Domiciliary denture provision: a Clinical Dental Technician’s approach – 2 May 2023

CGDent live webinar, Tuesday 2 May 2023, 7pm

Clinical Dental Technician and Associate Member of the College, Caroline Persaud, discusses how she manages domiciliary denture provision.

Speaker:

  • Caroline Persaud, Registered Dental Technician and Clinical Dental Technician

CPD approx 1.5 hours

This webinar is hosted by the College of General Dentistry and powered by our CPD delivery partner, ProDental CPD – register below.

It is free to view live for all dental professionals, and College members also have free access to the recorded webinar and can claim CPD hours for free.  A £20 fee will apply for non-members who wish to claim 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 https://cgdent.uk/membership-fees/

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Transitioning from analogue to digital dentistry – 18 April 2023

CGDent live webinar, Tuesday 18 April 20237pm

In this CGDent webinar, we will explore how, with knowledge, understanding and experience, analogue dentistry provides predictable treatment results through careful control of the processes employed. We will examine how important these parameters are when making the transition to digital dentistry and discuss how to action the transition successfully.

Speaker:

  • Anthony Laurie MDT FBIDST FCGI, Dental Technician & Managing Director, Dental Excellence LTD

GDC development outcomes: C

CPD approx 1.5 hours

This webinar is hosted by the College of General Dentistry and powered by our CPD delivery partner, ProDental CPD – register below.

It is free to view live for all dental professionals, and College members also have free access to the recorded webinar and can claim CPD hours for free.  A £20 fee will apply for non-members who wish to claim 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 https://cgdent.uk/membership-fees/

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What’s in a name? The importance of professional depiction

In support of National Dental Nurses Day on 22 November 2022, Dr Debbie Reed FCGDent explains why Dental Nurses should claim and gain recognition through the professional depiction of their important role in the dental team.

For the past 10 years or more I have been writing about the importance of professional depiction and professional identity1-5.

Over the past few months there has been much reporting of dental ‘deserts’6-9. Earlier in the Autumn, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, declared that the solution to ‘dental deserts’ was to ensure all members of the dental team, not just dentists, “are using their qualifications to their full extent by undertaking particular procedures“10.  However, recent studies, have highlighted that dental nurses, part of the group being relied on to ‘use their qualifications’, are reported to be leaving the dental sector, due in part to dissatisfaction with their role, a consequence, according to a number of those leaving, to the lack of recognition and a general lack of value afforded to dental nurses for the contribution they make to patient oral health11.

So now, more than ever, it seems opportune to bring the matter of professional depiction and identity to the fore once again, as a means through which dental nurses can claim and gain recognition. Critical to achieving recognition is giving consideration to how dental nurses refer to themselves and the importance of slipping into the habit of reducing their professional title to that of ‘nurse’. 

There are four key reasons for ensuring the professional name of ‘Dental Nurse’ is routinely used, and as dental nurses, why we should take the lead in using our correct professional title, as well as encouraging others to follow our example.

Firstly, and most obviously, it is illegal for any Dental Nurse to style themselves as a ‘nurse’ because nursing is a separate and distinct occupation. It should be borne in mind that the term ‘nurse’ is a protected title for a specific role regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Secondly, by failing to use the full and proper title Dental Nurse, which was granted through legislation12 and protected through regulation by the General Dental Council13, dental nurses are missing an opportunity to ensure that patients and the public at large are reminded of dental nursing as an occupation. Also, missing an opportunity to encourage the public to:

  1. recognise the occupation of Dental Nurse, and
  2. start to acquire an understanding of the distinct role that dental nurses play in oral health and dental treatment.

Thirdly, it is important that we as dental nurses ensure that our colleagues working within the dental sector also use the correct title, Dental Nurse, rather than conflating the professional role, in doing so in turn they will routinely acknowledge the Dental Nurse role, and the valuable work being carried out by the dental nurses working with them in the dental team.  It also provides other dental colleagues an opportunity to demonstrate an understanding that the Dental Nurse, who, like them, is a regulated professional, and like them, deserves to be recognised by their professional title. In order to retain the best people in dental nursing, and to provide the quality of support that the other dental clinicians deserve, there needs to be recognition and respect, demonstrated by the use of the correct professional title, for the valuable contribution that dental nurses make to patient oral health.

