Patients with learning disabilities will be able to benefit from more accessible information about dentistry thanks to a new initiative from dental regulator the General Dental Council (GDC).

The GDC has launched ‘Smile EasyRead’, a patient information leaflet that explains the role of the GDC; what patients can expect at their visit to a dental professional; and what they can do if they’re unhappy with their experience.

It features larger font, pictures to support and help explain the text, shorter sentences and language that sounds natural when spoken.  

The final version of Smile EasyRead was user checked by the Making it Easier Group, who are experts in Easy Read, and gave the leaflet its seal of approval.

The GDC established a register of special care dentistry specialists in 2008. Special care dentistry is concerned with improving the oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or a combination of these factors.

Sukina Moosajee, the most recent registrant on the GDC's special care dentistry specialist list and a locum consultant in special care dentistry at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Smile EasyRead is comprehensive and easy to understand. It will help raise awareness among vulnerable patients and their carers about the standards of care they should be receiving from the dental team.”

Alison Keens, head of nursing and therapies - adults with learning disabilities at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust said: “People with learning disabilities need information to be provided in an accessible format. This excellent document will enable more people with learning disabilities to have a better understanding of and make more decisions about their own dental care.”

GDC chief executive and registrar, Evlynne Gilvarry, said: “We are committed to providing accessible information and services. We want all patients to be aware of what they should expect from their dental professional and how we can help if something goes wrong.”

Free copies of Smile EasyRead can be downloaded from the GDC website: www.gdc-uk.org