How our services operate 

Dental treatment is provided by Dental Students who work under the close supervision of qualified Dental Professionals called Clinical Supervisors.

We are only able to treat patients who are not currently registered with a dentist. We are not able to keep patients indefinitely, instead we provide one course of dental treatment before you are discharged. If you have previously been a patient, then you will not be eligible for further treatment with us.

Student working on patient

How can I become a patient? 

  • Adult patients must initially attend a triage appointment where your dental needs will be assessed by a Dentist to see if you are suitable for student treatment.
  • At the triage appointment you will be asked to complete a medical history form and a data sharing agreement.
  • At the end of the triage appointment you will be informed if you have been accepted or not and if you are accepted we will either book you an examination appointment with a student, or you will be given an approximate timeframe for when you will be contacted to book your examination appointment.

You will not be under our care until the point that you have attended your examination appointment. Adult patients are provided with one course of treatment and are then discharged, we recommend that you seek an alternative care provider whilst you are still a patient with us so that you do not have a lengthy break between care provision. 

We accept paediatric patients between the ages of 1 and 13 and we do not triage these patients. 

We run regular paediatric clinics in each of our four sites where we aim to create a child-friendly atmosphere to encourage children to become confident in visiting the Dentist.  We provide regular dental recall examinations for children and keep them in our system until their 16th birthday.   We recommend that you seek an alternative care provider whilst your child/children is still a patient with us so that there isn’t a lengthy break between care provision. 

Triage Appointments

Prior to acceptance for treatment, you will be invited to an initial ‘triage’ appointment at Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE). During your appointment one of our dentists will look at your dental health requirements to see if you are suitable for treatment with an undergraduate dental student.  

This triage appointment is not an examination. It is a simple assessment to ascertain if your treatment needs are suitable for a student to complete.

Unfortunately, not every patient will be offered treatment at PDSE. We endeavour to provide dental students with patients that meet their training needs. If your treatment need is not appropriate for their level of experience, or we feel it is not in your best interest to see a dental student then we will inform you of this at your triage appointment. If you are not accepted for treatment, this decision is not subject to appeal.

Please note that if you weigh in excess of 21 stone, we are currently unable to provide treatment. We are also unable to accept patients that are currently registered with a dentist and strongly advise that you remain with your current care provider as once your treatment is complete and you are discharged from our care, we are unable to provide ongoing care.

If you are accepted for treatment, there may be a wait between acceptance and allocation to a student for treatment. We are unable to provide any urgent care or treatment until you have attended your first appointment with a student. For more details on what to do in case of an emergency, visit our Emergencies page. 

We are unable to guarantee specific appointment times and dates as the students work to a university timetable which may be changed at short notice and due to treatment being completed by students, appointments will take much longer than with a qualified dentist as each stage of treatment needs to be carefully checked by a clinical supervisor. Appointments may be up to 2 hours and 45 minutes in length.  

There may be pauses with treatment over holiday periods including Christmas, Easter and for at least 8 weeks over the summer but if you are accepted for treatment, you are still able to access urgent care during these periods of closure  

As the students move between the Truro, Exeter and Plymouth facilities, you may need to be referred to a different student for your treatment to be continued or completed and therefore, you may be asked to attend appointments across all sites to enable the student to complete your course of treatment. We will of course do our utmost to accommodate your request to be treated at a specific facility, though in some cases this cannot be guaranteed.  

PDSE are only able to provide one course of treatment per patient. Once your treatment is complete and you are dentally fit, you will be discharged from our care, and you are advised to find a general dentist for ongoing care. If you have previously had treatment completed by us, you are unable to reregister for another course of treatment.

We recommend that if you have not already done so, you join the NHS waiting list for your area by calling 03330 063 300.