College launches Professional Framework for dental careers

The College has launched its much-anticipated Professional Framework, which describes the expected level of a dental practitioner’s capabilities at each stage of their careers.

Aimed at providing recognition of professional development and promoting job satisfaction and workforce retention, Career Pathways in Dentistry: Professional Framework sets out the knowledge, skills and other attributes which define each of five career stages – safe, capable, experienced, enhanced and accomplished – for each role in the primary dental care team, and for each of five domains within each stage – clinical and technical, professionalism, reflection, development, and agency.

The framework has been mapped out by four working groups – representing dentists, dental hygienists & therapists, dental nurses & orthodontic therapists, and dental & clinical dental technicians – working together through a programme board and reference group.

The creation of career pathways for general dental practice was a key founding purpose of the College, and the Professional Framework provides the intellectual foundation of our Career Pathways in Dentistry programme, which is supported by Colgate.

The College is also developing a Certified Membership scheme, which will provide dental professionals with the tools to guide their individual postgraduate development journey. This will present the opportunity to embark on a pathway that fits in with personal learning and training goals using a flexible, modular approach supported by a facilitated, reflective personal development plan. It will also provide a structure through which those already established in their careers can further develop their career aspirations and/or mentor less experienced colleagues. This unique proposition, which will be for all members of the dental team, will enable dental professionals to demonstrate that they have met the capabilities for each career stage as defined in the Professional Framework. Progressing along the scheme will be a journey of professional development, rather than an end-point examination, and one in which the individual will be supported.

Dr Abhi Pal, President of the College, and Professor Avijit Banerjee, Chair of the College’s Career Pathways Programme Board, said:

“Those who carve out a career in the primary dental care sector have been almost unique within healthcare professions in not having defined career structures to support their professional development, despite the presence of multiple training opportunities.

The CGDent Professional Framework adopts an innovative approach which encourages flexibility for dental professionals to meet their practice and career aspirations, whilst recognising milestones along their often varied professional journeys, by providing a clear and coherent supporting structure.

It is a product made for dental professionals and by dental professionals, and the College owes its thanks to the many dentists, hygienists, therapists, nurses and technicians who have contributed to it, as well as to Colgate for their generous support that has enabled it to be completed.”

Career Pathways in Dentistry: Professional Framework is available for all dental professionals to download free of charge.

The College is inviting feedback on the Professional Framework in order to refine it and make it as robust as possible, and encourages dental professionals to explore it, test it out, and consider how they might use it to support their own development as well as that of colleagues. Feedback should be submitted online here

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Professional Framework for general dental professionals to be launched

The College has announced that it will be launching its much-anticipated Professional Framework next month.

Guests celebrating the launch of the College at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall, where the Professional Framework will be launched next month at the Fellows’ Summer Reception

The Professional Framework will describe the knowledge, skills and other attributes that primary care dentists and other dental professionals may aspire to at different stages of their career, and underpins the College’s Career Pathways programme. An initial framework published last year identifies five domains:

  • Clinical and technical: the capability to diagnose, to advise and to treat
  • Professionalism: the conduct and behaviour to engage patient trust and confidence
  • Reflection: awareness of personal impact, abilities and limitations
  • Development: commitment and capability to improve the service to patients
  • Agency: the ability to resolve solutions independently and through others

The creation of career pathways for general dental practice was a key founding purpose of the College, which has been developing sets of progressive steps for each dental team role in order to provide purpose and direction for dental careers, to enhance professional standing, and to help retain and nurture a motivated workforce.

These are being mapped out by four working groups – representing dentists, dental hygienists & therapists, dental nurses & orthodontic therapists, and dental & clinical dental technicians – working together through a programme board chaired by Professor Avijit Banerjee and a reference group chaired by Dr Shamir Mehta.

The Professional Framework will be launched at the inaugural Fellows’ Summer Reception, which takes place on Wednesday 15 June at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in London. It will be preceded by the conferral of Fellowships, President’s Commendations and the prestigious College Medal, and will take place in front of around a hundred guests.

