Special Care Dentistry Curriculum


Special Care Dentistry is the provision of oral health care services for people who are unable to accept/receive routine dental care because of a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional, or social impairment or disability or a combination of these factors. The specialty focuses on adolescents and adults and includes the important period of transition as the young person moves into adulthood and adults move into frail older age.

The outcome of the special care dentistry specialty curriculum is to produce at certification a specialist with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to plan, facilitate and provide high quality comprehensive oral care for people with complex and/or additional needs in a variety of settings. Trainees will be expected to have a detailed understanding of disability and of the environmental, social, medical, and psychological issues in relation to health behaviour, oral health, oral function, and quality of life. On successful completion of this specialty training, they will be appropriately trained as a specialist in the planning of care and provision of dental treatment for patients with complex needs, under local anaesthesia, conscious sedation or general anaesthesia in primary, secondary or tertiary care.

The curriculum is GDC-approved across the UK for training dental trainees in Special Care Dentistry and demonstrates how Special Care Dentistry meets the GDC’s Principles and Criteria for Specialist Listing. This standards-driven, transparent approach protects patients, the public, employers, and others through preparation of dentists to deliver high quality, safe, patient, and public-centred care as specialists within the UK healthcare system. The curriculum addresses the requirements for the dental care of patients with complex and/or additional needs, the population requiring special care dentistry and strategic health services. Successful candidates will be eligible to apply for inclusion on the GDC specialist list for special care dentistry.

This curriculum was produced to update the initial curriculum which was published in 2012. It focuses on refining the number of learning outcomes to facilitate the development of training programmes and new posts and to allow trainees to map their progress against both generic and specialty-specific higher level learning outcomes.