Navigating the chaos of managing medical dental crises

Lecturer and Tier II-accredited Oral Surgeon, Dr Sukhvinder Atthi FCGDent, discusses some of the common medical emergencies that can occur in dental practice.

“Help… call 999 and tell them to get here quickly!” – the dreaded words you might find yourself exclaiming, when you realise something is not right, and you find your patient unconscious before you!

As dental professionals not only are we responsible for maintaining the oral health of our patients, but we also have a duty to be appropriately trained to deal with medical emergencies that may arise in the dental practice setting. It is an essential skill that the GDC recommends is maintained annually.

I treat a lot of nervous minor oral surgery patients and am sharing key advice in a CGDent lecture on managing medical emergencies at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2024 on Saturday 18 May (4.15-5pm).

Numerous studies have shown that rehearsing medical emergency training within a dental practice can increase the team’s confidence to manage and treat medical emergency scenarios. Keeping up to date with the required knowledge and undertaking skilled CPR and AED training is crucial in the successful outcomes of managing such patients.

The most common medical emergency is the vasovagal syncope, also known as the simple faint. There are many causes of fainting, however, within a dental practice it is mostly related to pain, emotional stress, fear and anxiety. Some patients may suffer from fainting spells due to other neurological or heart conditions too. 

Early recognition of medical emergencies can improve patient outcomes and often avoid further deterioration.  We have all heard it before; a patient enters the surgery and you’re there smiling and greeting them whilst they mumble, ”I don’t like the dentist!” or ”Last time I had an injection it made me go all funny and ill”.  At this moment, take a minute to think about their anxiety and the apprehension which has led them to feel like this.

Usually, these patients have been kept awake all night worrying about their upcoming appointment. They have often only had a light meal or skipped eating all together because their stomach can’t manage any food.

If patients have not eaten prior to attending, their appointment can worsen their condition hence this can be combated with something as simple as a glucose high energy sweet or glucose-based drink, which helps to maintain the patient’s blood glucose so they can cope with their body undergoing stresses that they are going through prior and during their appointment.

There is also an increased likelihood of encountering medical emergencies during treatment involving intravenous sedation. As an IV sedation provider, implementing the necessary Immediate Life Support (ILS) training is essential, and if you are thinking of applying sedation through your clinical practice workforce, you will need to make sure your training is up-to-date.

Sepsis from dental infections has become increasingly frequent in my referral clinics based on patients that have encountered failed extractions or are still unwell from being on antibiotics for dentoalveolar infections or pericoronitis, alongside other medical factors that the patient has been diagnosed with. When infection spreads within the head and neck region, there is a risk that the airway can be compromised. Patients can present with noisy breathing, stridor, trismus, breathing rapidly with a fast heart rate, alongside dysphagia. Initial management should include ensuring the patient is in an upright position, administering 15 litres per minute of oxygen, and calling for the ambulance.

Join me in the Enhanced CPD Theatre at BDCDS24, where I will discuss these topics as well as my own journey and experiences, and will talk through essential practice to help you deal with the most common medical emergencies.

The College is a key education partner for the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show (BDCDS), hosting four lectures in the Enhanced CPD Theatre – register for your free place.

Managing medical emergencies in the dental practice
Dr Sukhvinder Atthi FCGDent
Saturday 18 May, 4.15pm, Enhanced CPD Theatre

Dr Atthi’s lecture will update your knowledge of managing medical emergencies within dental practice, including a review of the mandatory audit process for drugs to use in medical emergencies, how to deal with an unconscious patient and how to recognise and manage suspected sepsis.

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Dentistry Show lectures

The College has confirmed its programme of CPD lectures for the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show (BDCDS), which is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May 2024.

The College is the headline education partner for the Enhanced CPD Theatre, where it is hosting four lectures:

Friday 17 May:

Saturday 18 May:

Other lectures in the theatre include:

Friday 17 May

10.15am- 11.00am: An update from the Interim Chief Dental Officer for England – Jason Wong FCGDent
11.15am-12.00pm: Sleep to live: an introduction to dental sleep medicine – Dr Aditi Desai
12.15pm-1.00pm: Both sides of the fence: the reality of head and neck cancer treatments for patients and professionals – Jocelyn Harding FCGDent
1.15pm-2.00pm: Consent and medico-legal update – Simon Thackeray 

Saturday 18 May

9:15am-10.00am: An update on mouth cancer – Tripat Mahajan
12.15pm-1.00pm: Why is dentistry stressful? A toolkit for survival – Jeremy Cooper FCGDent
2.15pm-3.00pm: Oral health and the menopause: supporting patients throughout the menopause and beyond – Juliette Reeves
3.15pm-4.00pm: A practical guide to endodontic access – Rachel Derby 

Staff and senior members of the College are also looking forward to meeting members and prospective members at Stand Q01, and to answering any queries you may have about the College and membership.