Fellows and Associate Fellows of the College, as well as FGDP Fellows who were unable to enjoy formal conferral of their fellowship during 2020-21 due to coronavirus restrictions, are eligible to attend. Tickets are £20, to include wine and canapés, and a small number of spaces remain.

The College’s Career Pathways programme is generously supported by Colgate.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Two dentists, one award and 6,000 subscribers

Award-winning early-career dentist, Pouya Zohrabpour, features in the College’s new film and tells us about the innovative educational work he has been doing to support dental students and young dentists.

I remember the day I was studying with my friends for our final exams of dental school and we received an email saying that all our in-person exams have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdown. This was right at the start of Covid. Being one of the Covid year graduates was a very odd experience and I never thought the start of my career would pan out the way it has. I am now a first-year associate dentist and have been lucky enough to start and work on many additional projects related to my dental work.

With my friend Dr Ali Gowie, I run a dental YouTube channel and Instagram account called Two Dentists. This was something we started during the lockdown as we both got bored of watching long one-hour webinars and wanted to create highly educational videos which were professional, concise and easy to understand. So much of dentistry can be complicated but we felt that if we did enough research, we could script videos and break down difficult concepts into bite-sized videos for young dentists and dental students.

Our first few videos, which have been some of the most popular on our channel, focused on the new patient examination. We have made videos on seeing your first patient as a dental student, best way to take a dental history, dental examination, essential diagnoses, radiology and treatment planning.

We have since expanded and released a variety of other videos such as our series on dental photography and Loupes, which have been very popular. After launching and committing to releasing one video every week, which we maintained for a full year, we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback received from everyone. My proudest moment of our YouTube journey was when a friend of mine sent a photo of a lecturer at the University of Bristol (where I graduated) showing my radiology video to a group of final year students.

The Youtube channel has allowed us to collaborate with many dentists and be in a continual state of learning. We have been lucky to be able to collaborate with Dr Shivam Divani who is the creator of the My Dental Care App. The app aims to educate the general public on the importance of good oral hygiene and to show you how to protect your teeth and prevent dental issues. With Dr Divani we created a six-part video series which accompanies the text and images in the app. These videos have also been released publicly on our YouTube Channel.

My progress on the YouTube channel was one of the factors that led to me winning the FGDP Foundation Dentist of the Year last year – which I am extremely grateful for. I am now extremely proud to also be an Ambassador for the College and to fulfil my role in spreading awareness of the new Career Pathways to support young dentists like myself.

In my foundation training year, I had to decide if I wanted to do Dental Core Training or not. This decision was based on speaking to my friends and colleagues but I found it difficult to make a decision as everyone had different opinions and I was unsure of the pathway I wanted to go down. I am sure many others have been in this position and this is where I believe the new Careers Pathways programme can come in. As a young dentist, having a career pathway which has been mapped by a professional body and shows clear steps in progression gives me security in knowing that I am on the right path for me to expand my knowledge and become a better dentist. Whilst doing so, it’s great to know that my progression will be recognised by the College and I can work my way up to becoming an ‘accomplished practitioner’. I believe the Career Pathway will be a must-use programme for every young dentist who is currently in general practice looking for a structured pathway for continual professional development, enabling you to move forward and enhance your career with confidence.

We plan to launch the College’s Career Pathways in dentistry, underpinned by the Professional Framework, in June 2022. Look out for details in the June issue of our monthly newsletter – sign up to receive it.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

President discusses dental careers at No.10

On 29 March 2022, College President Dr Abhi Pal visited No.10 Downing Street to attend a roundtable breakfast meeting on access to careers and progression in dentistry hosted by the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on healthcare policy.

Dr Pal commented:

“It is great to see recognition at the top of government that widening access to dental training, followed by career progression based on merit and not hindered by inequalities, are vital in order to recruit and retain a workforce reflective of the population it serves and able to meet the UK’s oral health needs.

For its part, the College of General Dentistry is committed to breaking down unnecessarily prescriptive and exclusionary professional barriers, and is developing a Professional Framework with accompanying Career Pathways that will offer all general dental professionals staged recognition of their knowledge and skills, and a range of routes to planning a fulfilling career in dentistry.”

