Aims To assess the training programme and future career choices of newly qualified dental trainees.Methods Mixed-methods study combining a national questionnaire with focus groups administered to dental foundation trainees (DFTs) in England. Two regions chose not to participate; therefore, the questionnaire was sent to 588 DFTs and 226 (38.4%) responded. Forty-one DFTs participated in six regional focus groups.Results Location was the primary factor when choosing a training post, with 86% wanting to live and work near friends and family. Other influencers included affordability, availability of good training facilities and transport links, and proximity to their dental school. Focus group data found that perceived higher-quality training schemes were chosen over location in some circumstances. Most trainees wanted a career as an associate (67%) rather than a practice partner (32%) or owner (27%). Thirty-one percent aimed to practise on a private basis and 40% wanted to remain within the NHS. Women were significantly more likely than men to consider part-time working patterns (X2(2) = 9.761, p = 0.002). Part-time working was attractive as many found full-time clinical dentistry too stressful.Conclusions Geographical location is the key influencer on where dentists want to work and consideration needs to be given to interventions to address geographical disparities in graduate destinations. The strong desire to work part-time raises concerns about current workforce planning.