BDCDS is the UK’s largest dental event, attracting 9,000 dental professionals with its offer of 11 CPD theatres, 200 lectures and access to over 400 exhibiting suppliers.

Attendance is free for all registered dental professionals – register now via the link below.

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Research training scheme for dental professionals

The College has endorsed a scheme offering dental professionals certified training and experience in research.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Associate Principal Investigator Scheme is aimed at UK health and care professionals who would not normally have the opportunity to take part in clinical research in their day to day role, but who are interested in learning about it and willing to make a significant contribution to the conduct and delivery of a study for at least six months.

Participating practitioners work alongside the Principal Investigator (PI) of a relevant NIHR Portfolio study being carried out locally, at the same site, typically for 2-3 hours per week. Mentored by the PI, they also complete a checklist of study activities and an online learning pathway, and on successful completion of the scheme are issued a certificate confirming NIHR Associate Principal Investigator status.

Endorsement by the College has allowed the scheme to open to NIHR Portfolio studies in the institute’s Oral and Dental Specialty, and certificates issued to successful trainees will be endorsed by the College.

An introductory video is above, and details of how to become a trainee, or how to register a study for the scheme, can be found on the NIHR Associate PI Scheme website

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Publication of qualifications on the Member Register

The College’s online Member Register, a public record of each current member’s membership number and grade, now has the additional facility to advertise members’ qualifications.

The new functionality has been developed following interest from members, who can now proudly display their educational and career achievements alongside their membership of the College.

Permitted inclusions are those postgraduate qualifications and professional accomplishments which contribute to eligibility for the individual’s grade of membership. Associate Fellows not yet qualifying for Fellowship may also display awards which are recognised in the criteria for individual Fellowship domains.

To have their qualifications displayed, members will need to follow the instructions below to upload them to their online account. Members who have previously uploaded their qualifications and awards for the purpose of providing evidence of eligibility for Full Membership, Associate Fellowship or Fellowship should note that these will not have been automatically added to the Member Register by the College unless they have joined or upgraded since December 2023. These members should also follow the instructions below, bypassing the third step.

Once validated by the College, details of qualifications and awards will then be displayed on the individual’s record. There is no charge for this service.

Members can link their personal record to their practice website or LinkedIn profile in order to demonstrate their professional standing, educational achievements and commitment to high standards.

Associate Members and Affiliate Members also appear on the Member Register but are not eligible to add postgraduate qualifications to their published entry. However, Associate Members may upload their postgraduate qualifications to their online account, and the College will be pleased to advise whether their qualifications provide, or contribute towards, eligibility for Full Membership, Associate Fellowship or Fellowship.

How to add your eligible qualifications to the Member Register

1. Sign in to your account using the email address you have registered with the College.

If you need to use the ‘Forgot Password’ option, please check your junk/spam folder in case the password reset email is directed there

2. Click Evidence & qualifications

3. Click Add new record and fill in the details of your qualification or award. You will also need to upload the certificate or document in PDF format or an image of it as a JPEG file (in either case this must be under 3MB in size).

4. Click Save, and once you have added all your qualifications and awards in the same manner, tick the two confirmation boxes and click Submit.

Publication of your qualifications and/or awards will take place after validation by the College.

Qualifications permitted on the Member Register

The following awards are currently permitted on the Member Register:

