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, and

  • 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. Our press releases of previous prosecutions can be found in our press section.

Here is a quick way of checking whether you are working legally:​

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Contact GDC

+44 (0) 20 7167 6000

37 Wimpole Street

London W1G 8DQ


Secure area for dental professionals