The College will shortly be hosting a related live webinar:

Social inequalities when applying to study dentistry
Monday 4 July 2022, 7pm
This will discuss social inequalities and how they may affect students when applying to study dentistry. It will be free to view for all dental professionals on the day, and the recording will be available thereafter to CGDent members. Approx. 1.5 CPD hours. CPD e-certificates are free for CGDent members. REGISTER HERE

Related webinar recordings already available to College members in the CPD library include:

Why colour is the elephant in the room
A first-hand exploration of racial inequality and prejudice, with real life experiences from colleagues working in all areas of dentistry, and highlighting ways in which we can tackle inequalities and systemic racism. “This webinar was so, so important and impactful”
Approx. 2 hours’ CPD.

How to get the best from your career in dentistry
This webinar looks at career and development planning no matter your career stage, and for the whole dental team, exploring next steps and what courses and opportunities are available. It also provides information on CGDent’s development of Career Pathways to give your dental career a boost. 2 hours 15 minutes’ CPD.

Practice ownership: an introduction

Recorded webinar. Thursday 20 January 2022, 7pm.

Organised in collaboration with The British Dental Students’ Association (BDSA), this webinar is for any dental professional, including students, who wishes to understand what owning a practice entails, the joys of “being your own boss”, how to prepare for practice ownership, and the pitfalls.

Owning a practice provides huge opportunities for working independently, building up an enterprise, and practising in a way that suits the individual. However it comes with significant responsibilities.

The topics we explore include how practice ownership fits into a GDP career pathway, different models of practice ownership and preparations you can make before embarking on this route.


  • Dr Abhi Pal, President CGDent
  • Susan Nelson, Council member at CGDent
  • Milan Chande, Dentist and National Clinical Manager, A&U Dental
  • Simon Hughes, Managing Director, Medical at Christie & Co
  • Jitesh Jassal, Final year dental student at King’s College London, President of the BDSA 2021-22 and Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of the BDA Student Committee

CGDent members and ProDental subscribers can claim CPD hours for free and have access to the webinar recording.  A £20 fee will apply for non-members/non-subscribers who wish to claim CPD.

This webinar is part of the partnership between the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) and ProDental CPD.

Membership of the College of General Dentistry is open to all registered dental professionals. Membership for dentists is available from £94, and for other registered dental professionals from £33. The full list of CGDent membership rates is at

You may be interested in our recent webinar How to get the best from your career in dentistry, which explores a range of career pathways open to dental professionals and discusses how the College’s Career Pathways can support your career.

Avijit Banerjee and Shamir Mehta to lead CGDent career pathways programme

Professor Avijit Banerjee and Dr Shamir Mehta have been appointed to key positions leading the College of General Dentistry’s career pathways programme.

Professor Avijit Banerjee (l), Chair of the CGDent Career Pathways Programme Board, and Dr Shamir Mehta (r), Chair of the CGDent Career Pathways Reference Group

Professor Banerjee is Professor of Cariology & Operative Dentistry and Clinical Lead in Restorative Dentistry at King’s College London, and has been appointed Chair of the Career Pathways Programme Board, which also includes the College’s Vice President, Roshni Karia, and CEO Simon Thornton-Wood.

Dr Mehta is a partner in two dental practices in Harrow, Senior Clinical Teacher at King’s College London and Senior Clinical Advisor to the General Dental Council, and has been appointed Chair of the Career Pathways Reference Group, which provides advice and guidance and also includes Andrew Dickinson, Sharon Hill, Andrea Johnson, Kirstie Moons, Fiona Sandom and Bill Sharpling.

The career pathways programme, which is supported by Colgate, is building structures to provide purpose and direction for careers across the oral health team, to enhance professional standing, and to help retain and nurture a motivated workforce in dentistry.

Career pathways with clear progressive steps are being mapped for each dental team role, underpinned by a professional framework which describes the breadth of capabilities of practitioners at each stage of their career.

