Hospital Dentistry

Data shows there are more than 2m hospital dentistry outpatient appointments annually in England, and more than 180,000 people are admitted to hospital  for dental procedures, either for an overnight stay or as a day case. 

More than 33,000 children aged nine and under have teeth extracted in hospital (2018-2019), with 87% of them admitted due to tooth decay.

Key areas of focus for the specialty are to improve equitable access to dentistry services, support improvements in oral health and prevention (especially in children), and to address workforce challenges across the patient pathway.

GIRFT’s specialty report makes a series of recommendations to enhance dental and oral care, focusing on referral management and triage systems, specialised Paediatric Surgery Operational Delivery Networks (ODNs) to support children’s oral health and improving data capture and coding.

Dr Elizabeth Jones OBE

Clinical Lead for Hospital Dentistry

Liz Jones OBE was appointed as the GIRFT national lead for hospital dentistry in 2017 and has visited more than 100 trusts to discuss their data on provision of dental services.

She was appointed Dean of Postgraduate Dentistry for London in 2003 to 2016, having worked in various hospitals across the city as a consultant orthodontist. She has been Lead Dean for Orthodontics and for Restorative Dentistry, and led on national recruitment to dental foundation training, which paved the way for other dental specialties to follow.

In 2015, Mrs Jones was awarded an OBE for Services to Dental Education. 

Useful information

GIRFT, along with the three chairs and co-chair of the clinical coding working groups for Oral Surgery ( Professor Judith Jones), Restorative Dentistry ( Professor Martin Ashley) and Paediatric Dentistry ( Professor Sondos Albadri and Dr Sarah McKaig) have published  booklets  to clarify the guidance on coding for those specialties of hospital dentistry.  This has been in conjunction with the relevant specialist societies and the Royal College of Surgeons. 

The coding guidance booklet for Orthodontics has also been updated and a new version published. The guidance has been developed for clinicians, clinical coders and other health professionals at secondary care trusts and aims to improve the quality of data and reduce unwarranted variation.

GIRFT hospital dentistry report urges better focus on oral health to reduce tooth extractions in children

Wide regional variation in the number of adults referred to hospital for simple extractions suggests regional variation across hospitals that provide complex procedures – many of which could be assigned to primary care providers.

Appropriate triage and referral of less complex dental cases to general dental practitioners (or a Level 2 service in primary care) could help free up hospital capacity and deliver significant cost efficiencies.

The report recommends that, in line with national dental commissioning standards, all specialties should have effective managed clinical networks (MCNs) that involve clinicians from hospital teams working alongside general dental practitioners, the community dental service, GPs and commissioners to support equitable access to treatment and a better patient experience. 

Find out more about GIRFT’s data-led approach and best practice resources:

In February 2021, GIRFT published its national speciality report for Hospital Dentistry:

Click above to view the pdf report

Watch the video about the Hospital Dentistry report…

Click above to play the Hospital Dentistry national report video

Hospital Dentistry Academy Resources