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New certs for dentists doing ‘higher-risk’ procedures recommended but not mandatory: Committee

SINGAPORE — A committee tasked to review dental care practices in Singapore has recommended that dentists planning to perform “higher-risk” procedures should get further training and certification.

New certs for dentists doing ‘higher-risk’ procedures recommended but not mandatory: Committee

A committee tasked to review dental care practices in Singapore has recommended that dentists planning to perform “higher-risk” procedures should get further training and certification. Following strong opposition among the dental fraternity, the committee however proposed that this should not be made mandatory for now.

SINGAPORE — A committee tasked to review dental care practices in Singapore has recommended that dentists planning to perform “higher-risk” procedures should get further training and certification.

Following strong opposition among the dental fraternity, however, the committee proposed that this should not be made mandatory for now.

It also suggested that existing dentists could obtain these certificates based on their work experience and on-the-job training, without having to attend more courses.

The working committee’s preliminary recommendations were outlined in a circular sent to dentists on Saturday (May 25) by the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), the self-regulatory body for the dental profession.

Even before Saturday’s announcement of the recommendations, the dental community has been hotly debating them, particularly as there was talk that they would include a requirement for dentists in general practice to undergo more training for procedures such as wisdom-teeth surgery and implants.

The College of General Dental Practitioners Singapore, a non-profit organisation for Singapore dentists in general practice, pointed out that the proposal could raise costs for patients and compromise their treatment.

In Saturday’s announcement, the SDC said the working committee, which was appointed by the Ministry of Health in November 2017, has proposed the development of new training courses that would lead to Certificates of Competency (COC) in certain higher-risk procedures. These would include implant dentistry and wisdom tooth surgery. Suitable existing courses can also award COCs.

“The Committee has recommended that dentists planning to perform the identified higher-risk intermediate dental care procedures be encouraged to undergo the relevant courses and attain the COCs as part of good clinical practice,” the circular said.

“However, the COCs need not be mandatory at this time.”

The SDC said that the committee recognised that existing registered dentists may already possess the knowledge and skills for these procedures.

“The Committee has proposed that existing registered dentists who have acquired equivalent competencies through past equivalent training courses, on-the-job training or relevant working experience can apply and be issued with a relevant COC.”

The SDC noted that the committee’s review and recommendations come amid advances in dental science and technology, and changes in population profile.

Patient expectations have also risen, it added, noting that it has seen a four-fold increase in initial complaints and a three-fold increase in statutory complaints between 2014 and 2018.

“Given the increasing patient expectations and demand on safe and quality dental care, it is important that our dentists acquire and update their knowledge and skills to maintain high standards of competency and professionalism,” it said.

The SDC and MOH will now study the recommendations and conduct further consultations with the dental community before making any decision, the SDC added.

Related topics

Singapore Dental Council dentists MOH

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