The College of General Dentistry has broadened its eligibility criteria for membership, enabling suitably qualified non-registrants to join, and offering practitioners with relevant non-dental qualifications the ability to progress to higher grades of membership.

Registration with the General Dental Council or an equivalent overseas authority is normally required for entry as an Associate Member. However former registrants, and those who hold a relevant qualification but may not be required to register with the GDC due to their job role – such as dental academics – are now eligible to join.

Those wishing to join as Full Members (MCGDent), or upgrade to Full Membership, have until now been required, in addition to meeting the requirements for Associate Membership, to hold either the DGDP, MJDF, MFGDP(UK), MFDS or a Postgraduate Certificate level qualification in a ‘relevant dental subject’. However Full Membership is now also open to those whose qualification is in a ‘subject relevant to the enhancement of oral healthcare’.

Those wishing to join at, or upgrade to, Associate Fellowship (AssocFCGDent), have up to this point needed to hold the MGDS, a Specialty Membership of a UK dental faculty, or a Postgraduate Diploma level or Masters level qualification in a dental subject. However, this recently-instituted membership grade, which offers a stepping stone to Fellowship, is similarly now available to those whose qualification is relevant to oral heath rather than being strictly ‘dental’ in scope.

Individuals qualifying under these extended criteria would then be eligible to apply for Fellowship (FCGDent) on the same basis as all other members of the College. This is currently open to existing Fellows of a UK Royal College or overseas equivalent, with a Fellowship by Experience route expected to be announced soon.

The changes are further to earlier departures from the eligibility criteria of the former Faculty of General Dental Practice, from which the College evolved – most notably the ability of Dental Hygienists, Dental Therapists, Dental Nurses, Dental Technicians and Clinical Dental Technicians to apply for membership at all grades, and for Practice Managers and other non-clinical members of the dental team to join as Affiliate Members.

The College’s updated membership eligibility criteria are available at

Dr Abhi Pal, President of the College, said:

“Among the key aims behind the establishment of The College of General Dentistry were the promotion of both dental and oral health, and to create a new type of college, breaking down barriers which are unnecessarily prescriptive and exclusionary, and replacing them with an inclusive approach fit for the 21st century.

“We are implementing this step by step, and are already a College open to all members of the dental team, formed of practitioners across the UK and beyond, and bridging the NHS/private divide.

“These latest changes offer recognition to a wide range of individuals and professional roles whose contribution to the advancement of general dental practice and oral healthcare is hugely significant, and we look forward to welcoming them into membership, and to bringing their significant knowledge, expertise and experience to bear in the fulfilment of our mission.”

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