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Special Care Dentistry (2011)


Definition of Special Care Dentistry

Special Care Dentistry provides preventive and treatment oral care services for people who are unable to accept routine dental care because of some physical, intellectual, medical, emotional, sensory, mental or social impairment, or a combination of these factors. Special Care Dentistry is concerned with the improvement of oral health of individuals and groups in society who fall within these categories. It requires a holistic approach that is specialist led in order to meet the complex requirements of people with impairments. It pertains to adolescents and adults, as the care of children with disabilities and additional needs sits within the domain of the specialty of paediatric dentistry.

These pages detail the general professional and specialty-specific syllabus which can also be found in the full curriculum.

Specialty Syllabus Key:

Teaching and Learning Methods

EC=External Courses, MDC=Multi-disciplinary clinic, PW=Project work , SDL=Self-directed learning, ST=structured teaching

Assessment Methods

MSCD =Membership in Special Care Dentistry, PDP=Personal development portfolio, WBA= workplace-based assessment

General Professional Syllabus

The specialty curriculum in Special Care Dentistry states the content and expected experiences in a variety of primary care, hospital, and community settings. It describes the process of achieving the learning outcomes of specialty training in Special Care Dentistry. The curriculum details the structure and methods of learning, teaching, assessment and feedback. The knowledge, skills and attitudes required to be a specialist in Special Care Dentistry and for the acquisition of a CCST are set out within the curriculum.

The details of the supervision requirements of a specialty training programme are included in 'The Dental Gold Guide' Section 7 [3] and the competencies, experience and performance of the specialty registrar will be monitored through the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). The ARCP can inform the Educational Supervisor (ES) and Training Programme Director (TPD) of potential shortfalls in learning experience so that these may be addressed.

The trainee must have demonstrated compliance with Standards for Dental Professionals laid down by the General Dental Council [7] as advised in the 'The Dental Gold Guide' Section 7.31 [3]. The generic learning outcomes specified in this specialty curriculum relate to the management of adolescents and adults who fulfil the criteria of requiring Special Care Dentistry as defined previously in the introduction.

The three year specialist training programme in Special Care Dentistry will include experience and study in the following key areas:

  1. Biological sciences of relevance to Special Care Dentistry
  2. Concepts of impairment, disability, functioning and health
  3. Behavioural sciences
  4. Impairment, disability and oral health
  5. Oral health care and oral health promotion for specific people / population groups with impairment and disability
  6. Oral health care planning for the individual
  7. Clinical Special Care Dentistry
  8. Legislation, ethics and clinical governance
  9. Research, statistics and scientific writing

A substantial part of the theoretical aspects of the training programme may be delivered through attendance at a University based course, either through direct attendance or through participation in a distance learning course.

In addition, the trainee will occupy a training post that is structured to provide her/him with supervised experience in a variety of hospital and community settings.

Formal completion of training will be marked by satisfactory summative assessment and success in the Membership in Special Care Dentistry. Ideally, this will be a Tricollegiate Membership in Special Care Dentistry.

The curriculum Appendix provides further detail on how individual learning outcomes may be assessed.