Dr Zoe Allen

Dr Zoe Allen

Honorary Clinical Fellow and Specialty Registrar in Dental Public Health

Faculty of Health

Zoe can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Dentistry
  • Primary Dental Care Policy

Zoe is an Academic Clinical Fellow and Specialty Registrar in Dental Public Health with Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Public Health England and the National Institute for Health Research.  

Her work includes supporting Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships to improve the oral health of their populations. This involves collating and interpreting population oral health and service usage data to assess population needs and to inform strategy, workforce and commissioning decisions for oral health and dental services in the Southwest Peninsula. 


Zoe graduated as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Honours at Newcastle University in 2000 and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh by examination in 2002. She has a particular interest in public health and gained her Masters’ degree in Public Health with Distinction from the University of the West of England in 2009. Zoe is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, having completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education with Distinction in 2012.  

Zoe has 15 years’ clinical experience in dentistry, managing dental patients who find routine dental care especially challenging. She completed her Vocational Training in general dental practice in County Durham and House Officer rotations at Newcastle Dental Hospital, before taking on a Senior Dental Officer post, providing an urgent dental care service in North Yorkshire. 

After moving to the South West in 2003, Zoe’s clinical role focused upon providing holistic oral health care for young children with extensive dental decay, frail elderly people, people with learning disabilities, physical impairments, dental anxiety or phobias and those who experience social exclusion. She became a Senior Dental Officer with Somerset Primary Care Dental Service in 2005, leading delivery of the service’s dental epidemiology commitments until 2015. She has been a regional trainer and examiner for Public Health England’s Dental Epidemiology Programme, and a fieldwork contributor for the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey and the 2013 Child Dental Health Survey.

From 2011 to 2017, Zoe was an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Primary Dental Care at Peninsula Dental School. During this time, she contributed to clinical and academic teaching and assessment for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Zoe achieved her Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in June 2017. In 2018, Zoe completed her PhD thesis, exploring dentists' perceptions of their professional roles regarding referrals within Primary Dental Care in England.  

Professional membership

Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, Royal College of Surgeons of England

Membership of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry

Teaching interests

Previously, as an Honorary Clinical Lecturer with Peninsula Dental School since 2011, Zoe facilitated clinical and academic aspects of undergraduate dental education. This included critical appraisal of evidence, simulated clinical skills training, clinical supervision of patient care and a community engagement project working with adults with learning disabilities. She co-developed and delivered online course materials on Managing Difficult Consultations for Plymouth University’s MBA in Healthcare.  

More recently, Zoe facilitated a community engagement project for Year 2 dental students, who explored the ways that primary dental care can be made more accessible to people living with dementia by considering how the dental team, practice policies and the physical environment of the dental practice can be developed to be more accommodating.

Research interests

Zoe's research interests include population oral health, dental public health, dental epidemiology, primary dental care and health services research.  

Her PhD thesis explored dentists’ perceptions of their professional roles and experiences of making and receiving referrals within the primary dental care setting in England.  The aim of this study is to generate understanding of what it means to be a dentist in primary dental care and how that may influence the use of referral services. Zoe's research included a systematic review of the referral pathways within primary dental care in the UK and a qualitative interview study involving general dental practitioners and community dentists working across England.  

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Allen Z 2020 'Dentists’ perceptions of their professional roles regarding referrals within primary dental care in England: a qualitative study' Community Dental Health 37, (3) , DOI PEARL
Paisi M, Witton R, Burrows M, Allen Z, Plessas A, Withers L, McDonald L & Kay E 2019 'Management of plaque in people experiencing homelessness using 'peer education': a pilot study' British Dental Journal (BDJ) 226, (11) 860-866 , DOI PEARL