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Institute of Dentistry - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Paul Coulthard, BDS MDS PhD MFGDP(UK) FDS,RCS(Eng) FDS,RCS(OS) FDS,RCPS(Glas) FFDT,RCS(Ed) FDS,RCS(Ed)


Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery with Barts Health NHS Trust

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7882 2300
Room Number: Centre Lead office, Floor 5, Institute of Dentistry


Paul Coulthard is a Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and was Dean for Dentistry and Institute Director, Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, from January 2019 to August 2023. The Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London has an impressive history and strong reputation, and Professor Coulthard’s impact was to foster and develop excellence, innovation and global reputation in teaching, learning and research that was collaborative and embedded into wider medicine. In particular, Professor Coulthard was instrumental in developing oral cancer research, trauma research, digital dentistry and VR haptic training initiatives as described under the Research and Teaching sections.

Professor Coulthard is Honorary Dental Consultant Advisor to the Office of the Chief Dental Officer, NHS England and NHS Improvement 2020-2024. He was President of the ‘British Association of Oral Surgeons’ and is now immediate Past President. Professor Coulthard made a significant contribution to the development of the UK 'Getting it Right First Time' (GIRFT) report published in 2022. He has led the development an ‘Oral Surgery Standard’ from the 2015 Commissioning Guide published by NHS England in 2023.

As a dental school Dean and in his BAOS role, he demonstrated leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic, publishing papers and guidelines, and presenting webinars for oral and maxillofacial surgeons and the dental profession that earned him global appreciation and respect. He is working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) as member of the Steering Committee developing a Public Health and Emergency Workforce Roadmap Competency and Outcomes Framework. This is to meet the challenges brought by COVID-19 as well as better prepare the world to prevent future pandemics, and other public health threats that could have a significant impact on economies and social development. 

He recently worked to secure the evacuation and sanctuary of several senior clinical academics whose lives were at risk, from a global region of political instability. Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry sponsored CARA (Council for At-Risk Academics) Fellowships were arranged so ensuring a humanitarian enhancement and the building of Research Capacity. He is now the CARA Academic Lead for QMUL.

Professor Coulthard launched BAOS Digital #BAOSbytesize to provide British Association of Oral Surgery members with access to high quality CPD and engagement during the Covid pandemic, recovery, and ongoing for the future.

He is passionate about encouraging health professionals and their teams to support their patients presenting with Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA). He was influential in highlighting the increased risk of DVA during the household isolation measures imposed to reduce coronavirus transmission during the COVID pandemic. He works with the British Government to influence policy.

He was previously Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester and Head of the School of Medical Sciences. This School consisted of the Research Institutes of ‘Cancer Sciences’, ‘Cardiovascular Sciences’, ‘Developmental Biology & Medicine’, ‘Diabetes, Endocrinology & Gastroenterology’ and the ‘Manchester Medical School’ and ‘Manchester Dental School’. Prior to this he was Dean of the Manchester Dental School for five years.

Professor Paul Coulthard undertook General Clinical Training as a General Dental Practitioner in Manchester and Sheffield and was awarded the Membership of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners. His Basic Surgical Training took place in Manchester, Carlisle and London and he undertook a resident training post in Anaesthesia. He also spent a short time working overseas. Professor Coulthard completed Higher Specialist Surgical Training in academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Manchester in 2000. This training included surgery of the mouth, surgery for facial injuries and fractures, surgery for facial disfigurement and surgery of the salivary glands and jaw joint. He was awarded the Fellowship in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons and subsequently his Specialty Fellowship in Oral Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons Intercollegiate Board.

Alongside surgical training, Professor Coulthard undertook research training leading to the award of an MDS in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and a PhD in Neuroscience. He was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in 2000, Honorary Consultant Oral Surgeon in 2001 and Personal Chair in 2004.

Professor Coulthard is an Editor with the Cochrane Collaboration Oral Health Group (impact factor 5.340). He was Editor-in-Chief of journal Oral Surgery 2013-18 and is an Editorial Board member of the International Journal of Surgery. He was a Senior Editor for the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association. Professor Coulthard is currently the Dental Anesthesiology Research Group Councillor with the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) having previously been group President and Institutional Section Councillor. He was previously a member of the Licensing Board, Centre for Healthcare Planning & Quality, Dubai Health Care City. During his period as Dean at the Manchester Dental School he developed Memorandum of Understanding with several prestigious international institutions. Professor Coulthard has developed MoUs between Queen Mary University of London and West China School of Stomatology, Sichuan University, China; Manipal College of Dental Sciences, India and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, USA.