These are being developed, together with the programme board and reference group, by four working groups reflecting the key roles in general dentistry:

Dentist Group

  • Phil Dawson (Chair)
  • Sefa Ahiaku
  • Bilal Arshad
  • Ian Dunn
  • James Hamilton
  • Nyree Whitley

Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Group

  • Emma Pacey (Chair)
  • Leon Bassi
  • Liam Ferguson
  • Shaun Howe
  • Sarah Murray
  • Kath Reynolds
  • Frances Robinson
  • Miranda Steeples
  • Kirstie Thwaites

Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy Group

  • Debbie Reed (Chair)
  • Ken Binnah
  • Jane Dalgarno
  • Amanda Knight
  • Sharon Morrow
  • Marie Parker
  • Tracey Rodgers
  • Tracey Taylor
  • Tracey Young

Dental Technology and Clinical Dental Technology Group

  • Michael Brindle (Co-Chair)
  • Darren Ware (Co-Chair)
  • Stephan Avetoom
  • Mark Gilbert
  • Mark Maley
  • Steven Martin
  • James Neilson
  • Caroline Persaud
  • Stephen Wears

Further announcements are expected in the first half of 2022, and more information about the programme is available at:

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Experience working in different care settings boosts confidence

Dr Harriet Jones reflects on how a varied early career in secondary and tertiary care settings has given her increased confidence in her work as a primary care dentist.

Having graduated from Newcastle in 2016 I carried out Foundation training in a small mixed private and NHS practice. Following this I worked as a Dental Core Trainee in the speciality of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. I am now currently working part time as a Community Dental Officer and also in NHS practice.

I think gaining an experience in a wide range of areas of dentistry is essential. Having a dental degree opens up so many avenues and the number of career options available is vast. The start to my career has allowed me to experience dentistry in different settings and see a small section of the scope of dentistry.

Gaining experience working in secondary and tertiary care settings has given me increased confidence working in primary care. Working within practice it is inevitable that referrals will need to be made. Having experience working at the receiving end of referrals has increased my ability to refer appropriately. For example, Oral and Maxillofacial referrals can be sent with different grades of urgency and I feel I have an increased ability to understand the appropriate referral to make when I see a patient in general practice.

Working within different settings has also given me the opportunity to work with a variety of dental colleagues who have different interests and specialities. These links have enabled me to organise teaching events for general dental practitioners to maximise learning opportunities. Interacting with colleagues from a variety of specialities allows you to keep up to date with dental advances which is essential in the dental world. Overall, I think this has had a beneficial effect on my ability to treat patients with varying needs. 

It is important when working in practice not to become isolated. I work in a large mixed NHS and private practice with a close group of dentists in a supportive environment. This allows us to comfortably discuss cases and gain advice where needed. On graduating and completing foundation training I still feel the need to gain a second opinion often and working within a supportive environment allows you to do this. I am the Secretary of our regional FGDP(UK) team which involves organising CPD events for dentists within our area. This allows me to meet local dentists and also with our speakers who work within different specialities. Attending Local Dental Committee meetings is also an excellent way to network with local dentists and have a voice regarding important matters and issues as part of a committee of dentists.

Dentistry is a very exciting career with so many possible avenues to take. I think it is important to embrace new opportunities and interact with dental colleagues in order to improve skills and maximise job satisfaction.

Author bio

I qualified from Newcastle in 2016 and gained my MJDF in 2018. I completed my Foundation training in general practice and then went on to work as a Dental Core Trainee in the speciality of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. I now work in an NHS practice and am a part time Community Dental Officer

This student advice blog was originally published by FGDP(UK) in March 2019 and has been republished by the College of General Dentistry with the author’s permission.

Where will your career take you?

Dr Sahar-Tara Aghababaie, part time Dental Associate in North West London, recommends making a clear career plan to help you steer your career in the right direction.

Whilst you’re currently in dental school, how much thought do you give to your career development 5, 10 or even 20 years after graduation? Any plans you may have will certainly need to be flexible enough to reflect the changes the profession will undoubtedly go through over the coming decades. 

I graduated from King’s College in 2015 but soon discovered that once you graduate, the learning never really stops. And that’s the wonderful thing about dentistry – it’s definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ career path. The profession is constantly evolving and developing, and as a clinician you will need to ensure you have a good grasp of these changes – not just for your own personal development, but also to ensure you provide the best quality of care for your patients. 

