Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists can work in all sectors of dentistry, their role is twofold.

They have both clinical and health promotional responsibilities. Clinically they help to treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease by scaling and polishing teeth, applying prophylactic and antimicrobial materials, they take dental radiographs and undertake monitoring and screening procedures.

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists can also treat the dentition with simple restorations, placement of preformed crowns and pulp treatments on deciduous teeth (baby or milk teeth).

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists are also permitted to apply topical fluorides and fissure sealants in order to reduce dental caries (tooth decay).

Their health promotional role includes motivating and encouraging individuals and groups in oral health practises, including oral hygiene and dietary advice.

Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists need to work with a flexible team approach; to have good communication skills and to demonstrate a high level of manual dexterity in order to undertake complex oral treatments.

Following qualification, Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists can work in many settings - NHS/Independent general practice, specialist periodontal or orthodontic practice, hospital (staff hygienists, tutors/lecturer, and specialist departments eg. special needs), education, research, health promotion and community as well as working aboard.

Once qualified, continuing professional development (CPD) is important in order to keep skills and knowledge up to date. At BSDHT eCPD events a 'Certificate of Attendance' is issued to indicate that the course meets the criteria of the GDC lifelong learning scheme.

Qualifications & Educational Programmes

There are several ways to qualify as a Dental Hygienist / Dental Therapist:

  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene - two year full time course
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Therapy – 27 month full time course 
  • BSc in Oral Health Science - three year full time course 
  • BSc (Hons) (Edinburgh) - four year course.

The entry requirements for these courses vary and you are advised to contact the school of your choice for a prospectus.

To have worked in a dental environment and obtained a dental nurse qualification, would be advantageous.

All training is based on the curricula determined by the General Dental Council. A further General Dental Council document confirms your scope of practice.

Educational Centres

There are 21 training schools in the UK that offer training to become a Dental Hygienist / Dental Therapist - a full list is given below. Most training courses lead to a joint qualification.

For further details of the courses available, please write to the individual schools, enclosing a large SAE to request a prospectus. The prospectus will provide details about the course structure, qualifications at the end of the training, the length of the training course, entry requirements, when the course starts and how to apply.

University of Birmingham

T: 0121 236 8611
T: 0121 237 2802
University of Bristol

T:  Donna Parkin 0117 3429605.

Admissions enquiry team:

Cardiff University             


T: 029 2074 4251

University of Dundee
T: 01382 384697
University of Edinburgh

T: 0131 536 4937
University of Essex
T: 01702 328469
University of Glasgow
T: 0141 211 9775
University of the Highlands & Inverness
T: 01463 255842
University of Leeds

T: 0113 343 6255
T: 0113 233 6120
University of Liverpool
E: T: 0151 706 5046 F: 0151 706 5652
King's College Hospital London

T: 020 3299 5214
Queen Mary University of London

T: 020 7882 5555
University College London Hospitals

T: 020 3456 1205 F: 020 3456 2388

MSc Dental Hygiene Course - Eastman Dental Institute offers as a distance learning course.  This is a post graduate course for qualified dental hygienists.  Further information can be found here:

Please note: All applicants must hold an approved dental hygiene qualification and be currently working as dental hygienist in practice with at least three years’ clinical experience post qualification.
This is a unique course and offers the flexibility of distance learning as well as working with the students’ own patients in practice. Students will gain new skills, evidence-based and development of critical thinking.

University of Manchester
T: 0161 3060232
Greater Manchester School for DCPs
T: 0161 212 4809
Newcastle University
T: 0191 282 4679
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools
 Medicine & Dentistry
T: 01752 437333
University of Central Lancashire (Preston)
  W: This course is based in the School of Dentistry
Telephone us for further information +44(0)1772 892400
or email us at: | Book a visit
University of Portsmouth

T: 023 9284 3946
T:023 9284 5222
University of Sheffield
T: 0114 226 8287
T: 0114 271 7800
Teesside University
T: 01642 384110
UCAS code: B750 BSc/DHDT
Typical offer: 240 tariff points

UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. Some training schools now use the UCAS route for applications to their courses.For further information please follow this link: or telephone: 01242 227788.

Dental Therapy programmes for qualified dental hygienists

Bristol Further information can be obtained from or by telephoning: 0117 342 4136
Greater Manchester Further details can be obtained via this link:
London MSc in Advanced Minimum Intervention Dentistry at Kings College London. When requesting information, please inform KCL that you found the information on the BSDHT website. (Note - this course is for Dental Therapists only and cannot be undertaken by Dental Hygienists).
Essex Further details contact /Tel: 01702 328469


Adaptation programme for overseas trained dental hygienists

The Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is suitable if you are a dental hygienist with an existing qualification from another country who has undertaken the GDC Dental Care Professional assessment of your existing qualification. It will help achieve the GDC required learning outcomes for registration as a Hygienist in the UK. If you are a UK Hygienist returning to practice, the Dental Hygienist Adaptation Module is an ideal refresher course that can offer you required CPD hours for re-registration with the GDC.

For further information, please contact The School of Health and Human Sciences, The University of Essex, Southend Campus, Elmer Approach, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1LW.

T: 01702 328375 / E<