By: Maysa Hattab
Revisiting the perennial, occasionally contentious subject of free (or almost free) continuing dental education from a wintry northwest England by way of Ignite HQ, this time for those practicing in the UK, or anyone considering a move here.
What’s the difference?
Dental CPD Requirements Across the UK
Unlike local board requirements stateside, the core Enhanced Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for dentists across the UK nations (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) follow your professional and training needs, alongside the General Dental Council’s Standards for Dental Professionals and list of recommended topics. Though it’s worth remembering, for the devolved nations, like Scotland and Wales, there’s a little regional variation in topics like infection control.
You’ll need to meet a minimum threshold of verifiable CPD hours per 5-year cycle, depending on your role to maintain your registration with the General Dental Council, a requirement for practicing dentistry in the UK.
Not sure what’s verifiable? Find out more, here.
You’ll also need to maintain a Professional Development Plan (PDP) complete with measurable goals and reflections on your learning. Many CPD providers, as well as indemnity organizations, offer free online and offline templates for this.
OR you could indulge in more old-fashioned spreadsheet fun to manage your hours and reflections.
As the annual deadline for CPD and indemnity declarations approaches for another year (for dentists, fellow dental care professionals need to declare in July), here’s part two of our handy index for as much free CPD as we could find on the web in 2021, indexed and linked by topic.
- Medical Emergencies
- Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults
- Dental Ethics and Record-Keeping
- Infection Control
- Mouth Cancers
- Radiation Protection
- Periodontal, Endodontics, Surgical, and Implants
4everlearning.com – offers learning on medical emergencies, safeguarding, and mouth cancer as well as a PDP template, as part of a 14-day free trial.
Access a range of online CPD from MyDentalCPD.com here, as part of a year’s free trial.
Though aimed at a variety of professionals, content from the Resus Council UK sits alongside face-to-face life support training for your dental team, part of a blended e-learning range:
Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults:
Per advice from the British Dental Associations, a number of organizations exist at the national and local level, providing safeguarding training for dental teams, at low or no cost:
e-LFH (from NHS England) offers free online Level 1 and Level 2 training (though you’ll need to register with a work address to access), with a blended program for Level 3, suitable for your safeguarding lead:
Dental Ethics and Record Keeping:
Usually priced at £10, you can complete this verifiable course from dental supply firm Wrights using their latest free CPD promo code. Find out more here.
It’s also worth seeking out content from your indemnity provider – Dental Protection and MDU/DDU, as well as smaller indemnity providers’ sites, feature free ethics, consent, and record keeping learning for members.
Learn More: Importance of Dental Records
Though many of the other CPD links here include content on infection control, here’s one more, from the UK Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors and Schulke.
Dentisan also publishes a semi-regular series of CPD articles on aspects of infection control (around 30 minutes’ worth of CPD – you can also join their mailing list for alerts on new CPD content.
More from mydentalcpd, on mouth cancer: https://www.mydentalcpd.co.uk/oral-cancer.html
Developed alongside the Oral Cancer Toolkit, from Cancer Research UK – this one’s free to all dental professionals, but you’ll need to register to gain access: register here.
Though free training is available on this topic using some of the links above, like e-LFH, this live offering from PHE covers the full mandatory training needed per 5-year cycle, for all members of the dental team – 5 hours of CPD broken down into weekly installments, delivered by Public Health England’s Dental X-ray Protection Service (DXPS).
This course, currently priced at £72, can be completed from specified dates, online: check it out here.
One of several well-known providers of face-to-face restorative training in the UK, The Dominic Hassall Institute launched a free online course for email subscribers this year – including 6 hours of content, though it’s unclear from the course description if this one’s verifiable. Though useful, clearly intended as a gateway drug to verifiable certificate and diploma courses.
Periodontal, Endodontics, Surgical, and Implants:
Once a scrappy up-and-comer in the dental CPD world, Dentinal Tubules continues to grow online and boasts a range of video content on clinical and non-clinical subjects, as well as an almost evangelical social media presence. Though membership is paid, there’s a 15-day free trial option for you and your practice team – it includes live clinical case demonstrations, like this one: https://www.dentinaltubules.com/videos/the-ukds-endodontic-series-live-clinical-case-of-a-lower-molar-root-canal-treatment
Continuing Education Webinars, podcasts and the (almost) free:
Once again, lots to explore from the Oral-B hosted CPD platform: much like its American cousin, the content library ranges from the highly contemporary to that which hasn’t been updated in a couple of years.
The brilliantly named DentalJuce offers enhanced CPD on core and more, for £89 per year at the time of writing, with reduced memberships for students – run by the Master’s team from the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham, UK, available to delegates worldwide. Also includes courses on managing TMD and lab simulations for student clinicians.
GSK has a limited number of free webinars, though much relates to their products, you’ll find occasional core subjects like smoking cessation, here.
Agilio iLearn (formerly Isopharm), while no longer free, offers its usual range of content for £36 a year.
I’ve recently been checking out the highly informative Protrusive Podcast from the effusive, self-confessed clinical geek Jaz Gulati. Free episodes, here.
Scattered amid short face-to-face courses from the Eastman Institute in London, you’ll find online content from around £50 on a variety of topics here.
Though usually payable, the various regional post-graduate education deaneries provide an increasing number of online courses to complement their face-to-face learning. Costs are nominal, but places are often limited, with mandatory registration restricting your access to courses run locally.
Where else can I find free educational content?
Many dental recruitment agencies also offer free, or low-cost learning for dental team members, even if they aren’t currently looking for a new role:
If you or your workplace use one of the many compliance services to help manage practice compliance, you’ll also find CPD on clinical and non-clinical subjects, like this one, from Appolline: https://www.apollinetraining.co.uk/course/ecpd/
While the online Dental Referrals pathway isn’t yet available nationwide, you’ll find an education section, with a small selection of verifiable CPD on compliance topics, trauma, and referral pathways for oral cancers.
Max Out Your Memberships
Saying it louder for those at the back: if you’re a member of a dental organization like the British Dental Association, the British Society of Periodontology, SAAD, or the newly minted College of General Dentistry, arising from dentistry breaking up with the Royal College of Surgeons, you can access free on-demand member-only content, too, which can have a value exceeding your annual membership costs. BDA members can also access free local face-to-face and online learning through their regional Branch and Section events.
You can also try Dentistry.co.uk’s new CPD hub for free, though the offer’s time-limited.
Find our guide useful? Found even more great dental CPD? Want to show us your beautiful, Insta-worthy PDP, complete with glitter ink, stickers, and cartoon hearts? Get in touch (photos optional)!
Maysa Hattab is a general dental practitioner and practice owner, with an interest in relative analgesia. Her family practice is majority private and based in northwest England. Outside of her practice: she reads widely and writes on a freelance basis. She has contributed to publications on books, film, and television.