As we approach the College’s first-year anniversary, CGDent President Dr Abhi Pal looks back at all that we have achieved and considers our exciting plans for the future.

On 1st July 2022 the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) will mark its first full year of operation since its formal launch, and I mark the conclusion of my first year as President. The transition from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSEng) was five years in the planning and brought with it the hopes and aspirations for a whole profession. The transition period posed a number of challenges and I commend the hard work of the College staff and give thanks to the support of the College Council, our Trustee Board and our many members for helping to achieve a successful first year.

The first task for the College was the transfer of staff and the membership from the RCS, and automatic recognition of Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) membership, fellowship and all FGDP qualifications for the purposes of our own College membership and fellowship. I am pleased to say we have achieved this successfully, despite significant technological challenges.

In line with our inclusive approach to membership, the College now welcomes all members of the dental team with relevant postgraduate qualifications as members. The category of Associate Fellow has been created, designed to be a stepping-stone to Fellowship. We have also launched our criteria for Fellowship by Experience, designed to give recognition to individuals with experience who have demonstrated achievement in a wide range of areas. Membership has also been opened up to non-registrants with relevant qualifications, such as dental academics.

Membership of the College speaks to the professional development of individuals through post-nominals: Full Members (MCGDent), Associate Fellows (AssocFCGDent), and Fellows (FCGDent). In addition, we have expanded our package of membership benefits for all members. These include a discount arrangement with the UK’s largest indemnity provider, Dental Protection, which recognises the high level of commitment to professional development of College members and fellows. College membership also gives access to the wide range of online educational content provided by ProDental CPD. Indeed, the College has now hosted 20 live webinars so far on everything from leadership and professionalism to managing traumatic dental injuries, and from sustainable dentistry to how to get the best from your career. They’re all available for members to view free of charge via ProDental, which will also issue you with an electronic CPD certificate and keep a record of your learning.

The College continues to be the publisher of authoritative guidance and standards documents, originally published by the FGDP(UK), covering areas such as Clinical Examination and Record-keeping, Dental Radiography, Standards in Dentistry, Research in Primary Dental Care, and Training in Implant Dentistry. The College continues to publish Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice, which was developed with the FGDP, and has just released its first sole-published guideline, Mentoring in Implant Dentistry, which was developed with the Association of Dental Implantology and has been endorsed by the British Association of Oral Surgeons, Association of British Academic Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the UK and Ireland Section of the International Team for Implantology.

We continue to deliver high quality postgraduate training through our Postgraduate Diploma in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry, Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetics and our recently launched Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics which is delivered through IAS Academy.

The College has secured representation on over 25 committees and working groups across the UK developing national dental and oral health policy. Our College Council is now formed of 25 members from across the UK, as well as internationally. Most importantly we have representation on Council from not only dentists, but also dental nursing, dental hygiene, dental therapy, and dental technology.

The national makeup of the College is reflected in the work that is carried on by our regional groups. We have had very successful Study Days in Birmingham, Glasgow and Gateshead during our first year. The College Council will no longer meet exclusively in London but also in other UK cities from time to time, in order for the Council to engage with our local members.

At the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show in May, I was delighted to meet many members and prospective members of the College. The plans for our Career Pathway was met with great enthusiasm and we also obtained some very useful feedback. The College also provided Core CPD seminars from some of our notable speakers.

Over the past few months I have been invited to speak to groups of final year undergraduates from various UK dental schools about Transition to Practice. It was a wonderful opportunity to engage with our colleagues who will be the future of the profession to discuss career planning and the College’s role.

Earlier this month, we held the College’s first Fellows’ Reception at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in London where we unveiled our Professional Framework which will underpin the College’s Career Pathways.

Proud as I am of everything we’ve achieved so far, we can look forward with even more enthusiasm and anticipation to the next 12 months, during which many other projects and initiatives will come to fruition. These include the launch of the College’s Career Pathways and Certified Membership Scheme, designed to provide a long-needed pathway for professional development in primary dental care for all members of the dental team. We will be launching Phase One of the scheme in the autumn of 2022.

Publication of the second edition of our guidance on research for primary dental care professionals, and of our new Standards for Dental Photography, is anticipated in the forthcoming year. PDJ issues on oral surgery, digital dentistry, aesthetic dentistry, and dental trauma will be published. Upcoming live webinars include social inequalities and dental school applications, periodontal-systemic links, LGBTQ+ inclusion in dentistry, and many more.

Finally, I hope you will be able to join in some of our planned conferences over the next year. These include CGDent Study Days in Birmingham on 1 July and Glasgow on 2 December, 2022. We also have the first CGDent—Quintessence Publishing International Conference in London on 24–25 March, 2023.

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