Clarifying the Confusion : What is A Specialist Dentist?

2013 July 2

Not all dentists are specialists in the field in which they practice or provide dental services. This can often cause confusion and be misleading to the general public who may not know the difference between a dentist who practices or provides specialist dental services yet may not actually be a specialist dentist.

Any dentist who is registered with the GDC can practice and provide dentistry in a dental speciality, however they cannot represent or call themselves a specialist dentist unless they have met certain training requirements and are a consultant included on a speciality list. In order to become a specialist in any particular area of dentistry, the dentist needs to have undertaken many years of training in his particular field, undertaken exams and finally but crucially, be included on the specialist register.

To be included on the specialist dentist register, the specialist dentist requires to  carry the Diploma of Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) as a qualification and additional qualifications may also be necessary. To qualify as a specialist, the dentist must undertake an additional and intensive training programme working as a specialist registrar in a hospital whilst continuing postgraduate academic study at a university. This training can take up to five years , has to be approved by the Specialist Advisory Committee and when successfully completed, allows the dentist to be included on the General Dental Council’s Specialist list and become a Membership or an Intercollegiate Fellowship with the Royal Colleges of Surgeons.

Specialist dentists then provide their services from a specialist dental practice or from a hospital.

Sometimes, dentists call themselves a dentist with a Special Interest (DWSI) but this should not be confused with a Specialist Dentist. Dentists with specialist interest are not specialists in their field but they can offer a variety of dental treatments, cosmetic and otherwise, alongside their general dental treatments.

Dentists with specialist interest ( DWSIs) do not replace a Specialist Dentist or a Consultant Dentist  and DWSI’s may have to refer patients to a Specialist or a Consultant when the dental treatment is beyond their scope of clinical expertise.

You may have to be referred to a specialist dentist for treatments such as a severe infection of the tooth which may require root canal treatment.

Contact us for more information on root canal treatment and specialist dental services from our dentist in Derby Richard Milner

Richard Milner has treated patients at our dental surgery who have travelled for specialist dental treatment from all over the East Midlands.

Our dental surgery in Derby is the official dentist to Derby County Football Club and Derby County Cricket Club.


One Response leave one →
  1. Dean Wirght permalink
    July 2, 2013

    Great clarification on the difference of a specialist in dentistry. That should clear up any confusion and make it easier for the patient to differentiate between the two.

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