Finally, recruitment of other dental nurses. By using the protected and regulated occupational title ‘Dental Nurse’, the occupation will be recognised by patients and others, and potentially by those leaving school and seeking to understand the range of dental and healthcare related occupations that might be potentially available to them as career choices. To enable Dental Nurse recruitment, it is necessary that potential recruits recognise that the fulfilling and rewarding career role of Dental Nurse exists and is potentially available to them.  The first step to raising awareness is for those potential recruits (and the public in general) to hear the name of the Dental Nurse occupation, as distinct from other healthcare roles.  This will be particularly important in the future if all those interested in healthcare careers are taught together to achieve T-Levels. Dental nursing, and other Dental Care Professions (DCPs), need to ensure that their occupations are known to these T-level students, that is if the dental occupations are to successfully compete and attract the most capable of those leaving school into the dental sector when they finish compulsory education.

So what is underpinning this?

As a Dental Nurse it is interesting to reflect on the General Dental Council (GDC) Standards For The Dental Team (2013) 2.3.1 which states that:

 “You should introduce yourself to patients and explain your role so that they know how you will be involved in their care.”13

The way in which this GDC standard is observed and the necessary information presented provides an opportunity for dental nurses to ensure that they and their role is known, and that they are depicted professionally, and a message is conveyed in that depiction about the status, professional agency and esteem of their dental care professional occupation.

In the past, other health care professionals have found it useful to present themselves, as well as their role in the treatment of patients, by depicting their knowledge using language which elevates their position to that of professional colleague.

This simple action has been crucial in the negotiation of professional status within society. As dental nurses we understand that by developing an audible professional voice, like other health care professional groups, dental nurses are able to help society to construct an understanding of the importance of what we do; our professional identity, and why what dental nurses do is so valuable.

Who am I?  What do I do?

So… if someone asks about what you do as a Dental Nurse, what do you tell them?

Being able to describe or depict the knowledge that is necessary in respect to a routine action is critical.   Often tasks are so routine to us as dental nurses that we do not take time to consider their importance or significance, or the skills involved in carrying them out, never mind trying to articulate that information in a clear and positive way.

If we could consider for one minute a “routine act” carried out by most dental nurses – the act of receiving the patient in the waiting room and escorting them to the surgery for treatment. 

This act involves a number of specific and significant elements, such as asking the patient to consider their medical history.  This task requires the Dental Nurse to have considerable professional knowledge and understanding related to the questions posed, the underpinning conditions being explored, the implications to the treatment if particular answers are given by the patient and the ability to respond to a particular query or uncertainty the patient might have related to the question being asked. 

In addition, in carrying out the “simple” task of meeting and receiving the patient, the Dental Nurse requires considerable knowledge and understanding related to patient anxiety, how that might be exhibited by the patient, along with the professional skill and ability to support the patient to deal with that anxiety sufficient to proceed to the surgery.  During the process of receiving the patient the Dental Nurse is monitoring the patient for other signs related to more general aspects of health and well-being which may be being communicated and providing insight into the potential impact on any treatment to be undertaken. 

The previous described are vital tasks which require professional skill and considerable knowledge and understanding. Remember, just because you make it look easy – it does not mean that the tasks are not complexed, and moreover achieving excellence in Dental Nurse practice requires a significant depth and ability to think critically. 

Accurate professional depiction

Professional depiction requires professional confidence and there might be a number of reasons why this is inhibited, why as dental nurses we might be cautious or reticent about choosing to professionally depict ourselves.  However, accurate professional depiction is not about self-aggrandisement but about appropriate recognition and acknowledgement of the contribution that we make. Few dental nurses or dental professionals work for purely altruistic reasons, most choose their professions with the intention of building a professional career through participating in a fulfilling and meaningful occupation, which is recognised, respected, valued and rewarded. If dental nurses are neither recognised nor valued then the dental work force is likely to be depleted of the brightest and most capable individuals, who will seek professional fulfilment and meaningful work elsewhere.

Conveying and depicting Dental Nurse practice cannot be achieved effectively without reference to the research and theoretical concepts, which underpin it.  Thus, routine Dental Nurse work is now starting to evolve towards evidence-based Dental Nurse practice.  No longer is it sufficient for dental nurses to defer to a colleague’s direction and decision without understanding the theoretical and evidence base for that decision14.

