Expertise and credentials

A good number of patients go to dentists without knowing anything about the dentist’s experience and credentials. Sometimes this is because they take any marketing information, including advertisements and pamphlets as fact, or they simply don’t know to ask.

Credentials and experience

Very often dental clinics or dentists talk about having experience in dental surgery and a high level of dental implant replacement expertise, without being able to back up their claims. This is especially true for some dental super centres whose main aim is to sell the service they provide. That is not to say that they don’t have experienced experts on their staff. However, it’s easy to imagine that if a dental center has one or two very experienced dental experts and ten dentists of low or average expertise and they can still advertise themselves as the most experienced centre. There is while there is a chance the patient will be treated by one of the 10 dentists with lesser experience.

Dental organizations and associations

The best guarantee of expertise is usually ensured by the international or national dental associations of a specific country. Most of these national dental associations are members of the World Dental Federation (FDI) and or to the Council Of European Dentists (CED). One of the most important associations in USA is the American Dental Association.
Full membership of the FDI can be found here: World Dental Federation members

The members of the CED include:

AustriaAustrian Dental Chamber
BelgiumCSD- Chambres Syndicales Dentaires
VVT - Verbond der Vlaamse Tandartsen
BulgariaBulgarian Dental Association
CroatiaCroatian Dental Chamber
CyprusCyprus Dental Association
Czech RepublicCzech Dental Chamber
DenmarkDanish Dental Association
EstoniaEstonian Dental Association
FinlandFinnish Dental Association
FranceCNSD - Confédération Nationale des Syndicats Dentaires
GreeceHellenic Dental Association
HungaryNational Committee for Hungarian Dentistry
Ireland Irish Dental Association
ItalyANDI - Associazione Nazionale Dentisti Italiani
AIO - Associazione Italiana Odontoiatri
LatviaLatvian Dental Association
LithuaniaLithuanian Dental Chamber
LuxembourgAssociation des Médecins-Dentistes du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
MaltaDental Association of Malta
NetherlandsKNMT - Royal Dutch Dental Association
PolandPolish Chamber of Physicians and Dentists
PortugalPortuguese Dental Association - Ordem dos Médicos Dentistas
SlovakiaSlovak Chamber of Dentists
SloveniaThe Medical Chamber of Slovenia
SpainSpanish Dental Association
SwedenSwedish Dental Association
United KingdomBritish Dental Association

Some of these associations are members of both the CED and FDI. Naturally, to be a member of CED, the association, committee or chamber needs to be resident in a European country. Full information about the CED and its members and links to their official websites can be found here.

What do the associations guarantee?

Knowing the associations working in various countries is one thing but is nothing without the knowledge of what being a member of such groups actually means. A dental clinic or a dentist who is a member of an association means they had their work, expertise and experience is recognised. There are many dentists advertised as experts and specialists but only with the proper certificates can the patient have peace of mind.
Members of an association have to go through post-graduation residencies after the completion of dental school education.

There are also training institutes which offer certificates for completing training. For example, a general dentist who wants to perform dental implant replacements should go through special surgical training to become capable of carrying out those procedures. The number of those training institutes and certificates is overwhelming so the best course of action is to know what certificates your dentist has and to learn about their credibility with the association in the designated country.

Association members medical ethics

Members of those associations and various groups must follow a code of ethics developed by the association. It can be difficult to verify compliance so it is a good idea to take a look at the association’s code of ethics, or to ask for it if they don’t provide it directly.

No matter the form of the code of ethics, dentists are doctors and, as such, they should never do anything to endanger the patient’s health.

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