A College serving public and patient interest in oral health
engaging the whole dental team
with a vision to achieve Royal College standing

A message from the Honorary Founding President, Prof Nairn Wilson CBE

A College of General Dentistry is being established in the UK with a vision of leadership in the profession — to foster excellence and confidence in oral healthcare, for all.

A printable Prospectus for the College can be downloaded here:

Developing a College for the 21st Century:

  • Committed to patients’ interests
  • Authoritative thought leadership in holistic oral healthcare
  • Promoting inter-professional medical care
  • Defining career pathways and cultivating a passion for learning
  • Nurturing excellence in practice, with integrity
  • Team-oriented and inclusive
  • Commercially aware; a trustworthy player in the market
  • Building on the goodwill in the profession for such an initiative

Time for a new College

The UK has been well served in dentistry through the twentieth century, with oral health being systematically transformed across the nation for the better. But as we advance into the new century, those gains cannot be taken for granted and new challenges face the profession: in health inequalities and distribution of disease; funding of NHS care and increasing patient expectations; complexity of care and advances in technology.

Advances in knowledge and understanding, coupled with changes in attitude have led to significant improvements in the quality of care provided for patients in the UK. But dentistry faces changing expectations of increasingly discerning patients, with implications that go beyond the simply aesthetic.

We believe the profession can rise to these disparate expectations – and the implications for ethical, person-centred practice – with the right leadership. A new Royal College will provide the opportunity for the profession to play its full part in addressing these challenges.

Building on strong foundations

Our work will build on the achievements of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK), (FGDP) which has had a substantial impact in setting standards for the profession while operating under the umbrella of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. This work will continue with FGDP (UK) forming the first building block of the new College.

The place of general practice dentistry – the bedrock of an effective dental system – must be nurtured and celebrated. We will do this by fostering a strong and trusted professional community of practice, serving patients and public. We will establish evidence-based guidance and standards for dentistry, building on what FGDP has already achieved, and promote high quality practice through education and training, career development and lifelong learning for dental professionals.

Professional membership at its heart

The College of General Dentistry aims to take a distinct approach to its role, fully embracing the dental team as a whole in its membership and cultivating the best in a team-based approach to healthcare service delivery. That approach is essential if we are to continue delivering for our patients, meeting their needs and expectations, in a way that is sustainable.

FGDP has established a membership of over 4000 dentists in a UK community approaching 40,000. The community of 65,000 associated professionals, including dental nurses, are vital to the future of dental service provision. The new College will aim to attract a substantially greater number to its membership with a compelling proposition to support them in their service to patients and the development of their careers. It is a step change in ambition for the profession, demanding a new institution for it to be fulfilled.

International reach

The new College will be a UK-based organisation but will have a global perspective on its mission, building on what has previously been achieved by FGDP(UK) over the last twenty seven years.

The dental profession in the UK has benefitted in many ways from its engagement with peers around the world, and we aim to do substantially more; the challenges of oral healthcare worldwide place an obligation on us to play our part in finding global solutions.

Career pathways for dental professionals

Professional career pathways lies at the heart of the proposition of the new College. The dental team share a lack of a structured basis for the development of their skills and careers, and the associated opportunity to convey the talent and experience that they bring to patients. Our career pathways, linked to established and new qualifications, are designed to offer the structured progression that is needed.

Royal Charter

We aim to pursue a Royal Charter, elevating the standing of general dentistry alongside its medical peers, and appealing to the culture of service in society that underpins the very best in healthcare professionalism. We have the support of the key agencies and institutions across healthcare to make our case, and we are convinced that this is the time for such an institution to emerge.

The intended purpose of the College will be:

  1. To serve the public and patients by cultivating excellence in oral healthcare, thereby contributing to everyone’s wellbeing.
  2. To achieve this by establishing evidence-based guidance and standards for dentistry, embedded within a strong professional community of practice.
  3. To foster quality in practice for dental professionals through their education and training, career development and lifelong learning.

The College will fulfil the aspirations of general dentistry to achieve professional
standing consistent with other and equivalent healthcare and medical professions. In
the course of our discussions about our future, we have been struck by the surprise
amongst those outside dentistry, that no independent College currently exists to meet
that need.