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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


SYKES, LM  and  MMUTLANA, TI. Special-IST versus Special inter-IST. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2022, vol.77, n.3, pp.172-173. ISSN 0375-1562.

Dentists who wish to specialize in a specific discipline have to undergo and complete a rigorous, structured and extensive postgraduate academic and practical training programme, and pass all the requisite exams. Only then can they be registered with a regulating professional body and be recognized as such in that field. Thereafter their scope of practice becomes limited to that specialty alone. This differs from general dentists, who are not restricted in their scope of practice, but may have limitations to the extent of their capabilities. They may choose to upskill themselves through attendance at short courses, hands-on training workshops, informal study groups, dental company workshops or even YouTube videos. Unlike the trainee in a formal institution, this is unstructured and outcomes are unspecified, yet some of these practitioners then market themselves as specialists in these fields. While the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has set out a list of core ethical values and standards for good practice, there are no regulations enforcing the need for these practitioners to undergo and pass HPCSA recognized examinations to assess their capabilities, knowledge and skill in these modalities. This opens the profession up to risks of practitioners contravening a number of core values and standards expected of trusted professionals and can mislead and put the general public at risk. This paper aims to explore if regulation of this type of practice is required, who should be allowed to offer additional training to dentists, and who should be regulating the trainers.

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