The future…

Despite the current challenges, dental nurses have much to look forward to, from the outcome of Advancing Dental Care, and the related Dental Education Reform Programme (DERP)15, to the newly launched CGDent route through which dental nurses can gain recognition for their advanced levels of practice.

Most notably, the complex nuance of dental nursing has been skilfully captured within the recently published Dental Nurse Career Pathway16.

CGDent has been forward-thinking and responsive, producing a framework through which dental nurses can gain recognition and parity of esteem for their significant achievements commensurate to the level of expertise and standing within the dental community, across the various stages of their career. 

To those dental nurses seeking to be valued for what they do and what they contribute, visit CGDent17 to find out more about the Faculty of Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy and how you can start your journey to gain professional acknowledgment, and be part of a Dental Nurse community.  After all dental nursing is a profession that is looking to the future, and the CGDent Dental Nurse Career Pathway is a perfect vehicle to get us there. 

Bibliography used in the compilation of this blog:

1.            Reed, D. (2018) ‘What Is Professional Voice?’, British Dental Nurse Journal, Spring: Edition 2.

2.            Reed, D. (2014) ‘The Stories we tell about ourselves can change the Professional Image of Dental Nursing’, Dental Nursing, Dec.

3.            Reed, D. (2011) ‘Novice to Expert’, Vital, Spring.

4.            Reed, D. (2010) ‘Professional Depiction’, Vital, June.

5.            Reed, D. (2009) ‘Speak up DCPs: Professional Voice’, Vital, 7, pp.24-27

6.            Sutton, N. (2022) NHS “dental deserts” persist in rural and deprived communities – LGA analysis. Online: available at https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/nhs-dental-deserts-persist-rural-and-deprived-communities-lga-analysis

7.            The Dentist (2022) England’s ‘dental deserts’ and the urgent need to level up access to dentistry. Online available at https://www.the-dentist.co.uk/content/news/england-s-dental-deserts-and-the-urgent-need-to-level-up-access-to-dentistry

8.            The Week (2022) The crisis in dentistry: why has finding an NHS dentist become so difficult? Online available at https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/uk-news/958125/the-crisis-in-dentistry-explained 

9.            Public Policy Exchange (2022) Eliminating Dental Deserts: Ensuring Access to an NHS Dentist Across the UK. Online 27th October 2022.   Available via https://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk

10.          Hansard (2022) Health and Social Care Update – 22nd September 2022. https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2022-09-22/debates/1D1D386B-0440-4DE7-A810-D13A968EC920/HealthAndSocialCareUpdate?highlight=dental%20deserts#contribution-1756705C-4F88-49D0-9EC6-EB69D5C9528F

11.          Morley, C. (2022). Dental Nurse Recruitment and Retention:  Health Education England Northwest. Unpublished

12.          Dentists Act (1984) Section 36c.  Available online: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/24/2006-07-28?wrap=true&view=extent

13.          General Dental Council (2013) Standards For The Dental Team. GDC: London. Available online https://standards.gdc-uk.org/Assets/pdf/Standards%20for%20the%20Dental%20Team.pdf

14.          Government of Health and Social Care, the Welsh Government, the Department of Health Northern Ireland, Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement and with the support of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (2021) Delivering Better Oral Health; An Evidence-Based Toolkit For Prevention. 4th Edition. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delivering-better-oral-health-an-evidence-based-toolkit-for-prevention#full-publication-update-history

15.          Health Education England National Health Service United Kingdom (2021) Advancing Dental Care Review: Final Report  https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/advancing-dental-care

16.          College of General Dentistry (2021) Career Pathway For Dental Nurses. Available online at https://cgdent.uk/career-pathways/

17.          College of General Dentistry (2022) Our Memberships. Available online at https://cgdent.uk/membership-eligibility-2/

Dr Debbie Reed FCGDent, is a Dental Nurse and Associate Professor and Director of Advanced and Specialist Healthcare at University of Kent. She is Chair of the College’s Career Pathways Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy Group and Vice Chair of CGDent’s Faculty of Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy.

Preventing antimicrobial resistance together: a joint statement from the UK’s dental professional bodies for World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022

‘Preventing antimicrobial resistance together’ is the theme of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2022. Held annually from 18-24 November, WAAW is led by the World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership this year with the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the UN Environment Programme.

