Workforce, training and education
Yorkshire and Humber

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. 

Specialists in this field of dentistry take a very holistic approach and work very closely with other professionals, in order to serve the individual’s needs and provide the best patient care.

Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber is delighted to offer training in Special Care Dentistry across two areas: North/West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.

Trainees experience a wide range of clinical environments, from domiciliary care to the surgical theatre. Special Care professionals can work alongside teams dealing with patients about to receive chemotherapy, and liaise with Restorative Consultants, Orthodontic Consultants, Paediatric Consultants and the Prison Service.

"We provide a challenging and exciting environment for those professionals who wish to extend the boundaries of patient care.  Dealing with complex situations and providing holistic care requires dedication and a large dose of common sense.  In my view, some life experience and excellent dental skills are very helpful for anyone embarking on a career in Special Care Dentistry".


Training Programme Director

Mr Michael Stanfield 


Curriculum and Training

The Sheffield Programme

Special care dentistry specialty training in Yorkshire and the Humber is characterised by a friendly, inclusive approach. Our strengths include the breadth and depth of experience of our specialist clinical trainers, their extensive links with both local and national networks via the Royal Colleges and Specialist Societies, together with close working partnerships with other health and social care providers, voluntary groups  and dental specialties and other local healthcare Trusts.   The aim is to provide a holistic and  patient centred approach in order to meet the service users’ widest needs.

Special care dentistry has a broad curriculum, and training is delivered by a combination of didactic teaching together with clinical attachments both within primary and secondary care. Trainees have the opportunity to treat patients with inhalation, oral and intravenous sedation and to develop competencies in behaviour therapy. They will deliver treatment in a variety of clinical situations, including community based clinics, on domiciliary visits to patients’ homes, nursing and residential settings, rehabilitation units, mental health units, homeless projects, and prisons or secure units, special schools, and specialist Consultant clinics. They will have a number of short attachments to other specialty medical clinics, together with the in-patient day case comprehensive special care dental lists in hospital theatres.  They have the opportunity to work with our management teams to gain competencies in management, commissioning and delivering high quality services in an efficient cost effective way for patient benefit. The Oral Health Promotion Teams work closely with the trainees to develop strategies and patient information to promote excellent oral health within special care groups

Trainees electronically record evidence and outcomes of training, clinical portfolio, learning agreements and professional development in a secure electronic format, (Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme ISCP) which is shared with their clinical and educational supervisors and Training Programme Director. Progression through training is assessed annually at the Annual Record Of Competence Progression (ARCP) meeting with NHSE YH, TPD and an SAC RCS(Eng) representative.

Trainees meet together on a regular basis together with consultants and specialists in special care dentistry for study days when they will receive teaching on aspects of the curriculum and have the opportunity to discuss cases together. 

Trainees are encouraged to complete the Diploma in Special Care Dentistry of either the English or Edinburgh Royal College of Surgeons during their training and benefit from a generous study leave allocation and budget to support this.  In addition trainees are supported in attending a variety of training and learning events as well as national conferences.  Trainees are also encouraged to present at a local, regional and national level.

Near the end of training the trainees will sit the tricollegiate Membership in Special Care Dentistry MSpec Care Dent and upon satisfactory completion of this and the HEYH training programme will eligible to register as Specialists in Special Care Dentistry.


The Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme Website

This site houses the curriculum for the dental specialties and, in a secure area, trainees’ electronic portfolios and the learning agreements which support training.

Consultants and other professionals who will be training, assessing and supervising training will also need to register.


Useful Links

Special Care Dentistry curriculum

British Society of Special Care Dentistry (BSDH)

User guides for ISCP are available here

Diploma in Special Care Dentistry DSCD RCS(Eng)

Diploma in Special Care Dentistry DSCD RCS(Ed)

Membership in Special Care Dentistry MSpec Care Dent



The Sheffield Programme

Trainees are encouraged to complete module DEN601 Research Methods in Clinical Dentistry (15 credits) delivered by the University of Sheffield. The unit aims to introduce students to patient-centred research methods and includes evidence-based dentistry, critical appraisal, research governance and ethics, quantitative and qualitative research methods, statistical appraisal of research reports

In addition trainees are encouraged to engage with appropriate existing research projects within the University of Sheffield, School of Clinical Dentistry and in the development of primary care research within special care dentistry 


"I am currently in my second year of training and have enjoyed the variety that this post has provided.  Training within a large team of Consultants and Specialists in Special Care Dentistry, each with their own interests in the field, has enabled me to gain both the knowledge and practical experiences required to develop a career in Special Care Dentistry.  In addition to providing the necessary elements of the curriculum this post has also encourage me to broaden my outlook on the ways of delivering Special Care Dentistry to individuals and groups in society."

Sheffield StR