one of the dental specialisms, which involves taking further examinations.  
There are two recognised specialties in Ireland:

  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontics

Oral surgeons work mainly in hospitals and universities. Dentists specialising in oral and maxillo-facial surgery treat injuries to the face or serious diseases of the teeth and gums.

Dentists specialising in orthodontics treat the more complex cases of crooked or missing teeth, fitting appliances to correct these and advising dentists in general practice. 

Most orthodontists work in private practice, although some work in hospitals, universities and the Public Dental Service. To become a specialist, two years of general professional training must be undergone after primary qualification, and this is followed by three years of fulltime specialist training. To become a consultant may involve a further three years of higher training.

The training takes place in university teaching hospitals in Ireland, or other such recognised training establishments, often in the UK or other EU countries. Trainees generally provide dental care during their training and are normally paid as appropriate. On completion of training as a specialist you normally receive a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in orthodontics or oral surgery, issued by the Dental Council, and are entered onto the appropriate Specialist Register.

You may also receive a diploma from one of the Royal Colleges of Ireland or the UK, such as a “Fellowship” or “Membership”, or a master’s degree or PhD from a university. Aside from the two recognised specialties, there are other traditional specialist areas of dentistry such as paediatric dentistry, periodontology, and endodontics, where practitioners have undertaken further training and have limited their practices to their specialty.

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Administer anesthetics to limit the amount of pain experienced by patients during procedures.


Use masks, gloves and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.


Examine teeth, gums, and related tissues, using dental instruments, x-rays, or other diagnostic equipment, to evaluate dental health, diagnose diseases or abnormalities, and plan appropriate treatments.


Formulate plan of treatment for patient's teeth and mouth tissue.


Use air turbine and hand instruments, dental appliances and surgical implements.


Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or malformations of teeth, gums, or related oral structures and provide preventive or corrective services.


Advise or instruct patients regarding preventive dental care, the causes and treatment of dental problems, or oral health care services.


Treat exposure of pulp by pulp capping, removal of pulp from pulp chamber, or root canal, using dental instruments.


Write prescriptions for antibiotics or other medications.


Design, make, or fit prosthodontic appliances, such as space maintainers, bridges, or dentures, or write fabrication instructions or prescriptions for denturists or dental technicians.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events: Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Analyzing Data or Information: Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People: Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.


Performing for or Working Directly with the Public: Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.


Controlling Machines and Processes: Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).


Processing Information: Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Medicine and Dentistry: Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.


Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Biology: Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


Psychology: Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.


Administration and Management: Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You need good communication skills and a sympathetic nature to help put nervous patients at ease. You should be able to think logically and handle delicate dental instruments with a steady hand.  
Dentistry is a physically demanding career and unsuited to those with certain physical handicaps such as poor sight, disturbances in coordination of movement, certain back problems and any medical condition which would put a person at risk of contracting or passing on infectious diseases. If in doubt, consult a dentist or doctor before application.  
An interest and academic ability in science is essential.

Entry Routesheader image

A degree in dentistry is required in order to register with the Dental Council of Ireland. Entry is competitive as only two Irish universities offer programmes: Trinity College Dublin offers Dental Science TR052 and University College Cork offers Dentistry CK702.

General admission procedures to the study of Dentistry is based on the CAO points systems for students presenting Leaving Certificate or Matriculation examinations.

Queens University in Belfast also run a degree course in dentistry. Studying Dentistry in Europe has become a popular option for Irish students.

Last Updated: October, 2017

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Dental Therapist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Dentist - from: N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Dentist - from: YouTube [UK]
Go..Dentist - from: GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Health Service Executive (HSE)
Address: Dr Steevens' Hospital, Steevens Lane, Dublin, 8
Tel: 01 635 2000
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Dublin Dental University Hospital
Address: Trinity College Dublin, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 612 7315
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Dental Association
Address: Unit 2, Leopardstown Office Park, Sandyford, Dublin 18
Tel: (01) 295 0072
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Dental Health Foundation Ireland
Address: PO Box 12343Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 672 8870
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Dental Council of Ireland
Address: 57 Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 676 2069
Email: Click here
Url Click here


Organisation: Dublin Dental University Hospital
Address: Trinity College Dublin, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 612 7315
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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