Professor Coulthard has chaired several Working Groups for NHS England that have published reports changing the delivery of clinical care in England, especially the ‘Guide for Commissioning Oral Surgery and Oral Medicine’ (2015) and ‘Commissioning Dental Services - Conscious Sedation in a Primary Care Setting’ (2017). He has also contributed to guidance produced by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) including, ‘Conscious Sedation in Dentistry - Dental Clinical Guidance’ (2017), and ‘Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry – a Rapid Review’ (2020 and updated 2021). Professor Coulthard is leading the development an ‘Oral Surgery Standard’ from the 2015 Commissioning Guide for publication by NHS England in 2023.

Professor Coulthard was President of the ‘British Dental Association Hospital Group’. He previously chaired the ‘Dental System Leadership Group’ for Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, with representatives from the Local Authority, Primary Care Medicine, Managed Clinical Networks, Commissioning, Health Education England NW, Dental Advisory Group, Dental Public Health and Local Dental Committee.

Professor Coulthard has provided complex oral surgery care to patients with secondary/tertiary referral for many years. His special interest has been patients with congenitally absent teeth/associated tissues or who following cancer surgery or trauma require reconstruction with bone graft surgery and advanced oral implant surgery. He has been ‘Clinical Lead’ for Oral Surgery Services and ‘Training Programme Director’ (TPD) for Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Special Care Dentistry and Dental Public Health.

In 2019 Professor Coulthard was awarded the FDS,RCPS(Glas) for his contribution of distinction to specialty and dental profession by the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Glasgow. In 2020 he was awarded the FFDT,RCS (Ed) for commitment to excellence in education and training by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. In 2021 he was awarded the FDSRCS(Ed) without examination.


Professor Coulthard has significant experience of responsibility for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes in Medicine and Dentistry and to the External Professional Regulators. He has made a significant personal contribution to teaching and learning of undergraduate students and surgical trainees. He is passionate about evidence-based practice and introducing this concept to students. He is proud to produce high calibre graduates in science and clinicians who are research and public health thinking. At QMUL in 2022/23 he introduced 42 Simodont® Trainers for full integration into the undergraduate curriculum and for postgraduate training. These Simodont® Dental Trainers apply sophisticated haptic technology used in flight simulators, adapted and tailored for dental simulation, with a highly realistic haptic (force) feedback provided through a dental drill hand piece and mirror. It is believed that no other dental school in the world has as many Haptic Trainers as the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London.

The fourth edition of his internationally popular textbook Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Radiology, Pathology and Oral Medicine (Master Dentistry Volume 1) was published in 2022 (ISBN 978-0-702081415). This textbook has been translated for distribution internationally. 

Professor Coulthard has also co-authored chapters for six other textbooks and has many scientific publications relating to teaching and learning.

Professor Coulthard has been a member of the Higher Education Academy since 2002. He also undertook training in teaching with the Resuscitation Council (UK) and was an Advanced Life Support Instructor for many years. He undertook his teaching practice at HMS Haslar Institute of Naval Medicine. He held the post of Director of Graduate Education and Research at Manchester Dental School for four years during which he introduced seven new graduate taught courses enhancing the school portfolio and increasing flexibility. He was Director of an MSc Programme in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for many years until 2017. Since his time at QMUL he has overseen the introduction of new DClinDent programmes in Oral Medicine, Oral Surgery, Clinical Oral Microbiology and Minimally Invasive Dentistry and a new distance learning programme in Dental Public Health, Policy and Leadership.


Professor Coulthard has held many examinerships over the years at institutions across the UK and internationally. He is currently external examiner at Glasgow University and Kuwait University. Professor Coulthard was recently the Royal College of Surgeons of England nominated member of the Intercollegiate Examination Board in Oral Surgery. He is Past Chairman of the Dental Sedation Teachers Group and was Chair of the Working Group that published 'Conscious Sedation in Dentistry Standards for Postgraduate Education'. He is frequently invited overseas to lead conscious sedation workshops or lecture about evidence-based oral and maxillofacial surgery.

In 2020 Professor Coulthard was awarded the FFDTRCS(Ed) for his commitment to excellence in education and training by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.


