Objective To assess the level of knowledge and reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) of dentists at different stages of their careers and conduct a training need analysis. Design Structured questionnaires were distributed to final year dental students (DSs), foundation year one students (DF1s) and general dental practitioners (GDPs). Setting Opportunity samples of DSs from Kings College London, DF1s from the postgraduate deaneries of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and Oxford and GDPs in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The study was conducted from November 2012 to February 2013. Main outcome measures Relative knowledge and awareness of ADRs and ADR reporting, and performance in an assessment of these aspects. Results Thirty-one DSs, 35 DF1s and 98 GDPs took part in the study. Awareness of the Yellow Card Scheme varied between groups (30.8%, 48.6% and 88.8% respectively). Reported use of the scheme was uniformly low (2.6%, 5.7% and 5.1% respectively). There were no differences in knowledge about ADRs and ADR reporting between the three groups of dentists as indicated by median scores achieved in the questionnaire test (54%, 73% and 62% for DSs, DF1s and GDPs respectively; p = 0.638). All of the DSs, 91.4% of DF1s and 91.8% of GDPs said that they would welcome further training. Key topics included training on ADRs to medicines commonly used in their dental practice and deciding what ADRs needed to be reported. The most popular format for delivery of this training was formal lectures for DF1s and GDPs, but workshops for DSs. Postgraduate deaneries were the most popular provider choice for DF1s and GDPs. Conclusions Dentists at different stages of their careers showed variable awareness and knowledge of the UK Yellow Card Scheme and what to report. Training should be tailored to fit the needs of the different groups. A questionnaire survey incorporating a summative knowledge assessment demonstrated variable levels of knowledge about adverse drug reactions and what to report. Large majorities of all groups (>90%) expressed a desire for training in these areas and in the case of graduate and practising dentists, indicated that this should be organised by the postgraduate deaneries.