During my dental foundation year I completed my MJDF exam and then undertook further post-graduate training on a one-year course in Dental Education, as I have a keen interesting in teaching in the future. So, I would say to any dental student – post-graduate training is paramount!

Many young dentists agree the main challenge facing them is working within the current NHS system. Dental school certainly helps prepare you for practice, building the core clinical skills needed to be a dentist, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the minefield of UDA targets, associate contracts, accounts and finances, the ever present fear of litigation and of course, rising indemnity and registration fees. All of these can place a lot of pressure on newly qualified dentists and might cause some to lose the drive and motivation to further their careers. 

Through every stage of my professional journey, I have been fortunate enough to have key people to support me along the way. In addition to my strong family unit, key clinical tutors at dental school gave me a solid clinical foundation, my principal in general practice who has been guiding me through the challenges of managing a dental practice, and most recently the consultants I work with currently, who are providing new insight and guidance on further specialisms in Dentistry. They, along with my mentors, have supported both my clinical and professional development – which is paramount for any dentist, whatever stage they are in their careers. 

In 2017 I passed my MJDF exams and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and Faculty of General Dental Practice. But as the saying goes, ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’, and the same can be true in Dentistry. Becoming a member of FGDP(UK) offered the opportunity to network within the profession, which has allowed me to meet fellow dentists, seek advice from more experienced clinicians and get more involved generally. 

Networking and social media are an increasingly invaluable way to keep up to date with advances in the profession. There are lots of dental groups where dentists can discuss different cases with peers, and can prove an invaluable learning forum for young dentists looking to increase their knowledge – And not just clinical knowledge; I’ve learnt about the implications of new regulations, such as GDPR. So, once you start working in practice and you have a question about managing certain cases, or want advice on courses to take, you might find these groups can offer a different perspective and support. 

The wonderful thing about dentistry as a career is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. I thoroughly enjoy working within a multi-disciplinary team and different clinical environments. During the working week I’m mainly based at the dental hospital, where I’ve been able to conduct dental treatments under general anesthesia. At the weekends I work in general practice as an associate. It’s really been this variety that has given me an insight into different specialties and working environments plus the unique opportunity to manage more complex cases.   

There are so many different opportunities and career paths you can pursue, that the only limitation is you. You just have to have the drive to go for it. Whether that’s working in general practice, hospital, community, dental public health, research or training, you really have the unique opportunity to change paths during your career.  And that’s what makes dentistry so exciting as a career choice- you never know where it may lead you next.

Author bio

I qualified from King’s College London School of Medicine & Dentistry in 2015, after which I completed my dental foundation training. Following my training, I started to work as a general dental practitioner in a mixed NHS/Private dental practice in North West London which I help to manage.

In 2017, I started my position as a Dental Core Trainee at the Paediatric Department at The Eastman Dental hospital, whilst continuing my commitments in general practice part-time.

I have continued my post-graduate education and gained Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties of the Royal College of Surgeons England and the Faculty of General Dental Practice in 2017. I also have a passion for academic teaching and have recently completed my post-graduate qualification in Dental Education.

This student advice blog was originally published by FGDP(UK) in January 2019 and has been republished by the College of General Dentistry with the author’s permission.

How to get the best from your career in dentistry

Recorded webinar. Thursday 23 September 2021.

We discuss career options for dental professionals and how the College’s Career Pathways can support your career, looking at specific questions:

  • Not sure where to go next in your career?
  • Not sure which courses to take?
  • Not sure what opportunities are available to you?
  • Want to find our about the new College of General Dentistry (CGDent previously FGDP) Career Pathway?

No matter what stage of your career, CGDent is here to guide you and help you make the best decisions.

The webinar, hosted by CGDent and ProDental CPD, is relevant to the whole team, no matter what your role or stage in your dental career, and starts our program of interactive career and development planning workshops.


  • Dr Abhi Pal FCGDent, President of the College of General Dentistry


  • Ian Dunn
  • Dr Sanjeev Bhanderi
  • Dr Amin Aminian
  • Dr Jalpesh Patel
  • Dr Sami Stagnell
  • Dr Amit Mistry
  • Dr Archana Prasad
  • Dr Ross Hobson
  • Dr Roshni Karia

CGDent members and ProDental subscribers have access to the recording of this event, and can claim CPD hours, free of charge.  A £20 fee applies for non-members/non-subscribers.

