The specialist lists exist to:
- ensure high standards of training and assessment qualifying dentists to use a specialist title
- indicate those dentists who possess recognised specialist knowledge, skills and attitudes
- protect patients against unwarranted claims to be a specialist
- facilitate appropriate referrals of patients
- promote high standards of care by dentists qualified to use a specialist title
- encourage postgraduate education.
The specialist lists are lists of registered dentists who meet certain conditions and are entitled to use a specialist title. You do not have to join a specialist list to practise any particular specialty, but you can only use the title 'specialist' if you are on the list.
You can find a specialist by searching the GDC register.
What fields can dentists specialise in?
There are 13 specialist lists. Dentists on these lists have been granted entry because they have met certain minimum standards of training. The routes for entry are determined by European and GDC regulations.
Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology
Involves all aspects of medical imaging which provide information about anatomy, function and diseased states of the teeth and jaws.
Dental Public Health
A non-clinical specialty involving the science and art of preventing oral diseases, promoting oral health to the population rather than the individual. It involves the assessment of dental health needs and ensuring dental services meet those needs.
The cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Diagnosis and assessment made from tissue changes characteristic of disease of the oral cavity, jaws and salivary glands. This is a clinical specialty undertaken by laboratory-based personnel.
Involves replacing missing teeth, repairing damaged teeth and extends to rehabilitation of the whole mouth, based on the three monospecialties prosthodontics, periodontics and endodontics.
Oral health care of patients with chronic recurrent and medically related disorders of the mouth and with their diagnosis and non-surgical management.
Diagnosis and assessment of facial infection, typically bacterial and fungal disease. This is a clinical specialty undertaken by laboratory-based personnel who provide reports and advice based on interpretation of microbiological samples.
The treatment and ongoing management of irregularities and pathology of the jaw and mouth that require surgical intervention. This includes the specialty previously called Surgical Dentistry.
The development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaw.
Comprehensive therapeutic oral health care for children from birth through adolescence, including care for those who demonstrate intellectual, medical, physical, psychological and/or emotional problems.
The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders (infections and inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
The replacement of missing teeth and the associated soft and hard tissues by prostheses (crowns, bridges, dentures) which may be fixed or removable, or may be supported and retained by implants.
Special Care Dentistry
The improvement of the oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of these factors. It pertains to adolescents and adults.
Entry to the lists
If you wish to apply to enter a specialist list, please refer to the relevant application form. To enter a specialist list, you must be eligible under one of the agreed entry criteria.
UK qualified-applicants: Certificate of completion of specialist training (CCST)
If you hold full GDC registration and have completed a specialist training programme approved by the GDC, you may apply for the award of a certificate of completion of specialist training (CCST) and entry onto the relevant specialist list.
Applications for approved training programmes must be submitted to your regional postgraduate dental dean who will monitor you throughout your period of training. At the end of your training you must hold the agreed qualification awarded by one of the three Royal Surgical Colleges: the Royal College of Surgeons England, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. You must fulfil all entry, training and assessment criteria to be eligible for the award of a CCST.
For information about the availability of training programmes in your area and information on how to apply, contact your local postgraduate dental deanery.
All other entry criteria
Please refer to the relevant application form and corresponding guidance notes detailing all other entry criteria for entry onto the specialist lists.
The GDC is responsible for approving all curricula for education and training in specialist dentistry. The content of the curricula themselves is developed by Specialty Advisory Committees who report to the relevant Dental Faculties of the Royal Colleges.
The following specialty curricula have been approved by the GDC:
Restorative dentistry, endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics
If you have completed a GDC-recognised specialist training programme and been awarded a CCST in restorative dentistry under the pre-2009 curriculum, you may also apply for a CCST and entry to the specialist lists in one or more of the former mono-specialties – endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics - provided you submit a separate application for each. For further information, please refer to our policy statement on restorative dentistry.
In 2019, we intend to start the process for the revision of specialty curricula and assessments with the relevant stakeholders.
Standards for Specialty Education
In 2015, the Council adopted the Standards for Specialty Education, for use in quality assuring specialty education in the UK. The Standards set quality requirements for all UK education and training programmes leading to inclusion on one of the GDC's specialist lists.
The current edition of the Standards for Specialty Education was published in January 2019 and can be found here. This revision was informed by the results of a pilot quality assurance process, and a public consultation.
The GDC began quality assuring specialty education and training programmes in 2019. More details of this will be shared shortly.
Consultation on specialist listing
In January 2019, the GDC published a consultation on the principles of specialist listing which can be found here. We invited comment on issues relating to the system of specialist listing, namely:
- revised purposes for specialist listing, setting out what the GDC expects listed specialties to fulfil, and criteria by which the GDC will determine which disciplines of dentistry should be listed
- principles for the addition and removal of specialist lists, and
- processes for maintaining accreditation on specialist lists.
Further policy work: assessed applications on the basis of equivalence
In 2019, we plan to consider other matters relating to specialist listing and policy, including the process for assessed applications to enter the specialist lists, by registrants who have not successfully completed a formal specialty training post, but who have a portfolio of academic and research work that can be tested for equivalence. In the meantime, if you are thinking of applying under this route, please refer to the GDC's guidance.