The World Health Organization has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity, requiring urgent multisectoral action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Members of the wider oral healthcare community, including decision makers and those with influence in governmental, non-governmental, academic and regulatory domains, must therefore consider their impact on AMR as a critical part of the sustainability agenda.

During WAAW 2022, the College of General Dentistry, Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists and Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, are highlighting the importance of working together to tackle AMR, supported by the Association of Dental Hospitals, British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, British Association of Dental Nurses, British Association of Dental Therapists, British Association of Oral Surgeons, British Association of Private Dentistry, British Dental  Association, British Endodontic Society, British and Irish Society of Oral Medicine, British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, British Society of Periodontology and Implant Dentistry, the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

“Everyone delivering and supporting oral healthcare has a role to play.”

They are reminding all those who deliver or support the delivery of oral healthcare that they have a role to play –working together, dental teams can identify service improvements and help keep antimicrobials working by auditing their prescribing practices, and the wider oral health community can reduce the need for prescribing of antibiotics by ensuring access to the right oral healthcare, at the right time and in the right place.

The organisations are encouraging dental teams to use a number of free resources to ensure that antimicrobials are used only when strictly necessary and appropriate:

They are also highlighting the Dental Antimicrobial Stewardship Toolkit (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dental-antimicrobial-stewardship-toolkit), which provides links to a range of guidance, training, audit and patient-facing resources (including those above) which will be useful for all members of the dental team, including but not limited to prescribers.

Dental Protection discount extended to nurses, hygienists, therapists and technicians

Dental Protection’s ‘CGDent Scheme’, under which members of the College of General Dentistry receive a discount on their Dental Protection subscription fees, is now available to dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists, orthodontic therapists, dental technicians and clinical dental technicians.

The arrangement has been available to dentists since the launch of a partnership between the two organisations in 2020.

Membership of the College is open to all registered dental professionals, and in line with the College’s vision to support the whole dental team, the partnership with Dental Protection has now been extended to College members in all registrant categories. Those holding a Postgraduate Certificate (or higher-level qualification) in a relevant subject are eligible for Full Membership and can qualify for a 5% reduction on their indemnity fee, and those admitted to Fellowship benefit from an 8% discount.

To take advantage of the reduced fees, College members should contact Dental Protection. Existing Dental Protection members should call 0800 561 9000 to get their relevant discount applied, and those who are not yet Dental Protection members should visit www.dentalprotection.org/uk to join. The discount will need to be requested each year at renewal to allow for verification of continued eligibility.

Dental Protection members who are not yet members of the College should visit here

How do we create a positive patient safety culture?

In his recent CPD seminar, delivered for the College at Dentistry Show London, Jason Wong MBE FCGDent, Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England, discussed contemporary concepts relating to patient safety, and in this blog, examines recent developments.

For some years I have spoken about the culture of fear and anxiety that has gripped the dental profession in the United Kingdom and how it has wide ranging impacts including its effect on the culture in clinical practice, limiting access to care and wellbeing of the dental workforce.

In a nutshell, what I was asked to speak about by the College of general Dentistry at the recent Dentistry show London, is how we, the dental profession, are attempting to initiate steps to move away from the current blame and fear culture to a fair and learning culture, and how this will improve patient safety.

I have always had an interest in this area, and from my time as a Local Dental Network Chair in the Midlands, and with my Leadership fellow Dr Priya Chohan and Oral Surgeons Professor Tara Renton and Dr Edmund Bailey, published an article in the British Dental Journal which concluded that there is a lack of knowledge concerning Patient Safety Incident reporting and a culture of fear affecting the profession.

Coincidentally, one of the first things I was asked to work on when I was appointed as Deputy Chief Dental Officer for England was whether wrong tooth extraction should still be classed as a Never Event by the NHS.

On 17 June 2021, I brought together key stakeholders from across dentistry to discuss the significant potential for patient safety improvement. The group’s discussions concluded with a commitment to work together in collaboration with the profession, to better embed a culture of fairness, openness and learning with regards to patient safety in dental settings.  

At the core, we knew that we needed to address the issue of what to record and what to report. We have looked at the available literature and have concluded that barriers to recording and reporting patient safety issues in dentistry is not just an England problem or even a UK problem, but a worldwide one.

