FGDP marks 15 years of raising standards in implant dentistry

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry, its publication which defines the training that should be undertaken to carry out implant dentistry safely.

Training in implant dentistry is available from a variety of providers – including the Faculty, which has trained over 700 dentists through its respected postgraduate diploma course – and Training Standards in Implant Dentistry sets the standards which UK training courses should meet.

Available free of charge at https://www.fgdp.org.uk/guidance-standards, the document also serves as a reference point for the General Dental Council in the consideration of patient complaints against dentists who have allegedly practised implant dentistry in the UK without the necessary competence.

Principle 7 of the GDC’s Standards for the Dental Team requires dental practitioners to be appropriately trained for every task and type of treatment they carry out[1]. Developed initially by a working group convened by the regulator to ensure patient safety, Training Standards in Implant Dentistry requires those placing dental implants to be competent in carrying out the various surgical and restorative procedures involved, having undertaken suitable postgraduate training including mentored clinical implant placement and/or restoration.

Ian Mills

First published in December 2005, the document was later revised by an expert working group, in light of developments in the field, in 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2016.

A review published in 2018 concluded that the development of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry had “led to a significant improvement in the quality of postgraduate education in dental implantology in the UK”[2].

However the review also concluded that “the provision of mentoring for implant placements needs to be standardised”, and the Faculty is currently working with the Association of Dental Implantology to set out more detailed mentoring requirements, which are expected to be published as an appendix to the current guidance in 2021.

Abhi Pal, Editor of Training Standards in Implant Dentistry and Chair of the Faculty’s Professional Affairs Committee, said: “Developed to standardise and improve training in implant dentistry, Training Standards in Implant Dentistry ultimately helps give patients the confidence they need to seek appropriate treatment. The anniversary of its publication is a moment to celebrate the high standards of training and practice which it underpins, and which dental patients in the UK have been benefiting from for the last 15 years.”

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP(UK), added: “Undergraduate training prepares dentists to graduate from dental school as a safe beginner. Subsequent postgraduate training will provide the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge and competencies within a wide range of dental disciplines, and for some will lead to specialist training. There is no specialist training pathway in the UK for implant dentistry, and as an increasingly popular treatment modality, and one which can carry significant risks, it is important that practitioners have access to appropriate training. Training Standards in Implant Dentistry enables a variety of training providers to respond to the needs of GDPs and deliver the necessary level of training. As a result, implant treatment is now routinely and safely available throughout the UK, to the great benefit of our patients.”

[1] Standards for the Dental Team, General Dental Council, UK (2013). https://standards.gdc-uk.org/Assets/pdf/Standards%20for%20the%20Dental%20Team.pdf

[2] Kim, N.Y., Stagnell, S. Postgraduate education in dental implantology in the United Kingdom: a review. Int J Implant Dent 4, 8 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40729-017-0115-1

FGDP appoints new DCP Representative

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) has appointed Mrs Sarah Hill BSc RDH FHEA as its new Dental Care Professional Representative.

Sarah qualified as a dental hygienist from the University of Bristol, with distinction, in 2012, and also holds a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Southampton as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Education from the University of Plymouth.

Working as a hygienist in a mixed orthodontic practice in Halesowen, where one of her passions is making sure that her patients are at ease during treatment, she also delivers presentations to dental hygiene and therapy students on behalf of TePe. She has previously been a lecturer in Community-Based Dentistry at Peninsula Dental School – a role which included clinical supervision, assessing practical and written examinations, and working with students on community projects – and a sales representative for GlaxoSmithKline.

Sarah has been an Affiliate Member of FGDP since 2013, and was recently co-opted onto the board of the Faculty’s West Midlands division as its DCP representative. An assessor for the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she is also an active member of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, and was Chair of its South West and South Wales group for three years.

FGDP is the only professional membership body in the UK specifically for general dental practice, and reflects and represents individuals across the whole dental team, welcoming all GDC-registered dental therapists, dental hygienists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists.

Succeeding the late Janet Goodwin as the Faculty’s DCP Representative, Sarah will represent the interests of the wider dental team at meetings of the National Faculty Board, and in the FGDP’s work.

Speaking on her appointment, she said: “I’m absolutely delighted, and look forward to representing the interests of my colleagues on the Board, and helping the Faculty in its mission to raise standards of dental care for patients.”

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP, added: “Many congratulations to Sarah on her appointment. I am delighted to welcome her as the new DCP Representative on the FGDP(UK) Board and I’m sure she will make a significant contribution in the months and years ahead. This is an extremely important time for the Faculty as we prepare to separate from RCS England and look toward the future as part of the new College of General Dentistry. Dental Care Professionals will be an integral part of the new College and it will be fantastic to have someone of Sarah’s experience on the FGDP(UK) Board.”

BDA, FDGP(UK) and College of General Dentistry join forces to investigate discrimination in dentistry

The British Dental Association, Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and College of General Dentistry have joined forces to conduct a survey into discrimination in dentistry.

The survey is aimed at all dentists who have ever practised dentistry in the UK, and at dental students studying in the UK, and asks about their morale and career satisfaction as well as any experiences they may have had of being treated unfairly whilst working or studying.

Feedback from the survey will be anonymised, and the data and experiences captured will be used to identify and raise awareness of the ways in which discrimination is experienced in dentistry, and how these affect individual practitioners.

In recent months, the three organisations have convened a programme board to promote joint working on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in dentistry, as well as a joint working group to investigate racial inequality in particular. The survey results will help these groups take forward evidence-based actions to address the underlying issues, and to promote greater understanding in the profession of the experiences and concerns of their fellow dentists.

The survey is available at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/racismindentistry/.

Onkar Dhanoya, Chair of the BDA-FGDP(UK)-CGDent Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Board, said: “Dentistry is a caring profession by nature, but the experiences of some dentists suggest that as a profession we don’t always treat our colleagues as well as we do our patients. Only by listening can we better understand others’ concerns in order to address them.”

Russ Ladwa, President of the BDA, said: “Discrimination is unfortunately still a feature of our society, and dentistry is far from immune, but this survey is an important step towards understanding and addressing the issue in our profession, and I encourage all dentists to complete it.”