June 2015

Professional competence is the habitual and judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of the individual and community being served.

Epstein and Hundert 

The Profession of Dentistry

Dentistry is a discipline and a profession.  A discipline is a branch of knowledge studied through higher education, while a profession consists of individuals educated according to the nationally regulated and defined standards of the discipline. 

Being part of a professional group inspires a sense of trust, as well as confidence in the ability to provide a high standard of care for our patients.  This should not be taken for granted as this trust and confidence is precious; unfortunately both are easier to lose than to gain. 

The GDC Standards recommend that professionals:

  • demonstrating respect, compassion and integrity
  • responding to the needs of patients and society
  • demonstrating sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' culture, age, gender and disabilities
  • demonstrating a commitment to providing care and confidentiality of patient information
  • demonstrating a commitment to excellence and on-going professional development

For further review go to GDC Standards for the Dental Team

Why is professionalism important?

Professions can be self-regulated or, and more frequently these days, there are statutory bodies to do this. Professional bodies not only set examinations, but enforce a code of conduct - if you do not adhere to it, you can be given a warning, fined or even lose your professional credentials altogether.

A dental professional is also expected to ensure that their behaviour upholds the ethical views of society. The problem here lies in the fact that the role of GDP is subject to a changing social and political background, and this means that expectations change too. The expectations from patients, the public, managers and the government are all dynamic, although one thing does stay the same - the ethical foundation of our profession is the promise, made voluntarily, to care for people who are in need. Sometimes, we can be so focused on technology, clinical techniques and equipment, it is important to remind ourselves of what we are really here to do. In other words, maybe now more than ever we should remember the meaning of professionalism and the ethical dimension that underpins dental care.

As well as being practitioners, dentists are often business owners too. With one eye on our profit margins, it can be particularly difficult to put our patient's needs first in this day and age. The fact is, patients are our bread and butter and we have to maintain the professional standards of treatment that are appropriate.

Want to get your own FREE trial Water Flosser?

Come to the Waterpik International stand at EuroPerio 3-6th June 2015 Excel London

Come by the Waterpik InternationalStand 35C during EuroPerio and attend a short presentation to receive you Free Waterpik® Water Flosser.

This unit features dual voltage, a handy travel case and 4 tips.  It is compact and fits easily in your hand luggage.

Plan to attend early as supplies are limited.