Competencies of the New General Dental Practitioner

This document presents the Competencies of the New General Dental Practitioner that was jointly developed and approved by x representatives from y member dental institutions at the Dental Deans Workshop held in conjunction with the 10th SEAADE meeting in Bali, Indonesia on 12 August 2015.

This document is to serve as the foundation to:

  • Define the major and supporting competencies necessary for entry into the dental profession as independent general dental practitioners;
  • Promote common standards of dental education in South East Asia and other Asian countries that this organisation serves;
  • Promote adoption of best practices in dental education with aim of producing competent general dental practitioners who are capable of providing safe and quality patient care;
  • Serve as a central resource to promote harmonisation of dental curriculum of dental institutions in the region, thus contributing to standardisation of dental practice standards in the region;
  • Facilitate acceptance and mobility of dental practitioners in the region.

A general dental practitioner, on completion of his/her training, should be able to independently and collaboratively with allied dental professionals provide primary oral health care to contribute to the general health of the population.   The training received should include a formal structured course at a tertiary institution that awards a professional dental degree.

Primary oral health care involves providing basic dental treatment for common oral diseases competently and safely.  In addition he/she should be capable of implementing appropriate oral health interventions for his/her patients and communities in a culturally sensitive manner.

Competency assumes that all decisions, tasks and behaviours carried out are supported by sound knowledge and skills in biomedical, behavioural and clinical dental science, in an ethical and professional manner.  Competences should support integration and merging of all disciplines, which should benefit dentists in training and also patients who are receiving treatment.

To this end, the following are the major competencies expected from a new general dental practitioner:

  • Display ethical values and professionalism in practising dentistry within the confines of the laws governing the profession
  • Participate with members of the dental team and other health care professionals to promote and improve the oral health of individuals and groups in the community
  • Demonstrate clinical skills in the independent provision of primary oral health care
  • Display entrepreneurial skills in the management of dental practice
  • Possess scientific knowledge to support the practice of dentistry
  • Communicate effectively with peers in the dental and other health professions, patients and the community
  • Display critical thinking and problem solving skills in daily practice.

The specific competencies to support the development of the above-mentioned competencies include:-

Domain 1:  Ethical Values and Professionalism

  1. Display ethical values and professionalism in practising dentistry within the confines of the laws governing the profession
  2. Display professional integrity, empathy, honesty, trustworthiness, cultural sensitivity and benevolence
  3. Acknowledge that the patient is the centre of care and that all interactions, including diagnosis, treatment planning and treatment, must focus on the patient’s autonomy and be in the patient’s best interests
  4. Maintain currency of practice and transparency
  5. Practice within scope of competence and consult with or refer to professional colleagues when indicated
  6. Continue professional development and lifelong learning.

Domain 2: Prevention and Health Promotion

  1. Identify risk and contributing factors of oral diseases at the individual, family and community levels in order to appropriately provide the proper health promotion measures
  2. Provide patients with comprehensive and appropriate oral health education and preventive measures in a manner that encourages self care and motivation
  3. Organise a community programme to improve the oral health of a community according to identified needs

Domain 3: Clinical Skills

  1. Display the ability to select, obtain and interpret findings from relevant patient data, including a thorough history and clinical examination, utilizing appropriate primary and secondary diagnostic tools to arrive at differential diagnoses and a definitive diagnosis of the oral condition or concern of the patient
  2. Discuss the findings, diagnoses, etiology, risks, benefits and prognoses of the treatment options, with a view to patient participation in their oral health management
  3. Formulate a comprehensive treatment plan taking into consideration the patient’s inputs, available scientific evidence and the dentist’s competence
  4. Perform preventive and therapeutic procedures in order to control disease, maintain oral health, and evaluate outcomes
  5. Display the ability to recognize and manage various medical and dental emergencies in dental practice.

Domain 4: Management of Dental Practice

  1. Apply principles and concepts in planning and management of general dental practice including cross infection control and patient safety
  2. Apply principles of risk management, including informed consent and appropriate record keeping in patient care in compliance with relevant regulations, policies and protocols
  3. Demonstrate skills in effective business planning, financial management, and human resource management
  4. Apply contemporary clinical and practice management technology resources
  5. Develop a catastrophe preparedness plan for the dental practice
  6. Perform clinical audit to evaluate effectiveness and quality of care for continual improvement

Domain 5: Knowledge

  1. Apply basic and clinical knowledge in dental and medical sciences in order to recognise and differentiate normal and pathological conditions/ disorders relevant to the safe and competent practice of dentistry
  2. Apply the knowledge of behavioral sciences, public health, information and communication technology, organization, management and research to enhance the practice of dentistry
  3. Distinguish the signs and symptoms of orofacial diseases and related systemic conditions
  4. Apply the knowledge of inter-professional collaboration to facilitate comprehensive patient care

Domain 6: Thinking, Interpersonal, and Communication Skills

  1. Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  2. Apply effective interpersonal and communication skills involving patients, the public, and healthcare professionals
  3. Apply psychosocial and behavioral principles in patient-centered health care
  4. Display ability to access, critique and synthesize relevant evidence from multiple sources in order to make appropriate clinical decisions for patients’ oral health care