4 Keeping up-to-date

This second edition of Standards in Dentistry brings together standards and guidelines relating to the practice of primary care dentistry in the UK. However, it provides a snapshot in time and inevitably this book will become out-of-date as new standards and guidelines are published and existing ones are reviewed and updated. The online version of this book (www.fgdp.org.uk/guidance-standards/standards-dentistry) will provide information regarding the scheduled updates for the Standards in Dentistry, which is likely to be reviewed every four years. Many guideline producers have a formal programme of review and update for each guideline. At other times, guidelines may be updated prior to the stated review date, in response to fresh evidence in the field. Practitioners should be confident that they are consulting the most recent guideline, and there are a number of ways in which they can be sure they are keeping up-to-date.


4.1 Professional organisations

Membership of professional organisations is often the best way of keeping up-to-date. Meetings and CPD resources, such as Local Dental Committees and local independent practitioner events, allow practitioners to network and share expertise and best practice. These are especially valuable for dentists who work in small practices. In addition to face-to-face events, most professional organisations produce newsletters for their members and these will include updates on policy and guidelines. Many of these newsletters are available online even to non-members and are a useful source of current awareness. The table below provides some useful examples.


News publication Scope Web location
BDJ In Practice Latest developments, trends and issues affecting dental practice in the UK https://bda.org/dentists/publications Subscription access only.
BDJ Team News, views and stories


Free online.

Dental Update Continuing education and forum for discussion aimed at general dental practitioners and specialists.


Subscription access only.

FGDP(UK) ‘Bites’ e-newsletter Latest news, events, courses, research, policy, standards and guidance. Free e-mail newsletter. Register to receive it: fgdp-comms@fgdp.org.uk
Faculty Dental Journal Contemporary issues


Free for members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Primary Dental Journal General interest articles relevant to the primary care dental profession


Online and print editions available to members of the FGDP(UK) and non-member subscribers.

Dentistry News, news analysis, clinical, business, lifestyle articles


Free online. Register to receive by e-mail.


Dental practices also receive communications from their indemnity providers, the commissioning bodies and corporate providers. It is recommended to make all newsletters and updates available for all the dental team to access, such as in a shared staff area.


4.2 Social media

Social media is a rich source of current affairs and updates for the dentist. All the major professional bodies have organisational Twitter accounts that provide updates and reactions to news. You don’t have to be a ‘tweeter’ (a Twitter user who posts content) to take advantage of Twitter as an information source. To make the best use of it, just follow a few reputable organisations (rather than following too many accounts, which will result in your feed becoming too full to properly monitor). It is also advised to create a separate account for this purpose, which is separate from other wider professional or personal interests. Some suggested useful bodies to follow and their Twitter handles include:


General Dental Council


Scottish Dental


British Dental Association


Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)


Faculty of Dental Surgery


British Dental Journal


The Dental Elf

@TheDentalElf ‏

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence


Oral Health Foundation



Type the Twitter handle (e.g. @TheBDA) into the search box on www.twitter.com. The tweets of these organisations can be browsed, and if you have a Twitter account, you can choose to have their tweets automatically sent to your phone. Many organisations also have corporate Facebook pages.


Social media tools allow people to communicate over the internert, for instance to share information and comment. While many individuals use social networking sites for both work and personal use, it is importnat to remember that professional standards should always be maintained in all online interactions. GDC guidance on using social media (www.gdc-uk.org/api/files/Guidance%20on%20using%20social%20media.pdf) advises dental professionals on matters of online conduction, such as maintaining professional boundaries, protecting patient confidentiality and preserving public confiedence in the dental profession. The guidance also warns about the limitations of online privacy, for example in the posting of photographs, or the use of pseudonyms. All dental professionals, even those who are experienced social media users, should familiarise themselves with the guidance. 


4.3 Search engines

NICE Evidence (www.evidence.nhs.uk) and Trip (www.tripdatabase.com) are two search engines that allow users to search for guidelines by keyword (e.g. ‘conscious sedation’). On both sites, a simple search should be narrowed to guidelines using the in-built filter function. Both search engines have the advantage of allowing the user to search beyond the boundaries of one specific organisation, although neither provide comprehensive coverage of all the dental guideline-producing bodies.


4.4 Guideline producers

The most authoritative source for checking the currency of a specific guideline is the website of the guideline producer. Appendix A1 provides a complete list of the guidelines and standards that were used to produce this book, together with links to each document’s original source page. The source web pages should give readers plenty of notice of an impending update, and may invite practitioners to get involved during the consultation process.


Copyright © FGDP(UK) 2019. This work is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical 4.0 International licence (CC-BY-NC). Notification of use is appreciated via email to FGDP@fgdp.org.uk