What is the General Dental Council (GDC)?

The General Dental Council (GDC) is an independent regulatory body made up of over 114,000 members that sets dental standards for all dental care professionals in the UK. The GDC also keeps a registry of all registered and qualified dentists, making it crucial to complete registration with them as soon as possible. They also deal with quality assurance education and investigate concerns that patients may have about their treatment or conduct by any dentist, whether in private practice or the NHS.

While registering is crucial to be able to practise dentistry in the UK, continuing professional development is also key. Students who complete a Postgraduate Diploma with the London Dental Institute (LDi) will receive a UK accredited qualification, with CPD adhering to GDC standards.

How does the General Dental Council regulate dentists?

The General Dental Council regulates dentists according to a set of legislative guidelines. As well as possessing the power to grant registration to dentists who meet their requirements on education and training, only those who are registered can practise dentistry in the UK, whether in private practice or as part of the NHS.

At the core of the regulation is the Standards For The Dental Team, a set of 9 principles that includes standards for obtaining patient consent, working with colleagues in an effective way, and raising concerns if a patient is at risk.

These standards apply to:

  • Dentists
  • Dental Nurses
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Therapists
  • Orthodontic Therapists
  • Dental Technicians
  • Clinical Dental Technicians

Assessing Fitness to Practise for Dental Professionals

The GDC also assesses fitness to practise, which means a dentist’s knowledge of their field, clinical skills, and health and safety precautions they take when treating patients. Fitness to practice also includes actions taken which affect confidence in their work and conduct. The GDC investigates mistakes in a procedure (both diagnosis and treatment), breaches of confidentiality, indications of criminal offence, and more. If a dentist’s fitness to practise is found to be impaired, action can be taken to suspend or remove them from the register, meaning they can no longer work in the UK.

The Importance of Being a Registered Dentist for Dental Care Professionals

It is crucial to register with the GDC, as only dentists who are registered can practise dentistry in the UK. The GDC is empowered by The Dentists Act 1984, which provides the legislative framework for the regulatory body. Being a registered dentist means they can set standards for providers of dentistry education and dental teams.

CPD (Continuing Professional Development)

CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is part of the GDC’s performance assessment of all registered dental team members. Learning throughout your career is key to maintaining high professional standards, expanding your knowledge base, and being able to offer cutting-edge and expert treatments for your patients in specialist fields. All dentists are required to undertake CPD as part of the regulatory system. Your CPD cycle begins at the start of your first full year of registration. Further details can be found here.

How To Register with the General Dental Council

Registering with the General Dental Council can be processed through the GDC website and view all the information provided. You can also check out the info for new registrants, temporary registration for dentists not eligible for full registration to practise dentistry in the UK and help for refugee dental professionals. You can also review and manage your registration and access information regarding Brexit, such as new rules for EEA-qualified dentists registered prior to 2021.

GDC Website Registration

Regulated dentistry is of the utmost importance to both a dentist and their patients, and the GDC understands this better than anyone. Every dentist who registers enjoys support and good regulation, and you can join the GDC register online. Find out if you’re eligible to apply via the website here, check if your qualifications are of a sufficient standard, and if you will need to pass the overseas registration exam. Everyone who registers enjoys regulation at its highest standard, with performance monitored, CPD review, and more key tools for continuing your career.

Study for a UK Accredited Course at the LDi

Study for a UK accredited qualification online at the London Dental Institute.

Discover which course option is right for you with the London Dental Institute with our 12-month part-time Postgraduate Diplomas. Contact an enrolment advisor today, or visit the website to find out more.