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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 part-time, over five years. 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. The teaching and learning will be apportioned broadly as follows: 60% clinical, 40% didactic. The didactic component will include a research dissertation. The total ECTS to be applied to this course is 270 credits of which 90 will be attributed to the research dissertation.


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
  • 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