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Published on July 1, 2013

GDC predicts future issues of dentistry

GDC predicts future issues of dentistry

The General Dental Council (GDC) has published the findings of a horizon scanning exercise, which was conducted back in autumn 2012. This exercise aims to identify the major issues likely to affect dentistry and dental regulation over the next 5-10 years. The exercise, the first of its kind by GDC, seeks to ensure that the regulators model of regulation is able to adapt to the fast moving nature of dental service provision.

The report covers issues such as, changes to the health service provision across the UK, technological developments in dentistry, patient expectations, demographic and social changes and the possible impacts of changes to dental training and education in the UK.

It’s not surprising that with the rise in online healthcare marketing, technological developments in dentistry were identified as a key issue. In conducting the exercise a number of technological innovations, which could have potential implications for patient safety and regulation were identified. These included:

  • The development of a vaccine to prevent caries
  • The use of stem cell technology to create new teeth, the ‘harvesting’ of stem cells from children’s teeth for possible use in medical treatments
  • The development of a dental tattoo to monitor a patient’s health
  • The use of ‘genetic markers’ to aid the detection of oral cancers or other diseases

The use of social media and IT technologies was also viewed as likely to impact on the industry. Social media was seen to play a more dominant role in providing information to patients about the quality of provision at dental practices – for example the use of ‘trip advisor’ style ratings to help patients choose a dentist or dental practice. The growth of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and the increased use of these sites by dentists, DCP’s and dental students suggested to some that the distinction between the private and professional lives of registrants would become increasingly blurred over time.

It is intended that similar exercises will be carried out on an annual basis to inform the strategy and policy development of the GDC.

The full report can be found on the GDC website at:

http://www.gdcuk.org/Newsandpublications/research/Documents/Horizon%20Scanning%20Report%20Final.pdf

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