Your responsibilities as a practitioner

As a registered oral health practitioner, you have certain responsibilities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

Scopes of practice

You must:

  • not practise outside the scope of practice in which you are registered [section 8].
  • not describe yourself as or imply that you are a health practitioner of a particular kind unless you are registered and qualified to be a practitioner of that kind. For example, if you are registered as a dentist, you may not describe yourself as, or imply that you are, a particular kind of dental specialist, unless you are registered in a scope of practice for the dental specialty concerned [section7(1)].
  • comply with any conditions that the Dental Council may place on your scope of practice [section 22(3)]
  • not perform certain activities restricted to health practitioners (section 9) unless these activities fall within your scope of practice.

Annual recertification

You must:

  • not practise without a current annual practising certificate (APC) (section 7[2][b]).
  • provide the information determined by us when applying for an APC along with the relevant fee [section 26 (2)]

Recertification programme

You must meet the requirements of the recertification programme set for your profession by us under section 41 of the Act. This requires you to complete the specified number of hours of continuing professional development (CPD) and peer contact activities specified for your profession over a four-year cycle.


You must:

  • notify the Registrar immediately [section 38(3)] if you employ a health practitioner who resigns or is dismissed from their employment for reasons relating to competence
  • comply with any orders that the Council may make following a review of your competence (section 38)
  • comply with the requirements of any competence programme that we may set [(section 40)]
  • allow us to inspect all or any of your clinical records for the purpose of a competence review, competence programme or recertification programme (section 42)

Information on the Register

You must:

  • inform us of the current postal address, residential address and (if applicable) work address, and promptly advise us of any changes in your address (section 140)
  • advise us of any changes in your name within one month (section 141)

Health concerns

You must:

  • promptly notify the Registrar if you have reason to believe that another practitioner is unable to perform the functions required for the practice of dentistry because of some mental or physical condition [section 45(2)].

Consumer rights

You must:

We strongly recommend that you:

  • display your annual practising certificate prominently in your practice
  • notify the Registrar in writing if you believe that another health practitioner poses a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence [section 34(1)]
  • assist in the regulation of your profession; for example, by participating in professional conduct committees or competence review committees when asked to do so.

Dentistry operates in a self-regulating environment so we depend on the active participation of the professions for this process to be effective.

Threshold standards to maintain a safe practice

We seek to ensure that oral health practitioners provide safe, high-quality care by setting the minimum threshold standards.

The Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners describes the minimum standards of ethical conduct, and clinical and cultural competence that patients and the public can expect from oral health practitioners.

These standards are defined in the ethical principles, professional standards and practice standards that govern all dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, oral health therapists, orthodontic auxiliaries, dental technicians and clinical dental technicians.

Ethical principles

There are five ethical principles registered oral health practitioners must adhere to at all times:

  • Put patients' interests first
  • Ensure safe practice
  • Communicate effectively
  • Provide good care
  • Maintain public trust and confidence

Professional standards

What practitioners must do to ensure they achieve the ethical principles.  The professional standards are described in the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners.

Practice standards

Practice standards relate to specific areas of practice that require more detailed standards to enable practitioners to meet the professional standards and ethical principles.

The practice standards can be accessed through the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners interactive wheel.


You have a legal responsibility to meet these standards. You are expected to declare each year when you apply for an annual practising certificate, that you do.