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Restorative dentistry

Restorative dentistry involves the study, diagnosis and integrated management of diseases of the oral cavity, the teeth and supporting structures. It encompasses the dental so called restorative mono-specialties of endodontics, periodontics and fixed and removable prosthodontics.

​Restorative dentists use knowledge and skill in all of these specialties, working with other dental, medical and surgical specialists and other clinical colleagues, in the management of cases requiring complex, multi-faceted care, such as:

  • Patients affected by developmental disorders such as hypodontia, cleft lip and palate, aggressive periodontitis and amelogenesis imperfecta
  • Patients who have undergone radiotherapy and ablative surgery for the management of oral cancer
  • Patients who have had traumatic injuries to the face, mouth and teeth
  • Patients who have sustained damage caused by periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth attrition and acid erosion
  • Patients with severe medical and surgical problems to ensure the best treatment outcome

Entry onto a specialty training programme in restorative dentistry requires successful application through national recruitment. For more information on recruitment cycles, requirements and the application process please visit the COPDEND website.

Career pathway

Specialty training in restorative dentistry takes five years in a full-time training programme. Programmes may require completion of a postgraduate qualification such as MSc or equivalent, which may be self-funded.


Completion of training in restorative dentistry requires annual review of competency progression, successful completion of the Intercollegiate Specialty Fellowship Examination (ISFE) leading to award of Certificate of Completion Specialist Training (CCST). Previously, restorative trainees were entitled entry onto all four specialists lists: restorative dentistry, endodontics, prosthodontics and periodontics. New and current trainees undertaking the new restorative dentistry curriculum approved on 23 April 2009 are no longer automatically entitled entry onto all four specialists lists unless they can also demonstrate that they meet the requirements for entry onto those lists.


Specialists in restorative dentistry work as consultants or honorary consultants in university teaching hospitals, district general hospitals and community dental services. Specialists in restorative dentistry also provide services in private specialist practices and general dental practices.


Specialist training programmes in the monospecialties, must be for a period of three years or 4,500 hours. The trainee must then pass the Membership in Restorative Dentistry (Endodontics) (MRD(Endodontics)), for example, or equivalent prior to the recommendation for the award of a CCST in that monospecialty.


These specialists may work either in practice, hospital or community settings or a combination of them.

Monospecialty training posts are usually entirely self-funded apart from a few NIHR-funded research posts. Other than NIHR ACF posts there are no Health Education England (HEE)-funded monospeciality training posts in England. Currently, only self-funded Masters in monospecialties in London and a small number in Liverpool have NTNs, this is likely to decrease in future. Therefore, mediated entry will be the route required to gain access to the specialist list. This means demonstrating equivalence to formal training; further information can be obtained from the GDC.

Further information

  • Visit the RD-UK website
  • To get a taste for the specialty look to apply for DCT2 posts in restorative dentistry
  • Keep a logbook/portfolio of cases that you treat or see
  • Become involved in departmental audits
  • Apply for elective prizes and take the opportunity to learn as much as you can as a dental student. Most of the specialist societies have prizes for undergraduates and young dentists, check their websites for further information
  • To keep up-to-date join one/some of the specialist societies:
    BSRD, British Society of Restorative Dentistry
    BSSPD, British Society for the Study of Prosthetic Dentistry
    BES, British Endodontic Society
    BSP, British Society of Periodontology.