Roles and functions

The Dental Council is a regulatory authority created by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. We ensure oral health practitioners meet and maintain our standards in order to protect the health and safety of the public of New Zealand.

The oral health practitioners we regulate are dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, clinical dental technicians, dental technicians, and orthodontic auxiliaries.

Roles and functions


The Dental Council is a regulatory authority established by the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act). Our primary purpose is to protect the health and safety of the public by making sure that oral health practitioners are competent and fit to practise.

The oral health practitioners we regulate are dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, clinical dental technicians, dental technicians, and orthodontic auxiliaries.

Protecting the public

The Act defines our purpose and our roles.  They are focussed on protecting the health and safety of the public.

We are responsible for:

  • setting standards for entry to the Register
  • registering oral health practitioners
  • setting standards of clinical and cultural competence, and ethical conduct to be met by all oral health practitioners
  • recertifying all practising oral health practitioners each year
  • reviewing and remediating the competence of oral health practitioners
  • investigating the conduct or health of oral health practitioners where there are concerns about their performance, and taking appropriate action.

As a part of those functions and responsibilities we:

  • set accreditation standards and competencies for each of the dental professions
  • monitor and accredit the oral health programmes to ensure the quality of education and training is appropriate
  • set scopes of practice within which oral health practitioners may practise
  • prescribe qualifications for each scope of practice
  • maintain a public register of all registered oral health practitioners, including those who are not currently practising
  • issue annual practising certificates to oral health practitioners who have maintained their competence and fitness to practise, to continue practising their professions
  • develop and maintain minimum standards through practice standards that all oral health practitioners must comply with
  • require registered oral health practitioners to undertake continuing professional development education
  • manage oral health practitioners suffering from health issues affecting their practice
  • place conditions on, or restrict an oral health practitioner’s scope of practice, or suspend their practising certificate, if that is appropriate to protect the health and safety of the public.

Our role is to protect the health and safety of patients and the public, not to protect the interests of oral health practitioners.  We have legal powers that permit us to enforce the standards the public have a right to expect of oral health practitioners in New Zealand, and it is our goal, to administer those powers, consistently, fairly and effectively.

Council’s statutory functions are set out in section 118 of the Act.

Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003