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Clinical academic dentists are fully trained specialist or general dental practitioners who undertake research, teach undergraduate and postgraduate dental students and deliver clinical practice in the NHS. Dental clinical academics provide patient care at the highest of levels, and they drive the evolution of the treatment and prevention of disease through research and innovation. Their work is vital to educating the dental workforce of the future, and to the patients whom those dentists treat. 

The spirit of discovery and research is an essential part of the NHS, for the benefit of patient and public health. Dental research ensures that dental practice is evidence-based and that patients receive best-practice, high-quality care. Learning that is led by dentists who are actively engaged in research exposes students and trainees first-hand to world-class research, and offers added potential for them to be enthused and motivated by leading experts in their field who teach from their immediate research experience. As a result, dental clinical academics directly influence the international oral health agenda and drive innovation in the field of dentistry.

Example career pathways

There is no one route into a career as a dental clinical academic; the pathway is flexible, to accommodate the multiple career stages at which dentists may wish to pursue academic training.

The minimum requirements for dentists seeking to become a dental clinical academic in the UK include completing Dental Foundation Training or Vocational Training, obtaining the relevant dental postgraduate diploma (MFDS/MJDF) and undertaking a PhD or teaching qualification. The dental clinical academic must also complete some level of NHS-recognised clinical competency to match their peers in clinical practice.

To aid your understanding of the different routes dentists take to become clinical academics, we have developed an interactive map for dentists which demonstrates some example career pathways for those who wish to become a dental clinical academic. This pathway is not exhaustive but is illustrative of the typical routes taken by dentists to become clinical academics.

Example career profiles

When thinking about your career options in clinical academia, it can help to hear from dentists who have decided to pursue academic training, and the routes they have taken. Explore the Inspiring Clinical Academics profile section to find out more.