Through the support of Health Education England and NHS England, our services are designed to benefit the local community and to improve access to NHS dental care across the South West. We operate 4 Dental Educational Facilities that are located at Derriford in Plymouth, Devonport in Plymouth, Exeter and Truro.

How Our Services Operate

Our services provide dental treatment to patients in an educational and learning environment. 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 and 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.


If you are currently registered with an NHS dental practice, we strongly advise that you do not de-register to become one of our patients.

How is it different to visiting a dental practice?

As we are an educational environment our clinics can often be very busy. Patients are treated in a bay of 8 dental chairs and there will often be many people assisting with your dental care including students, supervisors, Dental Nurses and occasionally other staff such as Dental Technicians who help with the provision of dentures (false teeth). All of these staff are present to ensure you receive high quality care in a safe environment.

Your appointments will take longer than if you were being treated in a dental practice and you may need more appointments to complete your treatment. This is because the students are learning and so work slower than a qualified clinician would. You may need to be treated by more than one student and you may be asked to attend at more than one of our clinics to receive your treatment.

Do I have to pay for treatment?

As treatment is provided by students, we do not charge for our services. However, we are unable to assist with travel expenses incurred from travelling to our sites.

Student working with team
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.

Can I choose which site I attend for my treatment?

If you attend a triage appointment in either Exeter or Truro your treatment will be carried out at the site that you attended the triage appointment. If you attend a triage appointment at either Derriford or Devonport, you may be asked to travel between both sites to meet the needs of students. Unfortunately, it is not possible for patients to choose which site they attend.

Dental Student
Patient Attendance

Not everyone will find our service suitable for their dental treatment provision because we are not able to guarantee fixed appointment times and appointments may be changed at short notice.
If you are unable to keep your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. We do operate a fail to attend policy which may result in PDSE being unable to continue providing treatment if appointments are missed.

It is extremely important for the dental students training requirements and for the provision of your treatment that you attend your appointments on a regular and consistent basis.

You can read our Patient Attendance Policy and information regarding Guaranteed Treatment and Continuation here.