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What is Special about Special Care patients? 

Project details

First supervisor: Dr Sasha Scambler

Second supervisor: Dr Koula Asimakopoulou

Sponsor: n/a

Funding available: Self-funded.

Duration of award: 3 years if full-time.

Mode of study: Full-time or part-time.

Start date:  Open until suitable candidate is found.

Application deadline:  Open until suitable candidate is found.

Reference number:  2021/DOCS/02.

Project description

There is no doubt that the majority of disabled people are, and should be, receiving dental treatment in the community within general dental practices.  A small, but significant, number of patients are still referred regularly for specialist care from Special Care Dentistry Teams, however, and this study sets out to examine who these special care patients are and what it is that makes them special.   A range of broad definitions of Special Care Dentistry have been suggested such as that proposed by Gallagher & Fiske:

“The improvement of oral health of individuals and groups is society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of a number of these factors.” (2007: 619)

This definition is deliberately all encompassing to enable a whole range of people who GDPs are unwilling or unable to treat or who feel unable to seek treatment in general dental surgeries for health or social reasons to be treated elsewhere.   There is an assumption, thus, that special care dentistry only treats those people who are considered more severely disabled or who have complex medical and/or social needs which need to be addressed in specialist environment by specially trained dental teams.     This study sets out to discover whether this is, in fact, the case and will explore the patient profile of patients referred to, and accepted for treatment by Special Care Dentistry Departments.

Person specification

  • An interest in social and behavioural sciences would be an advantage.
  • An interest in disability.
  • Research skills.

Research training

 Candidates will develop and enhance their skills in:

  • Qualitative research training.
  • Quantitative research training.
  • Systematic review training.

To view entry requirements and further general information, see Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD prospectus page.

Next steps

Please apply online at following these steps:

  1. Register a new account/login.
  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application.
  3. Enter ‘Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time)/(Part-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study.
  4. Select a start date from the list under Entry requirements on this webpage.
  5. Please note: Applicants must include the project reference number (2021/DOCS/02) in the 'Research proposal' and 'Funding (point 5)' sections of the application.

Applications must be received by the deadline specified in this listing.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss projects with the first supervisor prior to submitting an application. 

Contact for further information

Name: Dr Sasha Scambler


Related Centre: Centre for Host-Microbiome Interactions

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