The GDC currently recognises 13 various fields of dentistry with regards to their specialist register. You are not required to join a specialist list to practise a specialty, however, only dentists on these specialist lists have the right to use the ‘specialist’ title. In this series of articles you can find out more about each specialty from experts in their respective fields, with advice on the career pathway as well as sharing their experiences as a specialist.

Paediatric Dentistry involves the comprehensive therapeutic oral health care for children from birth through adolescence, including care for those who demonstrate intellectual, medical, physical, psychological and/or emotional problems.

In the following article Caroline Campbell, Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, discusses how you can establish a career in this field.


Caroline Campbell MSc, BDS, MFDS RCPSG, M Paed Dent (Ed), FDS Paed Dent (Gla)

Department of Paediatric Dentistry
Glasgow Dental Hospital and School
Tel: 0141 2119662
Email: or

Where have you worked and studied?

Igraduated in 1996 from the University of Glasgow and took part in the first GPT scheme in Tayside-Scotland. My GPT consisted of VT in Coupar Angus, community dental service (CDS) in Aberdeen and a SHO hospital post in Dundee Dental Hospital and School (DDH&S) (Ortho/Paeds and oral surgery). I then worked for a further year in Tayside working again within both the CDS Perth and hospital dental settings DDH&S. This further year as an SHO in restorative dentistry and 6 months in CDS enabled me to develop my CV and complete my community VT.  I then worked in Bristol for a year gaining further experience with both 6 months posts in Paediatric Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry. I obtained my MFDS which had recently become available whilst in Bristol. A further years CDS locum post in Glasgow and 6 months in a staff grade post at Glasgow Royal Hospital for Sick were completed prior to starting Specialist Registrar training in Paediatric Dentistry in 2002. In 2004 I obtained my MSc by Research (a RCT on G.A. preparation techniques) and M Paed Dent (RCSEd). Consultant training and FDS Paed Dent (RCPSG) were completed in 2008 (part-time). In 2008 I was appointed as a Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry at Glasgow Dental Hospital and School with a Role in undergraduate training. I have a special interest in the treatment of dentally phobic children. In 2008 training in medical hypnosis was undertaken and in 2009 a Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner qualification.

What is Paediatric Dentistry?

Paediatric Dentistry is the practice, teaching and research into the comprehensive and therapeutic oral health care for children from birth to adolescence, including care for children who demonstrate intellectual, medical, physical, psychological and/or emotional problems.

A typical day…

One positive aspect regarding my job is there is no such thing as a typical day. The variety is of course what keeps it interesting and challenging. A day may consist of academic research meetings, teaching and clinical work. From an NHS viewpoint I assess and treat phobic adolescents at Gartnavel Hospital with IV sedation, Assess and treat patients with complex medical conditions at Royal Hospital for Sick Children and use advanced behaviour management techniques to treat and care for children who require all aspects of specialist care from a consultant paediatric dentist. I also teach paediatric dentistry in both the hospital and community setting. Running a department with consultant colleagues over three sites and being involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate training also results in a varied working week.


Entry Requirements

To get onto a specialty programme you will need to demonstrate broad experience in general dentistry including hospital, community and general dental practice. A two-year foundation training programme or an equivalent scheme would give the desired range of experience. In addition, a maxillo-facial post is highly desirable as is some additional experience of treating children. MFDS is desirable and due to the competitive nature probably a good idea to obtain. To make your CV more attractive it would be helpful to carry out some audit projects during your early training and to have one or two published articles to your name, especially paediatric related. You might also keep a log of paediatric experience and sedation experience. You can also attend local British Society of Paediatric Dentistry meetings to learn more about the range of the specialty and meet colleagues with similar interests.

(Please note that the above is merely a guide, it is strongly recommended to check the essential and desirable criteria listed in the person specification provided for specific specialty training posts (StR). An exemplar person specification can be found in the ‘Further Information’ section at the bottom of the page.)

Training pathway:

To be recognised as a specialist in paediatric dentistry in the UK you must be registered on a specialist list held by the General Dental Council. This requires a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in paediatric dentistry which can be achieved by applying for a specialty registrar training post on a recognised paediatric dentistry training programme. Posts are available in the hospital dental service as well as with a number of programmes linked with the salaried dental service.

To qualify as a specialist you must successfully complete your supervised training programme and pass the Membership in Paediatric Dentistry examination. It is expected that a trainee who enters a full-time paediatric dentistry programme with no relevant prior training in the specialty will become qualified in three years. Part-time specialty training is also possible and would usually be completed in around five years. You would be encouraged to undertake a research degree part-time to supplement your studies and develop further a solid research base.

There is also the opportunity to apply for an academic clinical fellowship programme which provides both a clinical and academic training environment designed to provide support for individuals who have potential for development as a researcher.

Career options after specialising…

Salaried Specialist in Paediatric Dentistry in Public Dental Service, working in private practice, or continued training to become a Consultant on the NHS or follow an academic career.


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