Internet Explorer and Edge browser users:
To download Word, Excel or PowerPoint files please right-click on the file you wish to download, and select 'Save target as...'

Oral healthcare in prisons and secure settings

The BDA is seeking to improve the working lives of dentists working in prisons and secure settings, improve working condtions for members, and promote improved oral health of this group of patients.

Associate dentist prison contracts - your views

We want to hear from dentists who currently work, or have previously worked, in a prison in England providing dental services.

We are in contact with NHS England and as we have concerns about the nature of some prison contracts and issues surrounding access to the NHS superannuation scheme and the associate benefits that it provides (e.g. maternity leave and sickness pay)

We would like to speak to you if you have currently, or have previously had, an issue with the nature of the contract issued to you, or your ability to access superannuation.
If you think you have been affected by either of these issues please get in touch.

Commissioning dental care in secure settings

NHS England and Public Health England are working on creating a national commissioning guide and service specification for commissioning dental care in secure settings. Both the BDA and National Association of Prison Dentistry UK (NAPDUK) have been able to comment on early versions of the guide and provide expert comment and opinion.
This piece of work began in spring 2018 and is still ongoing.
A review of dental commissioning in health and justice commissioning teams is also ongoing.

Improving oral health in prisons


In May 2018 the BDA and NAPDUK submitted a joint response to the Health and Social Care Parliamentary Select Committee on their inquiry into prison healthcare in England.  
This built on many of the themes included in our response to NICE in November 2014.
Our key messages were:
  • On entry to prison, the healthcare interview should include an assessment for dental issues
  • Specific  training for dental care teams in a prison setting is imperative, and particularly for new practitioners in these settings
  • The patients' dental records should transfer with the patient to ensure continuity of care


Our key messages were: 
  • Routine dental treatment should be given to prisoners on remand or sentenced for less than 12 months not just urgent dental care.
  • More investment in a proper IT system
  • More dental resource in prisons to ensure appropriate capactiy of service provision
  • Reduced waiting times for patients

Getting dental care on the agenda

In November 2014, we responsed to NICE draft scope on ​​physical health of people in prisons.​ We used many of the messages from the 2012 work to support dentists to work in these settings.
Unfortunately many of our recommendations were ignored and dental care remains outside of the scope for this NICE guideline.
We continue however to press our messages on the importance of integrating oral health into the mainstream prison healthcare journey for patients.

What needs to change: healthcare in prisons

In 2012, we published our recommendations on improving oral healthcare in prisons and secure settings:

​Working for you

We campaign on a range of issues affecting dentists and dentistry today.


We make sure that dentists' views are represented when it comes to health policy being developed by government and other key organisations.

With each new member, our voice and our influence grows.

Add your voice, join today.