Oral health improvement plan

This document sets out the future of oral health improvement and NHS dental services in Scotland.


A range of payments made to eligible General Dental Practitioners and dental practices, These include maternity, paternity and adoptive leave payments to General Dental Practitioners and reimbursement of non-domestic rates and rent to practices.

Capitation Payments
A monthly payment made to dentists for each registered child (0-17 years), to cover dental examination and a set range of treatments.

A national programme which combines targeted and universal approaches to tackling children’s oral health improvement in Scotland through the programme’s four components (Core, Nursery, School and Practice).

Clinical Quality Monitoring
Collective term for systems which ensure patients receive appropriate high quality NHS dental care in Scotland.

Consultant in Dental Public Health ( CDPH)
Take an epidemiological approach to improving health, planning services and advising Boards on strategy.

Dental Advisor
A dentally qualified member of the Practitioner Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland who will decide, after examination of a patient, that a course of treatment which will be of high cost to the NHS is in the best interest of the patient. This is known as ‘prior approval’, the current prior approval limit is £390.

Dental Care Professionals ( DCP)
A collective term for dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists, orthodontic therapists, dental technicians and clinical dental technicians.

Dental Examination
A routine inspection of the teeth and surrounding soft tissues of the oral cavity.

Dental Reference Officer ( DRO)
A dentally qualified member of the Scottish Dental Reference Service who monitors the standard and quality of NHS dental treatment by inspecting a patient’s mouth, either before extensive work is carried out or after it.

A collective term for General Dental Service and Public Dental Service dentists. Depending on the context, this can also include Hospital Dental Service dentists.

Domiciliary Care
NHS dental care that is provided in the person’s home or a care home setting.

Enhanced skills
Advanced clinical skills in relation to patient assessment, examination, diagnosis and treatment provision in a primary care setting.

General Dental Council ( GDC)
Regulatory body for dental professionals in the UK.

General Dental Services ( GDS)
Legal terminology for NHS dental services in Scotland provided by General Dental Practitioners, Dental Bodies Corporate and Public Dental Service dentists on behalf of NHS Boards.

Health and Social Care Partnerships ( HSCPs)
Constituted under the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014, primary function relates to the strategic planning and commissioning of health and social care services provided by Local Authorities and NHS Boards.

‘High Street’ environment
Most general dental services are provided in a primary care setting, that is, through general dental practices which are found throughout Scotland often in areas where there are many people passing; hence the ‘High Street’.

Hospital Dental Service ( HDS)
Secondary care NHS dental services for treatment of patients on referral from medical and dental practitioners.

Intravenous sedation
When a drug is administered into the blood system during dental treatment to induce a state of deep relaxation. The patient will remain conscious and will also be able to understand and respond to requests from the dentist.

Listing arrangements
If a dentist or a Dental Body Corporate wishes to provide general dental services on behalf of a Health Board they must first apply to join the Health Board’s Dental List. Listing arrangements are the processes in place to allow this to happen.

Minor oral surgery
Smaller surgical operations which include removing wisdom teeth, impacted teeth, and severely broken-down teeth, as well as apicectomies, certain biopsies and other procedures. These can be undertaken in a primary care setting and do not require general anaesthesia.

NHS Commitment Criteria
A practice that meets certain commitment criteria in terms of numbers of patients and General Dental Services activity is entitled to certain allowances. For example, for a non-specialised practice to be “ NHS committed”, General Dental Services must be provided to all categories of patient, with an average of at least 500 registered patients per dentist (100 of whom should be fee-paying adults), and average gross earnings per dentist of £50,000 or more in a given period of 12 months.

National Health Service (General Dental Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2010
Regulations that govern the arrangements for the provision of General Dental Services in Scotland.

Oral Health Inequalities
Oral health inequalities are avoidable differences in oral health status between groups of people within a population. These are often due to inequalities in social and economic conditions and their effects on people’s lives which determines their risk of oral disease, the actions they are able to take to prevent disease or their access to treatment when it occurs.

Oral Health Risk Assessment ( OHRA)
A comprehensive assessment of the oral health of the patient with a particular emphasis on a preventive, long-term approach that is risk-based and meets the specific needs of individual patients. The Oral Health Risk Assessment also aims to encourage the involvement of patients in managing their own oral health.

Patient Charges
Unless entitled to free NHS dental treatment or help towards the cost, an adult patient is required to pay a percentage of their NHS dental treatment cost up to a set maximum per course of treatment. The Scottish Government meets the remaining costs. Children under 18 years of age receive free NHS dental treatment.

Periodontal care
Periodontal care is the treatment required by patients to treat periodontal disease; which is itself the result of untreated gingivitis. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to receding gums, loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Public Dental Service ( PDS)
Dentists who are directly employed by the NHS Board, their primary function is the provision of NHS dental treatment to people with special care needs.

Restorative Care
Restorative care involves the dentist replacing missing teeth or repairing damaged tooth structure due to decay, deterioration of a previously placed restoration, or fracture of a tooth. Examples of restorations include; fillings, crowns, bridges and dentures.

Scottish Dental Practice Board ( SDPB)
Statutory Body responsible for the authorisation of item of service fees to General Dental Practitioners and practices providing General Dental Services in Scotland.

Statement of Dental Remuneration ( SDR)
Statement that includes all items of treatment that can be provided under General Dental Services, and allowances payable to General Dental Practitioners and dental practices providing General Dental Services in Scotland.

Third Sector Organisations
A term used to describe the range of organisations that are neither public sector nor private sector. It includes voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, self-help groups and community groups), social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives.


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