At the same time, we welcomed the introduction of the Learn from patient safety events (LFPSE) service, which will support patient safety improvement across all dental care settings. We are encouraging recording of Patient Safety Events but there is still some work to align the system so that it is more user-friendly for dental practices.

Using LFPSE to record and share details of Patient Safety Events means that we could be participating in a profession-wide effort to support national safety improvement work. We recognise that most dental care is delivered in safe settings by caring practitioners, and that the profession has a safety record of which it can be proud.

However, there is always more to be done to ensure that we are delivering the best possible care for patients. Whilst event reporting is a vital tool for information gathering, patient safety engagement, and shared learning, further work is needed to facilitate a just culture for patient safety in dental settings.

Maintaining consistent, constructive, and fair evaluation of Patient Safety Events will facilitate a supportive and safe learning environment for all colleagues. Consistent evaluation will also aid local safety improvements, while assisting continuing professional development and encouraging personal reflection.  

It has been a major advantage to align our work with the rest of primary care and the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, so that dentistry does not work in a silo.  We therefore have NHS officials attend our meetings and we attend their strategy meetings, and the work that our group has carried out has been well received by the NHS.

However, defensive dentistry is rife, a lack of clarity about what is best and acceptable practice means that there is significant cognitive dissonance alongside the anxiety and fear.

What is patient safety?

Patient safety is the avoidance of unintended or unexpected harm to people during the provision of health care. We support providers to minimise patient safety incidents and drive improvements in safety and quality. Patients should be treated in a safe environment and protected from avoidable harm.

In the CGDent/Dentistry Show London presentation, I examined the principles contained in official publications, several well-known books as well as the patient safety syllabus from HEE’s e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) programme.

Project Sphere

Regional HEE Clinical Leadership Fellow and Dental Therapist, Jyoti Sumel, also presented at the Dentistry Show London this year. Jyoti leads Project Sphere, a project aimed at improving patient safety recording. The Project Sphere working group wants to initiate a culture change, a change that will see dental care move from a perceived blame culture to a learning culture.

They are encouraging the entire dental team to get involved: the safety of patients requires a team approach and is the responsibility of every individual. Project Sphere currently has wide ranging aims to improve systems for learning, recording and workforce support.

The Project Sphere group is fortunate to have both support for their work from both regulators and indemnity. With their support there is a real opportunity to affect the change they want to make.

Clinical leadership

Recent studies of organisational culture and patient safety emphasise the role of senior leadership. Senior leaders can support learning and communicate the importance of safety over other organisational goals. Effective leaders show active engagement with patients and staff and this has a bearing on safer patient care.

Dentists, dental nurses, and dental care professionals can all play an important part as clinical leaders. Clinical leaders make sense of patient safety problems, mobilise resources and put solutions in place. They also create a just culture which encourages colleagues to speak up when things go wrong, rather than fearing blame.

So how do you start to cultivate these principles in your practice?

Here are my top ten tips:

Leadership

  • Be genuine and build a vision for the whole practice
  • Be a genuine learning practice
  • Create a safe working environment
  • Build relationships – show genuine concern for interests of co-workers and patients
  • Lead by example

Communication culture

  • Optimal communications – try using freely available digital platforms to improve communication
  • Help to make traditions
  • Celebrate wins
  • Clear job description & expectations – identify strengths

System culture

  • Continue to develop comprehensive systems tailored to your setting

Have fun if possible but do build a system that everyone can work to.

Project Sphere – the future

Project Sphere will continue its work this coming year and will continue to socialise the concepts that I have been discussing in this blog. The College of General Dentistry has kindly agreed to publish some guidance for the workstream, the first of which involves lone working and the circumstances that surround it in dental settings. The Project Sphere group are working with the indemnity providers on a consensus statement to reassure clinicians, as well as guiding them to the best place to obtain advice. Hopefully the early positive signs from the impact of their work will continue to develop. As for culture change, that will take some time but the journey has to start somewhere and we hope that this will be the start of many positive changes in dentistry.

Free webinar for all dental professionals

Dental professionals are invited to join a free webinar to learn more about creating a positive patient safety culture, with Jason Wong. The webinar, Creating a positive patient safety culture in dentistry, takes place at 7pm on Tuesday 10 January 2023.

