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Special Care Dentistry


The professional doctorate in Special Care Dentistry runs over three years, full-time. It is possible for the course to be offered as part-time flexible study (3 days per week) over five years. The programme is delivered by a team of renowned experts in their field and by the end of the programme students will be confident and competent to provide oral healthcare for people with a wide range of complex needs using the full range of behavioural and pharmacological support. In their first year, in addition to modules in the Dublin Dental University Hospital, students follow selected modules as part of the MSc in Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, in the School of Psychology in University College Dublin. Clinical rotations take place in partner hospitals in Dublin enabling students to experience hospital dentistry and provide care within multi-disciplinary care pathways. The course includes training in conscious sedation and on graduation students will be certified by Dublin Dental Hospital to carry out conscious sedation according to contemporary Dental Council Regulations. The teaching and learning will be apportioned broadly as follows: 60% clinical, 40% didactic. Each student is assigned a research supervisor and co-supervisor to enable their research project. The total ECTS to be applied to this course is 270 credits of which 90 will be attributed to the research project.


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

  • Concepts of health, impairment and disability
  • Conditions leading to impairment and disability
  • Sociology of health, impairment and disability
  • The impact of impairment and disability on oral health, general health and quality of life
  • The impact of oral health on impairment/disability, general health and quality of life
  • Planning and management of health and related service delivery
  • Management and delivery of oral health care
  • Development of oral health care promotion programmes
  • Provision of appropriate dental care based on the development of skills for history taking, examination, diagnosis, treatment planning and delivery of clinical dentistry for patients with a range of disabilities and complex medical conditions
  • The use of behaviour management, local analgesia, conscious sedation and general anaesthesia
  • Links with other specialties and inter- professional and inter- disciplinary working
  • Life support skills and management of medical emergencies
  • Legislation and ethics relevant to dental practice and, in particular, to Special Care Dentistry
  • Clinical governance, audit and research

Applications to the programme can be made here.