All Full Members, Associate Fellows and Fellows
  • MJDF
  • MFDS
  • Diploma in General Dental Practice
  • Postgraduate Certificate(s) in a relevant subject
Associate Fellows and Fellows only
  • Accredited Full Membership of the British Association for Cosmetic Dentistry
  • CGDent Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics
  • Diploma in Postgraduate Dental Studies
  • Fellowship of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  • Fellowship of the Faculty of Dental Trainers of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Fellowship of the Faculty of Medical Leadership & Management
  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellowship of the International College of Dentists
  • FGDP(UK) Diploma in Implant Dentistry
  • FGDP(UK) Diploma in Minor Oral Surgery
  • FGDP(UK) Diploma in Orthodontics
  • FGDP(UK) Diploma in Primary Care Oral Surgery
  • FGDP(UK) Diploma in Restorative Dentistry
  • Law degree or LLM
  • Master’s level qualification(s) in a relevant subject
  • Membership in Advanced General Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Membership in General Dental Surgery
  • Membership of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
  • MPhil or PhD in a relevant subject
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education
  • Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in a relevant legal subject
  • Postgraduate Diploma or Masters in a leadership and/or management subject
  • Postgraduate Diploma(s) in a relevant subject
  • RCS(Ed) Diploma in Implant Dentistry
  • Specialty Membership of a Royal College or Royal College faculty
Fellows only
  • Board Certification by the American Board of General Dentistry
  • Fellowship of the College of Dentistry of South Africa
  • Fellowship or Honorary Fellowship of the former Faculty of General Dental Practice UK
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow or its Faculty of Dental Surgery
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland or its Faculty of Dentistry
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh or its Faculty of Dental Surgery
  • Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England or its Faculty of Dental Surgery
  • Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons

Please note that to be accepted, Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and Master’s-level qualifications must be university-awarded or equivalent credentials at Level 7 as defined in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (equivalent to Level 11 in Scotland).

They must also provide, respectively, 60, 120 and 180 UK credits or their international equivalent – 60 UK credits is the equivalent to 30 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits or typically 15 US credits.

Awards from recognised UK higher education institutions and those of other member states of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) are recognised by default, however those submitting qualifications awarded by an institution outside of the EHEA will also be asked to provide a Statement of Comparability, which can be obtained from the UK National Information Centre for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills (UK ENIC, formerly UK NARIC).

The list of eligible awards may change from time to time as eligibility criteria for College membership grades are reviewed. College Fellowships in Dental Nursing, Dental Hygiene & Therapy and Dental Technology are currently being developed, and awards contributing to eligibility for these will be added to the list once determined.

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CGDent Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics, 2024-26

The College is now accepting applications for the next cohort of its Postgraduate Diploma programme in Primary Care Orthodontics, starting in June.

The comprehensive Level 7 programme is designed to give General Dental Practitioners the skills and knowledge needed to treat more complex malocclusions, including extraction cases, taking them up to just below specialist training level. It covers all appliance systems – fixed functional, aligners, lingual and Inman – and includes both the theory and practical aspects of orthodontic care.

Through a combination of lectures, seminar and practical sessions, the syllabus includes:

  • Records, assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Treatment planning for Class I, Class II div1, Class II div 2 and Class III malocclusions
  • Radiography – Ceph/OPG/CBCT
  • Fixed appliances
  • Lingual appliances
  • Removable appliances
  • Functionals
  • Retention
  • Aetiology of malocclusion, growth & development
  • Development of the dentition and tooth movement
  • Dental material & biomechanics
  • Multidisciplinary care, including restorative, periodontics & surgery
  • Critical reading skills
  • Health education, health & safety, legislation and audit
  • Marketing and practice management 

During the programme, which is limited to 12 places, students will discuss multiple new cases, participate in hands-on practical sessions and weekly online planning discussions, and will be given one-to-one mentoring by specialists for ten treated cases. The 2024-26 programme is supported by six training blocks, five of three days and one of four days, which take place in June and October 2024, and February, June, September and December 2025.

To ensure enough case-flow and experience, the course is recommended for dentists who have treated at least ten fixed cases, are treating a minimum of ten orthodontic cases per annum, and are familiar with using fixed appliances.

The 120 credit programme, including ongoing informal and formal assessment, is delivered by IAS Academy, with a final examination held by the College.

It is led by Professor Ross Hobson, a specialist orthodontist, former Head of Orthodontic MSc/Specialist training at Newcastle University, and former Chair in Orthodontics at the University of Central Lancashire. He holds a Master’s in Dental Surgery and PhD from Newcastle, a Membership in Orthodontics at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, is a Fellow of the College of General Dentistry, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and was the first dentist to be awarded the Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Holders of the CGDent Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics (DipPCOrth) are eligible for Associate Fellowship of the College, and the qualification also satisfies the Clinical domain of Fellowship.

Professor Hobson is also the presenter of the College’s Introduction to Orthodontics series, which explore the possibilities and limitations of orthodontic treatment with fixed braces and provide an insight into the postgraduate diploma programme. The webinars are free to view on-demand by College members, who can also claim free CPD certificates.