The webinar, hosted by the College and available through ProDental CPD, is free to view live for all dental professionals, but prior registration is required. College members will have free access to the recording afterwards. 

Shaping Faculties for the whole dental team

It has long been a vision for the College to form distinct Faculties for the different professions within the dental team. Faculty Chairs, Louise Belfield, Bill Sharpling and John Stanfield, update us on the progress they have made so far.


Louise Belfield, Chair of the Faculty of Dental Nursing & Orthodontic Therapy

I am delighted to announce the formation of the inaugural board for the Faculty of Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy.  Combined, Dental Nurses plus Orthodontic Therapists make up around 50% of the dental workforce, and it is our privilege to represent our registrant communities at the College of General Dentistry.

Our Board brings together a wealth of knowledge and expertise, along with a broad range of experience in general dental practice and beyond, including practice management, NHS and private practice, civilian and military, workforce, postgraduate education, academia, and research, as well as representation from the United Kingdom nations.

Our Board members are:

  • Louise Belfield (Chair and member of the College Council)
  • Debbie Reed (Vice-Chair)
  • Jane Dalgarno
  • Angie Heilmann
  • Amanda Knight
  • Kathryn Marshall
  • Sharon Morrow

All of our Board members are passionate volunteers, dedicated to the advancement of career opportunities, recognition of achievement, and parity of esteem for our Dental Nurses and Orthodontic Therapists.

Developing our new Faculty board presents some unique challenges, and with those come unique opportunities. Perhaps more than other registrant categories, Dental Nurse training is varied and diverse; there are multiple qualifications that can lead to GDC registration, and they are typically delivered outside of Higher Education Institutions, which can funnel graduates into well-established career pipelines. Combined with the lack of an obvious direction for career development once qualified, these factors can make the waters of career advancement rather muddy. Therefore, a key objective for our inaugural Faculty board is to implement the newly developed Career Pathways framework, led by our Vice-Chair Debbie Reed.

We have also prioritised development of the Faculty membership pathways for Dental Nurses and Orthodontic Therapists. Our newly developing Faculty membership criteria uphold the highest clinical standards and are relevant and accessible to our community of professionals. It is also important to note that for the first time, all levels of membership and fellowship of the College are open to all dental professionals, and we encourage our eligible members to consider application. Our Career Pathways framework can support our members to meet the different levels of Faculty and College criteria.

However, our Faculty is only as strong as its membership. It is imperative that we work together with our members at all stages of their careers, including trainees and newly qualified members, to develop the Faculty in a direction that serves our community. We are determined that both registrant categories within the Faculty have equivalent voice, and as such we are especially keen to engage with our community of Orthodontic Therapists.  We know that amongst our Dental Nurses and Orthodontic Therapists there are many experienced, talented, highly achieving professionals who have made significant impact on patient and public health, and the dental profession. Our ultimate aim as a board is to provide means to fully recognise those contributions, in parity with other registrant categories, and to provide support and guidance for our members to realise their career ambitions to their fullest potential.

Louise Belfield AssocFCGDent is a dental nurse, research scientist, lecturer, Health Education England Dental Clinical Fellow, and National Examination Board for Dental Nurses Trustee. Louise is a member of the College Council, the Professional Affairs Committee and the Membership Admissions Panel.

Bill Sharpling, Chair of the Faculty of Clinical Dental Technology & Dental Technology

It has been a pleasure to be involved in the College of General Dentistry since its very early days, after registering as a supporter in 2018. In 2020, I was invited to join the College Advisory Strategy Group and I built a team of Clinical Dental Technicians (CDTs) and Dental Technicians (DTs) who were keen to work together for the greater good of the College and the profession. I Chair the CDT and DT Working Group that has contributed to the development of the Career Pathway and Professional Framework and am a member of the College Council.

As soon as the opportunity arose to progress the creation of the four College Faculties, work began on assembling what would become the Board of our own Faculty, the Faculty of Clinical Dental Technology and Dental Technology (FCDTDT). It is worth noting that the actual final title of the Faculty is still under discussion by the Board and has not yet been finalised.

