Statutory functions

The work of the General Dental Council (GDC) is defined and governed by the Dentists Act 1984, which set out the following objectives:

  • To protect, promote and maintain the health, safety, and well-being of the public. We do this by maintaining a public register of qualified dental professionals, which enables people to confirm that their dental team are registered and regulated. We have developed a Scope of Practice, which helps the public and dental professionals understand the different roles of each of the members of the dental team. We also have a process that enables us to investigate and take action should there be serious concerns about the fitness to practice of any of the members of the dental team. 
  • To promote and maintain confidence in the dental profession. We quality assure dental education and training. We set the Standards for Education to gauge whether a course produces students who have achieved the correct learning outcomes when they have completed their programme of studies. We set the standards for CPD and require compliance with them.
  • To promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of those professions. We have set the Standards and Guidance of conduct, performance and ethics that govern dental professionals. The standards specify the principles, and provide guidance, which apply to all members of the dental team.

GDC legislative responsibilities

Under the Dentists Act 1984 the GDC has five specific responsibilities that it has the powers to enact:

  • Grant registration only to those dental professionals who meet our requirements on education and training, health and good character. Only those who are registered with us can practice dentistry in the UK.
  • Set standards for providers of dental education and training in the UK set standards of conduct, performance and ethics for the dental team.
  • Set standards of conduct, performance and ethics for the dental team.
  • Investigate complaints against dental professionals and where appropriate take action through our Fitness to Practise process.
  • Require dental professionals to keep their skills up to date through our continuing professional development requirements.

In addition, we provide the Dental Complaints Service​ (DCS) which resolves complaints between private patients and dental professionals.​