Working in the UK as an Overseas Dentist

We are often asked on the road to UK how an overseas dentist can work in the UK. Here is guidance provided by Dr. Shriya Thapa, DMD.

Where do I start?

To register as an overseas dentist in the UK, there are two examinations that will take you to the path of GDC registration.

  • ORE (Overseas Registration Examination)
  • LDS (Licence in Dental Surgery)

Both of these exams have two parts that are only held in England. Both require IELTS with a score of a minimum of 6.5 in each section and 7 overall. OET is not accepted.

If you need tips and help to prepare for IELTS, check out our article on How to prepare for IELTS.

What is the ORE (Overseas Registration Exam)?

ORE is conducted by the General Dental Council. It is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 (Theory)
  • Part 2 (Practical)

Part 1 is further divided into two computer-based exams, Paper A and Paper B which will be held in two different days with a one day gap:

  • Paper A (3 hour exam) covers clinically applied dental science and clinically applied human disease.
  • Paper B (3 hour exam) covers aspects of clinical dentistry including law and ethics, and health and safety.

An overseas dentist in the UK must pass both papers in the same sitting in order to progress to Part 2.

Part 2 is further divided into 4 components which will be held on 4 different days:

  • OSCE
  • Dental manikin
  • Diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Medical emergencies

How much does the ORE cost and when can I take it?

For ORE part 1, exams are held 2 times a year (generally in April and August) with 200 seats per exam. It costs £806.

For ORE part 2, exams are held 3 times a year (generally in January, April, and September) with 144 candidate seats in each exam. It costs £2,929.

There is also an additional fee of £685 for ORE document processing and assessment.

How can an overseas dentist register for the ORE?

Go to the eGDC portal, and then click ‘route to registration’. Fill in your details online and your email address. Shortly after, you will receive an email from GDC with the ORE registration form and the guidance note which explains how to fill in the form and what documents to send.

After sending your forms and documents to GDC, you will be asked to pay the processing and assessment fee (£685). Once your application is accepted, GDC will allow you to create your eGDC account.

Exam booking usually opens 6 weeks before the exam, so you need to keep yourself updated with the GDC website for the exam date and exam booking date and time to be announced. On the booking day, you have to login into your eGDC account and make the booking and payment from there.

What is the LDS (License of Dental Surgery)?

LDS is conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSE). This exam is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 (Theory)
  • Part 2 (Practical).

Part 1 is a paper-based 6 hour exam. It is further divided into Paper A and Paper B which are held in one session. An overseas dentist in the UK must pass both papers in one sitting in order to progress for Part 2.

Part 2 exam is held over 3 days and consists of 3 sections:

  • OSCE
  • Dental Manikin
  • Unseen cases (Obstructive structured long examination – OSLE model)

How much does the LDS cost and when can I take it?

LDS Part 1 is held only once a year (usually in April) with 120 candidates per exam. It costs £850.

LDS Part 2 is held twice a year (usually in April and August) with 60 candidates per exam. It costs £2,940.

How does an overseas dentist register for the LDS?

Make an account on the RCSE website. Keep yourself updated when they will announce the exam date and booking date on their website or
you can check it in your RCSE account. Once the exam booking date opens (which is usually 6 months before the exam), you can book the exam online and make a payment.

When you have successfully booked the exam, you will receive an email telling you to send them your documents via post. After you have passed part 2, you will receive an email from GDC which will direct you to the
online application form in eGDC to apply for full registration with GDC. The registration fee is around £700 (but will depend on which month you will start to pay).


AvailabilityPart 1 is generally in April and August
Part 2 January, April, and September
Part 1 usually in April
Part 2 usually in April and August
Parts of examPart 1 has Paper A & Paper B (theory exams)
Part 2 is a 4 part practical exam
Part 1 has Paper A & Paper B (theory exams)
Part 2 is a 3 part practical exam
CostPart 1 £806 & Part 2 £2,929Part 1 £850 & Part 2 £2,940
SeatsPart 1 has 200 seats
Part 2 has 144 seats
Part 1 has 120 seats
Part 2 has 60 seats

What documents need to be submitted for the exams and GDC registration?

  • Completed application form
  • Original Certificate of Good Standing
  • Original or certified evidence of current passport
  • Original or certified evidence of the primary dental qualification
  • Translation of document (if they are in other languages)
  • Evidence of English Language (IELTS)
  • Clinical experience requirement reference (at least 1600 hours)
  • Passport size recent photo
  • Character reference
  • Health declaration and vaccination certificates

All the documents should not be dated more than 3 months when you submit them.

How do I find a job?

After being registered in the UK with the GDC as an overseas dentist, you have to do PLVE (Performers List Validation by Experience) for a year in an NHS Dental clinic/hospital to get a performer number. You will be working under a mentor to confirm you have the necessary experience and training to work in the NHS.

There are many job vacancies advertised on Google and Indeed. There are also some agents (like Mydentist, Tempdent, etc) who recruit dental professionals. You can choose whichever is suitable for you. For instance, you can choose to work in NHS dental practises, mixed dental practises (NHS + private dental clinics), or private dental practises.

Tips and Advice for Overseas Dentists

  • Start your journey by preparing for IELTS.
  • Follow the registration steps as described above.
  • Booking an exam seat is really competitive, and the exam seat gets fully booked within a minute, so you need to book on time when the booking opens and make sure to have high speed internet.
  • Most dentists prefer to take ORE as the exams per year and candidate seats are higher in number than in LDS exam. Besides that, both exams are valid.
  • For Part 1 exam, either self-study or online courses can be done. For Part 2 exam, it is advisable to go to training centres. It is a bit expensive though. Usually, it costs around £10,000 +/- for all the training and buying dental materials and equipment to practise at home.

If you still have any questions or concerns, you can always check out the GDC website. Good luck!