The Faculty Board members are:

  • Bill Sharpling (Chair and member of the College Council)
  • Steve Taylor (Vice Chair)
  • Mike Brindle
  • Lee Butler
  • Tony Laurie
  • Jiri Matl
  • Caroline Persaud
  • Emily Pittard
  • David Reay

The Board are a great bunch with a real mix of experience and huge amounts of enthusiasm to see real progression for our CDT and DT professions. Each member has shown such dedication to their role and have all taken on specific positions to enable progress. With such a small group it is not possible to replicate the structure and member roles of the full College Council but we have hopefully been able to cover most elements with this select group.

Each of the devolved nations has representation should it be needed. Mike, Jiri and Caroline have made themselves available to consider issues relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively. Tony and Steve are overseeing the faculty’s CPD activities and Emily is the Early Careers representative. Membership admissions will be managed by Lee and David with Caroline and Mike having the extra responsibility for Career Pathways activity.

The Board has met a couple of times and is scheduled to meet at least three times each year just ahead of Council meetings. Each meeting will have a principal theme. So far, the schedule has included CPD, membership levels and Career Pathway work. During the CPD meeting, Board members were joined by Robert Dyas from ProDental CPD and good progress was made regarding arranging a CPD programme for both DTs and CDTs.

DTs and CDTs are encouraged to join CGDent and once they have done so, will automatically also become a member of the Faculty. Members will be able to apply to join the Faculty at a certain level which is dependent on qualifications and/or experience. The level that one can join then determines the post nominals that a Faculty member is entitled to use. Members will also be able to join a Certified Membership Scheme which will enable them to be supported and mentored at the same time as progressing through the Career Pathway, mapped against certain criteria.

These are very early days for the Faculty, but with the continued support from the Board and the guidance and direction from the College, progress will continue to be made and the profession will see significant benefits for the long term.

Bill Sharpling FCGDent is Associate Dean (CPD) and Director of the London Dental Education Centre (LonDEC) at the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, King’s College London and Honorary Professor at RAK College of Dental Sciences, UAE. Bill is a member of the College Council and the Careers and Training Committee.

John Stanfield, Chair of the Faculty of Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy

Throughout the formation of the College of General Dentistry, the creation of Faculties supporting each of the dental team groups, with membership levels that are attained by progression through the Career Pathway, has been a key vision.

The work that has been ongoing in a multi-threaded stream, has now allowed us to start to form the faculties.  To this end, we have appointed an inaugural board to the Faculty of Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy which will guide the Faculty until we have enough members to have elections.

The Board members are:

  • John Stanfield (Chair and member of the College Council)
  • Frances Robinson (Vice Chair)
  • Sarah Hill
  • Laura McClune
  • Sarah Murray
  • Fiona Sandom
  • Miranda Steeples
  • Deborah Stratford
  • Kirstie Thwaites

The Board, as you can see, brings together a huge amount of experience and qualifications to lead us forward in this historic and bold move for the profession.  Our tasks, as we go forward, enthuse each of us, knowing this can only improve our standing both within the dental profession and that of the general public.

Our Faculty has to grow, we require members to become part of our community, to set and raise standards, and to have input into how the Faculty and the College are run.  We have our voice on the College Council, with full voting rights, this task has been appointed to me until we vote for a chair of the Faculty who will then join the Council. 

Previously I had been involved with FGDP, both as a member and vice-chair of the DCP committee and as the editor of ‘Team in Practice’.  However, we couldn’t be full Members, nor did we have any voting rights.  I took on this role to support the vision of a College that would represent the whole dental team with an opportunity for all to be full Members.  We all have the same chance to be admitted to the community as Members, Associate Fellows and Fellows of the Faculty and the College.  Many have already been admitted as Associate Fellows of the College and we have just had our first Faculty member admitted as a Fellow of the College – my congratulations go to Fiona Sandom.

Currently, the Board is working on adapting the Career Pathways in Dentistry Professional  Framework to meet the needs of our constituents, mapping this against the expected career stages.

The Faculty will be expected to contribute to College publications, standards and guidance, to any of the press releases which involve our members and to this end we will be bringing on board those of you with particular experience and expertise.  We are very aware of the increasing academic achievements of our constituents and the research they are carrying out and want to make the most of this.

