The role of the GDC

The GDC's role is to protect patients and set standards of dental practice and conduct through statutory registration.

Only suitably qualified and registered dental professionals are legally permitted to practise dentistry.

The Dentists Act 1984 makes it an offence for anyone who is not a registered dental professional to practise dentistry, or to portray themselves - whether directly or by implication - as practising or being prepared to practise dentistry.

  • All dental professionals must be registered with the GDC to practise in the UK. You should be listed in the GDC's dentist or DCP register.
  • To be listed, you must hold a qualification approved by the GDC for registration and ensure you pay your retention fees by the appropriate date.
  • The GDC holds a number of dentist specialist lists covering areas such as oral surgery and orthodontics. If you don't appear on the appropriate list, you must not refer to yourself as a specialist in that particular area.
  • Each GDC-registered member of the dental team is individually responsible and accountable to the GDC for their own actions and omissions, and for the treatment and procedures they carry out. If the GDC receives a complaint about the professional conduct or fitness to practise of someone on its registers, they might need to investigate the concerns that have been raised.
  • The GDC has the power to remove or restrict a registrant's right to practise if it is considered in the public interest.
  • Statutory registration does not extend to practice managers or receptionists.

GDC membership and indemnity

  • The main purpose of indemnity is to protect dental professionals against the financial consequences of clinical negligence claims, and to safeguard patients by providing access to financial compensation.
  • You must have indemnity to work according to GDC guidance requirements and NHS General Dental Service regulations. You can be indemnified either personally or through your employer; check that you have the appropriate arrangement in place before treating patients.
  • The GDC can suspend a dental professional found to be working without indemnity.
  • GDC-registered dental professionals are fully accountable for their own actions. In the event of a complaint or claim, you cannot automatically transfer responsibility to your employer, practice owner or manager of your employing hospital/trust.
  • Your DDU membership would cease if you were removed from the GDC register, unless the MDU board of management uses its discretion to decide otherwise.
  • It's important to make sure your GDC registration and indemnity is valid and up to date.


Enhanced continuing professional development (ECPD) is compulsory for all dental professionals, to make sure your skills are kept up to date. The Enhanced CPD Scheme 2018 was introduced on 1 January 2018 for dentists and 1 August 2018 for dental care professionals (DCPs).

  • Dentists must complete at least 100 hours of verifiable CPD over a five-year cycle. Their ECPD cycle always ends on 31 December. Transitional arrangements are in place for those who were part-way through the five-year cycle when it was introduced in 2018.
  • DCPs must complete at least 50 or 75 hours of verifiable CPD over a five-year depending upon the category of registration. Their CPD cycle always ends on 31 July. Transitional arrangements are in place for those who were part-way through the five-year cycle when it was introduced in 2018.
  • All registrants must also ensure they complete 10 hours within any two-year period.

Make sure you have a planned personal development plan (PDP) and keep a log of all your verifiable CPD activity.

To demonstrate that your CPD activity was verifiable, you must keep a certificate that meets the GDC's requirements.

This page was correct at publication on 28/06/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.