Consultation on proposed updates to professional competencies and changes to related scopes of practice

Consultation on proposed updates to professional competencies and changes to related scopes of practice

We invite your feedback

The Council has reviewed the competencies and related scopes of practice for the following professions:

  • dentists (excluding dental specialists)
  • oral health therapists
  • dental therapists
  • dental hygienists
  • orthodontic auxiliaries
  • clinical dental technicians
  • dental technicians.

The review was undertaken to ensure the professional competencies and related scopes of practice remain up to date, fit for purpose, reflect contemporary practice and enable oral health practitioners to meet the oral health needs of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Within this context, the Council proposes to:

  • update the professional competencies that prescribe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours an oral health practitioner must have to practise safely, competently, and professionally in their scope of practice
  • gazette the updated professional competencies which means they will have the same legal standing as the scopes of practice
  • streamline each scope of practice by retaining only the scope definitions and removing the detailed activities currently listed in each scope – the updated professional competencies will replace the detailed list of activities from the scopes.

The most significant proposed change to the professional competencies relates to the shift from practitioners being ‘culturally competent’ to ‘culturally safe’ - as determined by the patient, their whānau, hapū or iwi.

The cultural safety work will specifically focus on Māori during this phase of the work to fulfil our Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations and to protect tangata whenua. Focus will then shift, aligned with the government’s strategic focus, to other vulnerable groups such as Pacific peoples, disabled people, people living in rural communities or with socioeconomic disadvantage.

Other key changes proposed to the professional competencies include expansion of the professionalism and communication domains -  with clear links to the professional standards in the Council’s Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners.

The proposals are detailed in the consultation document.

Relevant appendices:

  1. Dentist competencies
  2. Oral health therapist competencies
  3. Dental therapist competencies
  4. Dental hygienist competencies
  5. Orthodontic auxiliary’ competencies
  6. Dental technician competencies
  7. Clinical dental technician competencies.
  8. Comparison for dentists, oral health therapists, hygienists, therapists
  9. Comparison for dental technicians, clinical dental technicians.
  10. Scope of practice for general dental practice
  11. Scope of practice for oral health therapy
  12. Scope of practice for dental therapy
  13. Scope of practice for dental hygiene
  14. Scope of practice for orthodontic auxiliary practice
  15. Scope of practice for dental technology
  16. Scope of practice for clinical dental technology
  17. Scope of practice for implant overdentures

The Council is now inviting feedback on the proposals detailed in the enclosed consultation document. You can submit your responses using our online survey or emailing

During the consultation period to further support submissions, we will hold two Zoom calls where participants can ask questions about the proposed new competencies and how they may impact on practitioners and their practice.

To register and submit a question/s that you may have, please click on the link below:

  • Monday, 16 August 2021: 6:30pm

We welcome and value all feedback, but multiple, identical submissions do not carry any more weight than a single submission. All feedback we receive will be considered and will inform our final decision.

Submissions are publicly available

Submissions received will be published on our website and will record the submitter’s name and profession (for registered oral health practitioners). All other contact details will be removed. We will not publish any submissions containing derogatory or inflammatory content.

Submission received to date