Institute of Dentistry

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Foundation certificate in oral health education

Associated Centre/s:  Dental Care Professionals

The department has been providing high quality training for Dental Care Professionals for over twenty five years; this well established programme has recently been updated for those wishing to develop their potential as oral health promoters, or further their careers in other dental clinical disciplines.

Oral Health improvement is concerned with addressing the determinants of oral health in order to reduce disease inequalities through influencing individuals’, communities’ and populations’ behavioural patterns so as to maintain a disease free oral cavity. Oral Health is an essential component of overall health, and as such is of vital importance in maintaining one's general well being.

Aims of the programme

The general aims of the programme offered are to:

  • provide a programme that covers all aspects of oral health education and promotion, which will enable members of the dental team to take a leading role in the provision of oral health improvement
  • provide a recognised certificated course that will have currency within the various branches of dentistry & public health and strengthen and broaden the preventative roles of dental care professionals
  • facilitate the updating of information as and when required and to keep abreast of the developments in dentistry, public health and health policies related to health and oral health
  • facilitate students to develop their analytical skills and self motivation in areas of study or research
  • promote students to invest and contribute to the development of their chosen profession through improvement in oral health

The principal learning outcomes of the programme are to:

  • equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver consistent, evidence based, oral health advice to members of the public using effective and appropriate communication techniques in a dental surgery setting
  • provide students with the knowledge and skills required to  work with other services and service providers, to deliver oral health promoting activities to those members of the public who may not access traditional dental care
  • encourage students to think broadly and to consider the determinants of oral  and general health when planning & delivering oral health promoting activities

Career prospects

Many past students who have successfully passed the Certificate in Oral Health Education have progressed onto taking up positions as oral health promoters within community environments; other individuals have remained in their general dental practice environments and have found greater fulfilment in their everyday life. Many successful graduates have utilised the skills and knowledge gained to progress onto further study to become clinical members of the dental team, such as studying dental hygiene and therapy.

Course Description

Course structure

The Foundation Certificate is a modular programme designed to ensure flexibility and the opportunity of undertaking verifiable continuing professional development while undertaking full time employment within dentistry. This programme requires attendance on a monthly basis for 12 months. There is no final examination, and as all coursework undertaken contributes to the final grade, this allows the student to ‘take ownership’ for their own studying and the final awarding grade.

The programme extends over 12 months of part-time study and consists of two compulsory modules both comprising a significant distance learning component. These are:

Module 1: Oral Health Education (15 credits at Level 3)

This core module is designed around six related units of study supported by linked assessments. Emphasis is placed on gaining related experience and study outside of the University which forms a significant aspect of this module. This module focuses on oral health improvement activities, specifically involving education methods, skills and techniques. It is designed to build on existing dental and general health knowledge of clinical prevention by approaching oral health from a broader societal view, rather than purely from a standpoint of individual risk factors and disease.

Module 2: Oral Health Promotion (15 credits at Level 3)

This core module is designed around six related units of study supported by linked assessments. The module supports students in order to develop their own oral health improvement interventions and programmes. It aims to encourage initiative and creativity through the practical and written assignments. This module focuses on oral health improvement from a broad public health perspective. It is designed to build on the existing knowledge and skills required for oral health education by exploring the determinants of oral and general health and inequalities in society. Evidence, theory and quality of oral health improvement practice are strong themes running throughout this module.

Learning and assessment

The taught course will be delivered by attendance one day a month with the students supported by weekly tutorial support available by appointment or telephone. All teachers on the programme possess a recognised teaching qualification.

Our Virtual Learning Environment supports the programme by the distribution of student handbooks, timetables and lecture/seminar teaching available off-site. The material for each day’s teaching is uploaded following the teaching day along with a list of key papers and other relevant materials to support individuals own learning

Library facilities: all students registered on the programme have access to the College libraries with additional on-line access. This gives access to a large number of relevant journals.

Formative assesment: informal verbal feedback will be available through individual tutorials. Additionally, students undertake individual oral health advice supported by their work-based mentor which provides the experience required for a number of summative assessments.

Summative assessment: each day of teaching has a summative element which is clearly identified in the student’s handbook, with an introduction and further discussion at the appropriate teaching session.  Each aspect of summative assessment provides accurate and developmental feedback; students have an opportunity to resubmit their work should they not reach the required standard.

Entry Requirements and General Procedure

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the start of the programme
  • Must a hold a registrable dental qualification
  • 12 months post qualification experience is preferred
  • IELTS score of 7 or higher (if English is not your first language)
  • A work-based mentor is required who can support you undertaking this programme. This may be a registered and/or qualified dental professional (e.g. dentist) or Dental Care Professional (DCP) and is likely to be your employer.

Fees and Funding

Fees for 2014/15: £850 payable in installments.


For more details and an application form please contact:

Mrs Esther Philogene
Centre Administrator
Tel: 020 7882 8157
Fax: 020 7247 7244

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