Update: The Specialist Advisory Committee (SAC) who assess applications for entry onto the specialist list on the basis of academic or research work have requested a temporary pause on these types of applications as a result of COVID-19. We will update the website once the SAC are ready to resume individual assessment of specialist list assessment applications.
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 that list.
You can find a specialist by searching the GDC register.
The specialist lists exist to:
- indicate those dentists who possess recognised specialist knowledge, skills and attitudes
- protect patients by identifying those dentists who are recognised as specialists
- promote high standards of care by dentists qualified to use a specialist title
- encourage postgraduate education.
What fields can dentists specialise in?
There are 13 specialist lists. Dentists on these lists have met minimum standards of training, as 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.
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. 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 of prosthodontics, periodontics and endodontics
Care for oral health 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. A clinical specialty undertaken by laboratory-based personnel.
Treatment and ongoing management of irregularities and pathology of the jaw and mouth that require surgical intervention. Includes the specialty previously called Surgical Dentistry.
Concerns 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 with physical, mental and psychological problems.
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders (infections and inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
Concerns 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
Concerns improvement of the oral health of individuals and groups with physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability.
Entry on to the lists
If you wish to apply to join one or more of the specialist lists, please download the relevant application form. To be listed 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:
- Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Dental Public Health
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Oral Medicine
- Oral Microbiology
- Oral Surgery
- Paediatric Dentistry
- Restorative Dentistry
- Special Care Dentistry
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.
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
We are currently reviewing our processes 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. Information about this work will be published over 2020.
In the meantime, if you are thinking of applying under this route, please refer to the GDC's guidance for assessed applications on the basis of academic or research work.