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Dental Speciality Practice Options for UK Dentists and Non EEA Dentists - UK-8

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

“For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? And Why not me? Why not now?”-James Allen

Photo Courtesy - @indykadeer

Specialism is knowing enough to know what all can possibly go wrong, anticipate it and avoid it before you start treatment!! We learn with experience and quicker with failures - the truth of life!!!

  • The GDC states '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 speciality, but you can only use the title 'specialist' if you are on the list'.

  • Implantology is not a separate speciality and is a part of oral surgery, periodontics, prosthodontics and restorative dentistry, so the title' implantologist' cannot be used in any advertising or marketing in the UK, likewise, cosmetic dentist /aesthetic dentist is not a speciality.

  • You can be a dentist with special interest if you have sufficient experience in a field like a master's from another country called DWSI. So you can be a DSWI in implantology/endodontics/oral surgery.

There are 13 specialist lists on the GDC.

The curriculum expected is listed under each category which will be covered by the respective membership exams which include theory, case presentations and viva.

The number of registrants in each category can be found on the 'Registration reports' page of the GDC.

If you want to get onto the register you will have to

  • Do a postgraduate degree with a National Training Number(NTN)

  • Get on a- Certificate of Completion of Specialist training - CCST approved registrar training pathway like for the doctors - usually in hospital-based posts like restorative, maxillofacial, oral surgery, oral pathology, oral medicine - very few hospitals have such posts and it is much sought after, but everything is possible if you put your mind to it.

  • Show adequate paperwork to support your application at the end of your course with evidence of training needs being met. (this is quite possible and I know people who have done it this way, but you need to be very proactive, and complete all the required paperwork from the start of the master's programme - it is not impossible but it is hard work keeping on top of it. If you join any of the 3 year full-time courses/ equivalent in the UK, you may be eligible with a lot of paperwork, feel free to contact me once you join a course like that, I would be happy to guide you.

  • Registrants who have not successfully completed a formal speciality training post, but who have a portfolio of academic and research work that can be tested for equivalence

  • At the end of the training, you must get complete the respective membership exam from one of the colleges to get onto the register.

  • You can find more detailed guidance on each separate speciality and the paperwork needed for each of these lists.

Equivalence of speciality training

  • It is difficult to get equalisation and entry onto the specialist list even if you have a post-graduate degree from another country. You will have to work in a registrar post/teaching post in the same field and built- up your portfolio with all the required paperwork needed to show your competence to be added to the list.

  • There are different criteria for each speciality which is given in detail in the guidance by the GDC.

  • The application forms are of 3 types and the guidance for each is different.

  • Until you are added to a specialist list you can use the title as 'Dentist with special interest' as mentioned in the GDC guidelines on advertising.

Career pathways for speciality training in UK as a hospital registrar.

The pathway for UK graduates or UK registered dentists , is to complete the DCT (Dental Core training) , and then to have 2 years of post graduation experience, would be good to have a membership exam under your belt and then best to work as an SHO in the field you would like to continue - it makes your CV strong , shows your interest clearly and also helps you to understand if this is a field you would like to pursue.

I have come across some good articles on the BDA website which I shall link below for the pathway for each of the specialty if you wanted to have a look at them for joining the specialist list. The other pathway would be like how I have done - do a masters program , do the required paperwork.

The career pathways for hospital based registrar pathways on the BDA website is given in detail .

NATIONAL RECRUITMENT FOR DENTAL SPECIALTIES - All applications must be made via Oriel

The Role of NACPDE for helping Non EEA /Overseas Dentist

  • The NACPDE is housed at the Faculty of Dental Surgery at RCS England. It provides information and support to non-EEA qualified dentists about working in the UK, the postgraduate and specialist dental training opportunities available to them, as well as the avenues open to them to achieve postgraduate dental degrees and diplomas in the UK.

  • This collaboration is encouraged by the UK Government via its Government Authorised Exchange programme, whereby non EEA national dentists, with a specialty relevant postgraduate dental degree, can obtain International Training Fellow hospital posts of up to two years’ duration on a Tier 5 visa.

Medical Training Initiative / Tier 5 Programme - This is a great opportunity for dentist with post graduate qualifications from India to come to UK.

  • Tier 5 International Training Fellows

  • The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) of the Royal College of Surgeons of England is able to sponsor suitably qualified postgraduate dentists to come to the UK for clinical training in approved hospital training posts.

  • All enquiries must be made via the NACPDE - email:

  • The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) is a national scheme designed to allow a small number of postgraduate doctors and dentists to enter the UK from overseas for a maximum of 24 months, so that they can benefit from training and development in NHS services before returning to their home countries.

  • Through the MTI, suitably experienced and qualified trainee dentists from countries outside the European Union are offered the opportunity to learn from experienced consultants within the UK National Health Service hospitals.

  • The MTI Scheme was established by the UK Department of Health in February 2009 as an immigration category under the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) class of the points based immigration system.

  • The Tier 5 GAE permits entry to the UK for overseas nationals coming to undertake exchanges or educational initiatives sponsored by government departments.

  • All details on the RCS page.

Good Career Advice

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