Research Interests:

Following the appointment of Professor Coulthard as Dean of the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London in January 2019, the Institute of Dentistry escalated in the QS World University Rankings from more than 75th in the world to being ranked 11th in the world in 2020, 14th in 2021 and 15th in 2022.

Professor Coulthard together with Dermatologist Professor Irene Leigh created the ‘Barts Centre for Squamous Cancer’ in 2021 based in the Institute of Dentistry but bringing together researchers across the Medical and Dental School who work on squamous cancers of oral mucosa, skin and oesophagus. This was made possible with a successful bid for £2.6M from Barts Charity. In 2022, Professor Coulthard together with senior leaders in the Institute of Dentistry and Barts Health Trust, were successfully awarded £2.3M from Barts Charity to Digitally Transform Oral Healthcare with a new electronic medical record that can offer big data research opportunities, clinical equipment for digital patient care workflow, and VR training for trainees and undergraduates.

Professor Coulthard is leading research to facilitate a global change in the practice of health professionals and their teams regarding identification and referral of their patients who present with physical injury or other signs that might indicate Domestic Violence and Abuse (£250K: NIHR HS&DR).

Professor Coulthard previously led a team that published a comprehensive series of Oral Implant Cochrane Systematic Reviews that provided a reliable summary of the global scientific evidence for best practice and the foundation for future implant research. These reviews are continually being updated.

Professor Coulthard instigated and led an international multi-centre clinical trial that demonstrated equivalent healing of a novel octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive compared to traditional alternatives such as sutures for the skin closure of long surgical incisions. This has significant implications in changing the 400-year-old clinical practice of wound closure with sutures. With adhesives there is no risk of needlestick injury and there are no sutures to remove for the patient.

Working with Dental Public Health colleagues, Professor Coulthard initiated regional Oral Surgery (OS) Referral Triage. An Online Referral Management and Triage System for all dental specialist referrals was subsequently established and he was co-investigator of a large mixed methods study evaluating this system for oral surgery referrals (£670K: NIHR SDO). These systems are now currently used throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He created a tool for assessing a patients’ need for conscious sedation when undergoing dental treatment and oral surgery. This novel ‘Indicator of Sedation Need’ (IOSN) tool uses ranked and combined information on the patient's anxiety, general health and treatment complexity. It can be used to support clinicians in their decision making and commissioners who need to identify patient need in order to plan and deliver appropriate sedation services. The IOSN is now incorporated into many national referral management systems.

Professor Coulthard has supervised over forty MSc, MPhil and PhD students and has published over 200 scientific papers.


  1. Oral Surgery Clinical Standard. Paul Coulthard. NHS England 22 May 2023. NHS England » Oral surgery clinical standard 
  2. Coulthard P. Research Insights on Coulthard P, Feder G, Evans M, Johnson M, Walsh T, Robinson PG, Armitage C, Barbosa E, Tickle M, Femi-Ajao O. Dentistry Responding In Domestic Violence and Abuse (DRIDVA): Feasibility Study for a Cluster Randomised Trial of a Practice-Based Intervention. British Dental Journal 2023:234:165.

  3. Paul Coulthard, Gene Feder, Maggie A. Evans, Medina Johnson, Tanya Walsh, Peter G. Robinson, Christopher J. Armitage, Estela Barbosa, Martin Tickle and Omolade Femi-Ajao. Dentistry responding to domestic violence and abuse: a dental, practice-based intervention and a feasibility study for a cluster randomised trial.
  4. Bailey E, Kashbour W, Shah N, Worthington H, Renton TF, Coulthard P. Surgical techniques for the removal of mandibular wisdom teeth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2020, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD004345. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CDO004345.pub3.
  5. Coulthard P, Hutchison I, Bell, J. et al. COVID-19, domestic violence and abuse, and urgent dental and oral and maxillofacial surgery care. Br Dent J 228, 923–926 (2020).
  6. Patel J, Coulthard P. Hydroxychloroquine shortage. British Dental Journal 2020;228(11):810; May 2020
  7. Coulthard P; Oral Health and HIV: What Dental Students Need to Know; Oral Diseases. Article DOI: 10.1111/odi.13389; May 2020
  8. Dave M, Coulthard F, Coulthard P, Patel N; Increased risk of analgesic overdose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dental Update 2020;47(5):452-3; May 2020

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