This webinar is part of the new partnership between the College of General Dentistry (CGDent) and ProDental CPD.

Membership of the College of General Dentistry is open to all registered dental professionals. Membership for dentists is available from £94, and for other registered dental professionals from £33. The full list of CGDent membership rates is at

Career Pathway for dentists to provide a flexible structure for 21st century practice

Phil Dawson, general dental practitioner with a special interest in restorative dentistry, explains how the College’s Career Pathway for dentists is being developed to provide a clearly defined structure whilst offering the flexibility needed by the contemporary practitioner.

I graduated from the University of Liverpool in December 1991 before commencing my first role as an associate dentist in sunny Wigan the following month. If someone had asked me back then what my career goals were, I think I probably would have answered “to be a dentist”!  Now the best part of 30 years later, I sit writing this blog having achieved, I feel, this mighty goal!

During this time, I am or have variously been:

  • Associate dentist
  • Principal/partner of multi-group mixed NHS/private practice
  • Educational Supervisor/VT trainer (as was)
  • Specialty Dentist/Honorary Teaching Fellow at Manchester University
  • HEE appointed mentor
  • ORE Examiner
  • Course Lead/Director/Tutor/Examiner for FGDP Diploma in Restorative Dentistry
  • Clinical Support Manager for {my}dentist
  • Associate Dental Dean for Conduct & Performance at HEE NW

Despite the above list, if asked by anyone I still describe my job as a “dentist”!

The various stages in my career have developed not as part of some grand master plan, but rather by independent, often disjointed steps. I suspect I will not be alone in this mode of career progression. My career history goes to prove that dental careers often ‘happen’ and develop over the course of our practising lifetime, possibly in unplanned ways and taking directions which initially seem quite unlikely.

My association with FGDP and CGDent began when I completed the second cohort of the Restorative Diploma in 2008. This was to turn out to be a pivotal moment in my career development as most of the roles in the list above were as a direct consequence of this qualification, including becoming Course Lead/Director for the Diploma in a classic poacher turned gamekeeper move! My eternal gratitude goes to Professor Paul Brunton and Mr Ian Wood for such inspiration.

This close association culminated in being asked by CGDent to be Chair of the Working Group for Career Pathways for Dentists. I was tasked with recruiting a group of individuals that was representative of dentists today – no easy task I admit, but I have been blessed with meeting some highly motivated and intelligent fellow dentists throughout my career so far.

The idea was to develop a pathway that identified the different stages of career progression, the key features of these different stages and how these stages might be evidenced. Right from the outset it was emphasised that the old-fashioned notion of ‘tick-box’ career progression was NOT what we were after! Yes, we wanted a framework for career progression, but it was imperative that this framework contained a great degree of flexibility so as to allow the modern 21st century dentist to adequately showcase their career development whilst also allowing the profession and the public to be confident that such a framework represented a safe and coherent structure to career progression.

Another exciting feature was that this process was to be introduced throughout the WHOLE of the dental team – different working groups were to be similarly set up looking at career progression for hygienist/therapists; dental nurses and orthodontic therapists; clinical dental technicians and dental technicians. I felt this was such an important feature of the process – aligning the career pathways of the WHOLE of the dental team as befits the College of General Dentistry.

My aim was to recruit a team of individuals who, using their own experiences and visions, would be able to develop ideas of career progression along the lines set out above. It was humbling that everyone I approached did agree to join the Working Group – and so it is made up of quite an eclectic group of individuals.

The College’s aim in developing these Career Pathways, is to provide some structure to aid our career progression without this being too prescriptive. As you will appreciate from reading this blog, my own career has followed quite a unique pathway, and the Working Group has been keen to allow for this variability in career development.

As I write this, the final version is still in development but the end-product is looking very exciting. I wish such a structure had been in place all those years ago on that first journey from Liverpool to Wigan….!!

You may also be interested in reading blogs from other practitioners involved in developing the Career Pathways programme.