The General Dental Council (GDC) will reduce from 24 to 12 (six dental professionals and six lay persons).
All will be appointed and take office in the autumn of 2013.
In addition, the chair will be appointed rather than elected as at present. There is no requirement for him or her to be a dentist or dental professional.
The four chief dental officers will remain as associate members of the GDC.
The same structure will apply to the General Medical Council (GMC), although the change will happen for them at the end of this year.
The Statutory Instrument giving legal authority to the changes was published at the end of June, but prior to that there was a consultation carried out by the Department of Health.
This followed a report last year by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) which recommended the changes.
The CHRE said that appointing the chair would allow for a transparent and open recruitment process against specific competencies required for the role. The CHRE also found a number of benefits to having smaller governing councils.
The legislation makes no provision for members to be drawn from all four countries of the UK. Nor is there a requirement for it to contain a fixed number of dentists or dental care professionals.
The current practice is for there to be a wide geographical and skill spread across the GDC.