Prof Hobson also discusses the complexity and importance of correct assessment and diagnosis of a patient before orthodontic treatment in his blog post, Orthodontics in general dentistry – an unknown, unknown

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CGDent Scotland Study Day – 6 December 2024

Friday 6 December 2024, 9am-5.30pm (registration from 8am, drinks reception until 7pm)

SAVE THE DATE – details to follow

Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow G51 1EA

The CGDent Scotland study day takes place at the Glasgow Science Centre on the first Friday in December each year. A diary fixture for many of its 400 participants, it is open to both members and non-members of the College from across the UK and elsewhere, and can be attended in person or virtually.

For in-person attendees, there is free parking and a light breakfast available. The day provides six hours of CPD including the Caldwell Memorial Lecture, with two coffee breaks, a three-course lunch and a drinks reception afterwards, with delegates also encouraged to visit the accompanying trade exhibition.

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College partnership with BDCDS24

At the 2024 edition of the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show (BDCDS24), the College will once again be the headline education partner for the Enhanced CPD Theatre.

The annual conference, which will take place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May, is the UK’s largest dental event, bringing together the whole dental team with 9,000 dental professionals gathering under one roof.

Free to attend for all registered dental professionals, attendees can expect over 200 lectures across 11 CPD theatres in total, as well as the opportunity to meet over 400 exhibiting suppliers. Details of the College’s lectures will be announced in due course.

The College will also be hosting a stand throughout the conference where staff and senior members will be available to answer any queries you may have about the College and membership, or just to say hello.

Further details about BDCDS24 are available on the conference website.

Use the link below to pre-register your interest and be the first to hear once delegate registration is live.

Recognition of non-UK postgraduate qualifications

A new process has been announced for the consideration of postgraduate qualifications awarded outside the UK in helping determine eligibility for Full Membership, Associate Fellowship and Fellowship of the College.

Map highlighting member states of the European Higher Education Area

To date, equivalence for qualifications awarded outside the UK has been determined on a case-by-case basis, with the requirements of each award submitted in support of applications examined individually. However, with an increasing number of applications from dental professionals around the world, a more straightforward and transparent process has now been developed.

In line with the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and Bologna Process, relevant postgraduate awards from recognised Higher Education institutions in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) will now be accepted by default.

However, those submitting postgraduate qualifications awarded by an institution outside of the EHEA will be asked to provide a Statement of Comparability, which can be obtained from the UK National Information Centre for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills (UK ENIC, formerly UK NARIC) for a small fee.

The EHEA sits apart from the European Union but includes all current EU member states as well as Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Serbia, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK, almost 50 countries in all.

College membership marks a dental professional’s commitment to professional development and career progression, and the College accepts all qualified and licensed dental professionals around the world into Associate Membership.

Postgraduate qualifications are required to enter into substantive membership grades, and the College encourages members to upgrade their membership where eligible to reflect their professional standing.

Unless they hold the MJDF, MFDS, MFGDP(UK) or DGDP, applicants for Full Membership require a relevant and accredited Level 7[1] Postgraduate Certificate providing 60 UK credits or an international equivalent[2].

Holders of the MGDS, DPDS, a Specialty Membership of a UK Faculty or one of certain CGDent/FGDP(UK)/RCS Edinburgh-issued diplomas are automatically eligible for Associate Fellowship, however applicants otherwise require a relevant and accredited Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma providing 120 UK credits, or a Master’s-level qualification providing 180 credits, or a Doctorate.

Most suitable and relevant Postgraduate Diplomas, Master’s degrees and Doctorates are also likely to satisfy one or more of the domains of the ‘by experience’ route to Fellowship, and one or two specific Postgraduate Certificates also contribute.

However, anyone holding the FFGDP(UK), FDS, FFD, FRACDS, FRCDC, FCD(SA), Board Certification from the American Board of General Dentistry, or who holds FCGDent(Hon.) or FFGDP(UK)(Hon.) and meets the standard requirements for admission, is automatically eligible for Fellowship by means of equivalence and need not apply by the ‘experience’ route.

Members who practise wholly overseas and are not registered with the UK’s General Dental Council pay a concessionary membership fee.

Full details of eligibility for each type of membership are available here. To upgrade, click the button below to select the membership you wish to apply for and to provide evidence of your relevant qualifications and experience.

[1] Level 7 as defined in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, equivalent to Level 11 in Scotland

[2] 60 UK credits is the equivalent to 30 ECTS or 15 US credits

Endodontics – 4 July 2024

Thursday 4 July 2024, 6.30pm, Solihull

CGDent Midlands Peer Review & Pizza

This peer review session on endodontics is part of the CGDent Midlands Peer Review & Pizza series, which aims to share expertise, experience and knowledge as well as encouraging discussion on a diverse range of topics within dentistry. Sessions take place every two months and free pizza is provided.