Joining the faculty and the college brings with it certain benefits:                                              

  • Recognition of postgraduate training and experience, your pathway from Safe Practitioner to Accomplished Practitioner
  • CPD via ProDental CPD (over 1000 hours)
  • Primary Dental Journal
  • Certified Membership Scheme
  • Belonging to a community of like-minded professionals

John Stanfield AssocFCGDent has over 40 years’ experience as a dental hygienist, and works in private dental practice in Cheshire. He was Editor of the FGDP’s Team in Practice journal and Vice-Chair of its DCP Committee, and now serves on the College’s Membership Affairs Committee. John is also a member of the College Council.

Education partnership with Dentistry Show London

The College will be the headline education partner for the Clinical Excellence Theatre at Dentistry Show London 2022, hosting nine seminars in three CPD theatres over the two-day conference.

CGDent speakers: top row: Jalpesh Patel, Kevin Lewis, Jason Wong, Wendy Thompson; bottom row: Tim Newton, Jacqui Elsden, Pynadath George, Abhi Pal

The College will be welcoming members and non-members alike to its sessions, with eight experts in their fields sharing their knowledge and giving advice on an array of subjects encompassing clinical dentistry, professionalism and career support:

  • Introduction to facial aesthetics and the current educational pathways
  • Duty of Candour: the legal and regulatory risk
  • Professionalism – a medico-legal perspective
  • Creating a positive patient safety culture in dentistry
  • Antimicrobial prescribing in dentistry
  • Mental health wellness in dentistry
  • Supporting staff through menopause (co-hosted with the BADN)
  • Mentoring in implant dentistry: good practice guidelines
  • Record-keeping in the real world of general dental practice

College representatives will also be available throughout the conference at Stand F58 to talk to delegates about the College, its vision for the profession and the benefits of membership, and to answer questions.

Conference registration is free, and delegates will have access to over 100 seminars in all across 6 lecture theatres, as well as over 180 exhibiting suppliers, and the opportunity to network with thousands of dentists, practice managers, hygienists and therapists, dental nurses, technicians and laboratory owners.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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College welcomes NHS England contract changes

The College has responded to changes to the NHS England dental contract announced by the Chief Dental Officer for England, Sara Hurley FCGDent.

Dental therapists will soon be able to accept patients for NHS treatments, providing fillings, sealants and preventative care for adults and children. Providers will also be able to claim for five Units of Dental Activity (UDAs), rather than three at present, where a patient requires filling or extraction of three or more teeth in a course of treatment and/or non-molar endodontic care to permanent teeth, and seven UDAs for a course of treatment requiring the provision of molar endodontic care to permanent teeth. In addition, practices may be able to increase their NHS activity by up to 10% beyond their contracted amount if local dental funding is underspent.

Responding to the announcement, Abhi Pal FCGDent, President of the College of General Dentistry, said:

“While the NHS dental contract in England still needs wider and more fundamental reform, we welcome these changes – the first in 16 years – as positive and significant improvements.

“In particular, we have previously called for the removal of unnecessary restrictions on the roles played by members of the wider dental team, and are pleased to see that steps will be soon taken in this direction. The College believes that greater recognition and use within NHS dentistry of the full range of skills of all team members will benefit patients, enable the delivery of more preventative care, and support professional satisfaction and staff retention.

“We have also said that while truly universal access to NHS dentistry can only be achieved with greater funding, access can still be improved through better allocation of existing resources. We therefore welcome the direction of more resource to the treatment of patients with greater needs, as well as the potential for practices to deliver additional care so that all funding allocated to dentistry is used for its intended purpose.”

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Volunteering in dentistry: how to get involved – 21 March 2023

CGDent live webinar, Tuesday 21 March 20237pm

Frances Robinson providing dental care in Cambodia, 2017

This CGDent webinar will explore the variety of volunteering opportunities available in dentistry, both in the UK and abroad, and look at how you can get involved.

Speaker:

  • Frances Robinson AssocFCGDent, Dental Hygienist & Oral Health Practitioner, Vice Chair of CGDent’s Inaugural Board of the Faculty of Dental Hygiene and Therapy

CPD approx 1.5 hours

This webinar is hosted by the College of General Dentistry and powered by our CPD delivery partner, ProDental CPD – register below.

It is free to view live for all dental professionals, and College members also have free access to the recorded webinar and can claim CPD hours for free.  A £20 fee will apply for non-members who wish to claim 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 https://cgdent.uk/membership-fees/

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