Total number of UK registered dental care professionals increases following renewal

16 August 2023

The number of dental care professionals (DCPs) on the UK Register, following the recent annual renewal period, has risen when compared with the trajectory of previous years. On the morning after removals there were 71,769 DCPs on the register, an increase of 2,093 on the equivalent figure for 2022. 

This year, 3,541 DCPs did not renew their registration, which is 4.9 per cent of those who had renewed their registration by July 31. This compares to an average of 6.4 per cent over the previous four years. 

The GDC is also providing a breakdown of removals by professional title for the last five years. The statistics show that the number of DCPs removed was lower than last year for all titles with the exception of orthodontic therapists, where there was a slight increase.  

The number of dental nurses removed from the register fell by 752 compared to last year, with the total number on the register standing at 59,238 at the time of compiling. The numbers of other professions on the register as of August 3, 2023, were as follows: 404 clinical dental technicians; 9,177 dental hygienists; 5,023 dental technicians; 5,558 dental therapists; 957 orthodontic therapists.

These figures provide a useful benchmark for the total number of DCPs registered in the UK. However, it is important to note that they do not provide insight into the number of professionals working in different patterns (e.g. full-time vs part-time), how many DCPs are working in NHS services compared to private practice or local workforce conditions. 

While workforce planning does not lie within the GDC’s statutory remit, it has stated its intention to gather, with the support of stakeholders, some simple workforce data as part of the annual renewal of dentists’ registration, providing that it does not disrupt the renewal process, to inform the discussion on this important issue. 

While the register is constantly changing, what we invariably see (for both the dentist and DCP registers) is that over the course of the year, the number of registered professionals fluctuates due to new registrations, and as professionals leave the Register for a range of reasons. 

This year, we have made it easier for dental professionals to restore their names to the registers so that they can continue to practise in the UK. This important change means that dental professionals who have been off the register for less than 12 months and have always complied with CPD are able to sign a declaration that it is up to date rather than send us a copy of their full CPD record. 

The GDC publishes monthly and annual registration reports, which provide further information, with the annual data for 2022 published in May.