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GDC Standards for the Dental Team

10 November 2014

Standards for the Dental Team is published by the General Dental Council (GDC) and came into effect 30 September 2013. The document sets out the standards of conduct, performance and ethics that govern dental professionals in the United Kingdom. It specifies the principles, standards and guidance which apply to all members of the dental team, and also sets out what patients can expect from a dental professional.

The document is based on the nine principles that apply to the following registered dental professionals:

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

The overarching principles, which have equal importance, are:

  1. Put patients’ interests first
  2. Communicate effectively with patients
  3. Obtain valid consent
  4. Maintain and protect patients’ information
  5. Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
  6. Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests
  7. Maintain, develop and work within your professional knowledge and skills
  8. Raise concerns if patients are at risk
  9. Make sure your personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in you and the dental profession

These nine principles are supplemented by additional guidance documents which can be found here

Registrants have a responsibility to behave professionally and follow these principles at all times. Those who fail to meet these standards may be subject to Fitness to Practise proceedings and in some cases, removed from the GDC Register.


Throughout the document the following meanings are given to the adverbs used to describe professional duties:

  • ‘must’ is used where the duty is compulsory;
  • ‘should’ is used where the duty would not apply in all situations and where exceptional circumstances outside your control could affect whether, or how, you can comply with the guidance. Should is also used to explain how to comply with the overriding duty.

Dental Protection has already received many enquiries about the interpretation of the standards. To some extent this has been caused by the additional guidance not being available at the time that the core document was first published.

As a service to members, we are publishing a series of FAQs that reflect the enquiries that we have received on the helpline. The questions are grouped according to the over-arching principle to which they are most applicable.

Dental Protection will be seeking further clarification on some of the existing guidance as well as augmenting this document in the light of the additional guidance.

GDC Standards - Frequently Asked Questions