Dental Foundation Training (DFT) is usually the next step for dentists after they qualify. If you successfully complete the programme, you will be placed on the Performers List, allowing you to treat patients in NHS primary care.

Important: Eligibility

To be eligible for DFT, you’ll need full registration with the General Dental Council (GDC).

If you’re from outside the UK, you’ll need a valid UK Visa with no training restrictions.

About Dental Foundation Training

Most newly-qualified dentists choose to undertake a year of DFT in general dental practice.

Recruitment to DFT is a competitive process for an employee position working as a Foundation dentist. This is usually in a DFT practice.

Dentists who successfully complete the programme will receive:

  • a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Dental Foundation Training (CSCDFT)
  • a place on the NHS Performers List

You have to be on the Performers List in order to treat patients in NHS primary care. As long as you’re working in an approved training practice, you may treat NHS patients. The local team will issue you with a Performers List Number.

The programme begins on 1 September each year.

Eligibility for DFT

To be eligible for DFT, you must:

  • have a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) undergraduate degree or equivalent
  • be eligible to join the General Dental Council 
  • be eligible for an NHS Performer number by the start of training

If you do not fulfil these criteria, you will not be able to take up the post.

Joint Dental Foundation Core Training (JDFTCT)

Joint Dental Foundation Core Training (JDFCT) is a 2-year longitudinal programme. 

It combines 1 year of Dental Foundation Training (DFT) and 1 year of Dental Core Training (DCT). 

For more details, visit the JDFCT page.


Foundation dentists are paid the same annual salary across England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

This allowance is set through the General Dental Services Statement of Financial Entitlements Directions issued annually by the Department of Health.

For detailed information about pay and conditions, visit NHS Employers.

For information about pay and conditions for Dental Vocation Training  go to the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates (SGHSC).

How and when to apply

We’ll release the advert, application form, person specification and applicant guide at midday on Tuesday 8 August 2023 on Oriel.

Applications will close at midday on Tuesday 5 September 2023.

To find out about how to apply for DFT and the recruitment timeline, visit the Applying for Dental Foundation Training page.

What can DFT lead to?

After getting their Foundation Training certificate and joining the NHS Performers List, many Foundation dentists stay on in general dental practice. 

Others undertake Dental Core Training (DCT), which allows them to develop their skills and focus on specialties in secondary care.

Page last reviewed: 12 August 2022

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