The staff at The Slade Dental Practice & Implant centre are dedicated to the advancement of aesthetics in all phases of dental practice through highly relevant and contemporary dental continuing education courses. We know that dental continuing education courses benefit ourselves and, you, our patients.
The maze of dental Qualifications
Medical and dental qualifications at all levels are confusing in the UK since there are two groups of bodies authorised by the General Medical and General Dental Councils to confer degrees and diplomas.
These are (1) the Universities which have dental faculties, and (2) the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ireland.
The Universities award degrees, whereas the Royal Colleges award licences and diplomas. Thus, the basic qualification awarded on graduation is either the BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degree or the LDS (Licentiate in Dental Surgery) licence from one of the Royal Colleges.
The Universities award higher degrees to dentists who have undergone recognised (and usually rigorous) postgraduate courses of study or research, followed by examination or the submission of a thesis. These will be masters degrees (MSc, MDS or MPhil) or doctorates (PhD or, very rarely, DSc). Whilst these are positive indicators of an individual's intellect it should be noted that the MDS (Master of Dental Surgery), and the MPhil or PhD (Master or Doctor of Philosophy) degree will in all probability be awarded on the strength of a research project, ultimately written up as a thesis, and could well have no clinical element whatsoever, and will thus provide little indication of the standards of clinical knowledge or practical expertise of the holder.
The Royal Colleges of Surgeons UK only award diplomas to dentists who have undertaken recognised and approved postgraduate courses of study, followed by formal examinations which usually have both written and practical elements.
The standards of all the above qualifications are constantly monitored and are invariably of a high standard. In some cases they have been thought to be too daunting: For example the MGDS (Membership in General Dental Surgery). The MGDS (Membership in General Dental Surgery) was planned as the highest qualification possible to attain for dental practitioner working in general practice. However, because of the rigorous standard of the MGDS, it was felt by the authorities that a less aggressive diploma would be more appropriate, so the DGDP (Diploma in General Dental Practice) has recently been developed. However, be advised that several hundred of these were awarded without examination, on a 'grandfathering' basis, so possession of this diploma does not necessarily mean that the holder has been tested by his peers in open examination.
Practitioners will also be encountered who have undergone postgraduate education in the USA, usually leading to the award of masters degrees, MSc (Master of Science) or MS (Master of Surgery). These qualifications invariably indicate a high standard of postgraduate training.
Qualifications of doubtful value
Some dentists will have ambitions to practise in North America and will have taken the basic qualification, the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), to allow this. Be advised that whilst this might be a doctorate it is in fact only equivalent to the British BDS or LDS, discussed above, and does not indicate that the holder has received any postgraduate training.
Many dentists have commitments with the administrative and political bodies of the profession. Valuable as these are to the dental community it should be recognised that membership, for example, of an LDC (Local Dental Committee) says nothing about that individual's clinical expertise and/or training.
Quite apart from the qualifications mentioned thus far, which all have an element of examination or assessment, there is a myriad of organisations to which dental practitioners can belong, such as the British Dental Association and General Dental Practitioners Association, membership of which merely requires the payment of a fee.