The session will cover common issues with endodontics and how some of these can be avoided, the standard of care expected by a primary care GDP and when to refer, and tips and tricks to make your Endo go smoothly and your post-op PA’s look beautiful!

The case-based discussion is limited to 12 people so sign up to avoid missing out! This is an opportunity to bring your most difficult cases and learn tips and tricks on how to better manage them in the future.

The guest moderator is Dr Joanna Batt. Dr Batt graduated in 2007 and worked in NHS and private practices following qualification, and has been working at Birmingham Dental Hospital since 2011. She was awarded a PhD in 2017, and has been completing specialty training in Endodontics since 2020.

This peer review series is open to students, Dental Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Dentists.


Thursday 4 July 2024, 6.30pm


Solihull Dental Centre & Implant Clinic
Doubleday House
29 High Street
B91 3SJ


  • Current member of the College: FREE
  • Non-member: £20

2 CPD hours per session

If you have any questions or queries, please contact [email protected]

Once you have submitted the registration form by clicking on the button above, please also email [email protected] with the following details:

  • Date of your GDC Registration.
  • Name and address of your current practice

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New CGDent-GC Award offers aesthetic dentistry training to Foundation Dentists

The College and GC, in association with The Tom Bereznicki Charitable Educational Foundation, have launched a new competition for Foundation Dentists and Vocational Trainees throughout the UK.

The inaugural CGDent-GC Award for Foundation Dentists, which promotes dentistry skills, is open to all those enrolled on a Foundation or Vocational Training Programme in 2023-24.

All eligible competition entrants will receive a free GC G-aenial A-CHORD Composite kit, worth in the region of £250, to use in their case treatment (while stocks last), and up to 14 winners will receive a fully-funded place on a composite layering course taking place over two days at the GC Europe Campus in Leuven, Belgium. The prize includes hotel accommodation, international travel expenses, meals and subsistence.

Entrants must submit an aesthetic case that they have treated during their Foundation/Vocational Training. The case must involve more than one tooth, including at least one anterior tooth, as well as the use of composite to restore teeth.

The award is now open, the closing date for entry is Friday 23 February 2024, and final cases must be submitted by Friday 5 April 2024. The winners will be announced in early June, and their course will take place on Thursday 11th & Friday 12th July 2024.

GC is an oral health company which manufactures dental systems and products which are sold around the world, and has won awards for its products and innovations. It provides both online and in-person training covering many areas of dental practice.

The Tom Bereznicki Charitable Educational Foundation supports educational opportunities for early career dentists in the UK, and was founded by Dr Tom Bereznicki FCGDent, a general dental practitioner with a special interest in restorative dentistry.

Speaking about the inaugural award, Professor Sir Nairn Wilson CBE FCGDent, President Emeritus of the College, said:

I am delighted that newly qualified colleagues will have the opportunity to enter the innovative CGDent-GC competition. By becoming entrants, it is hoped that a large number of FDs and VTs across the UK, in addition to having opportunity to work with a state-of-the-art composite system, will be encouraged to expand and develop their knowledge, skills and experience in aesthetic dentistry, to better serve the needs and expectations of their patients. The collaborative working between CGDent and GC, made possible by the generous support of the recently established Tom Bereznicki Charitable Educational Foundation, is to be warmly welcomed: hopefully the first of many different collaborations between the College and the dental industry to promote excellence in clinical care.”

John Maloney, GC’s Director and Country Manager for the UK, Ireland and South Africa, said:

“GC are honoured to partner with the College of General Dentistry and The Tom Bereznicki Charitable Educational Foundation to deliver this new prize for Foundation Dentists. GC have a proud history of delivering quality postgraduate education to the dental profession, and therefore we look forward to developing this partnership in the years to come.”

Dr Tom Bereznicki commented:

“I would like to thank the Trustees of The Tom Bereznicki Charitable Educational Foundation, the College of General Dentistry and GC in helping to get this exciting project off the ground. I would also like to thank my long-standing friend from my undergraduate days in Edinburgh, the recently knighted Sir Nairn Wilson, for agreeing to be the Patron of the charity. This inaugural competition is the first of what we hope will be many other competitions in the near future.”

Click the button below for further information about the award and links to guidance for entrants and the entry form.

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