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Basic Dental Training

Adopted by the FDI General Assembly: 18tn September 2003

The primary aim of dental education is to ensure that competent practitioners are capable of critical thinking and possess the skills for lifelong learning. The new graduate practitioner must be capable of carrying out independent dental practice without harm to patients using modern, appropriate, effective and currently accepted methods of treatment. Additionally, the new practitioner must be capable of implementing suitable preventive programmes for individuals and groups in the context of community orientated programmes. In order to achieve that aim, dental education must provide the student with a sound clinical training based on humanitarian, scientific, and evidence based learning principles.

The term clinical competence is applied to a combination of knowledge, skills and judgement which provide the practitioner with the competence to undertake a specific clinical task. The knowledge needed includes an appropriate understanding of molecular biological principles, as well as anatomical and physiological features and the pathogenesis of disease processes. It is not simply a technical ability or a prescribed amount of knowledge, it implies more than this. The acquisition of clinical competence may be achieved through a diversity of educational and training programmes. These may be assessed and examined in different ways throughout the world.

There is not a single curriculum appropriate to achieving basic clinical competence, therefore the Dental Practice Commission of the FDI has specifically avoided recommending detailed regulations. Apart from the required clinical competence, all subjects should form part of an overall educational philosophy in undergraduate dental education. It is essential that a comprehensive integrated curriculum is followed to avoid dominance of certain subjects over others, even though there maybe variance in emphases from dental school to dental school or from country to country.

There is a wide variety of dental educational systems throughout the world. These systems are developed, governed, operated and applied differently but they should all result in the graduate being competent to perform nationally or internationally agreed basic clinical competence covering patient examination assessment and diagnosis, communication and patient education, ethics and jurisprudence, treatment, medical emergencies and practice management.

The national dental professional organisations should recommend that regulatory agencies comply with this description of basic dental training.

This statement should be read in conjunction with the background paper (GA Binder pages 143- 148)

Main authors: Dr Glaus Munck

Submitted by: FDI Dental Practice Commission