Who's who at your dental practice?

A reference guide to your practice team

It is sometimes a bit confusing to know who’s who at your dental practice and what their involvement is in looking after your teeth and gums. 

That's why we’ve put together an easy reference guide to help you get to know who’s who in your practice team.

Explore who's who and specialists in your dental practice below

dental team

Meet your team

A guide to who's who and specialists in your dental practice.
Dental hygienist and dental therapist 

Dental hygienists and dental therapists provide clinical and educational care to help you look after your oral health. 

Qualified to help with the prevention and treatment of oral diseases, they focus on preventing gum disease by scaling and polishing teeth. These team members can also develop plans for you to use at home to maintain your oral health in between dental appointments. 

Hygienists and dental therapists can help to identify those areas where you have difficulty in removing plaque, and work with you to alter your brushing technique to make sure you clean these effectively.

Dental therapists can also undertake simple restorations, such as fillings, and extract some teeth under local anaesthetic.

Dental nurse

A dental nurse works closely with the dentist. They make sure the right instruments and equipment are available, prepare the various materials needed, and clean and sterilise used instruments.

Dental nurses are often responsible for ensuring there is effective infection control in place, so there is no risk of infection to anyone working in the surgery or coming to the practice for care.

Additional duties may include processing dental x-rays and helping the dentist to record information about your oral health.

Dental technicians

Dental technicians are responsible for making a wide range of dental appliances including crowns, bridges, braces and dentures.

A dental technician can either choose to work as a generalist producing a wide variety of technical items, or specialise in a particular area.


Dentists are experts in reviewing and advising you on your oral health. They are highly skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of problems that affect the mouth and teeth.

It takes around five years to train to become a dentist at a British dental school, followed by one year’s Vocational Training at an approved dental practice.

Once qualified, dentists regularly take part in training and professional development to keep up-to-date with new dental techniques, regulations and research. Dentists can also gain further qualifications and training for a more in-depth knowledge of a certain area of dentistry – such as completing a Masters degree in Minimal Intervention dentistry.

Oral health educator

Oral health educators can help you to maintain healthy teeth and gums and follow a healthy lifestyle. They are also responsible for collecting and analysing data to help build preventive healthcare programmes.

Health educators often write educational material, newsletters and public information reports.

Patient liaison/customer relationship manager
The Patient liaison/Customer relationship manager supports the practice team by looking after all patient communication, including emails, SMS text messages and social media.
Practice manager
Practice managers supervise the dental team, organise and support dental nurses and receptionists, liaise with dentists and hygienists, and arrange staff meetings and training and generally ensure the smooth running of a practice. 

They are also responsible for the upkeep of legally required documents and records.

Specialists in dentistry

Dentists can complete professional training courses and gain qualifications to gain entry to one of the approved specialist registers held by the General Dental Council. Here are some of the different types of specialists you might find in your practice:

An endodontist is a specialist trained to deal with the pulp within the tooth and the tissues around it. They perform many types of complex surgery, including root canal treatment and restoring cracked teeth.
An orthodontist focuses on the correction of misaligned teeth with the use of braces. Planning treatment to straighten teeth usually involves an orthodontist taking x-rays and impressions (moulds) of the teeth. Braces may be fixed to the teeth and modern techniques mean they are now less visible. Whilst braces are predominantly fitted to children’s teeth, it is possible to straighten teeth at any age.
A periodontist is a dentist who specialises in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation and are trained in performing cosmetic gum procedures. They can also treat patients with severe gum problems using a range of surgical procedures.
Prosthodontists specialise in replacing missing teeth and restoring natural teeth using techniques such as dentures, implants, crowns and bridges.