Standards Framework

This is an interactive wheel. Please click on the wheel to access the list of practice standards. Alternatively, you can download the pdf above

Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners

The Dental Council protects public health and safety by requiring all oral health practitioners to meet our standards before they can practise in New Zealand.

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

There are three components to the Standards Framework that all registered oral health practitioners must meet:

  • Ethical principles - the ethical principles of oral health practice
  • Professional standards - what practitioners must do to ensure they adhere to the ethical principles of oral health practice
  • Practice standards - detailed standards related to specific practice areas



We protect public health and safety by requiring all oral health practitioners to meet our standards before they can practise as a dentist, dental hygienist, dental therapist, oral health therapist, orthodontic auxiliary, clinical dental technician and dental technician in New Zealand.

Patients have rights as consumers of health and disability services provided by oral health practitioners. The code of rights is law under the Health and Disability Act 1994 (the HDC Act).

If you wish to talk about your complaint you can contact a local HDC advocate 0800 555 050 or a complaints assessor 0800 112 233

Click here to open this page

Professional standards

Put patients' interests first

1 You must ensure the health needs and safe care of your patients are your primary concerns
2 You must put the interests of your patients ahead of personal, financial or other gain
3 You must treat patients with dignity and respect at all times
4 You must treat patients fairly and without discrimination, respecting cultural values, personal disabilities and individual differences
5 You must respect the autonomy and freedom of choice of patient
6 You must respect patients' right to complain and enable them to seek redress
7 You must protect the confidentiality of the patient information



Professional standards

Ensure safe practice

8 You must practice within your professional knowledge, skills and competence, or refer to another health practitioner
9 You must identify and manage health and safety risks within your practice environment
10 Your must maintain accurate, time-bound and up-to-date patient records
11 You must keep your professional knowledge and skills up-to-date through ongoing learning and professional interaction
12 You must have arrangements in place to manage medical emergencies



Professional standards

Communicate effectively

13 You must communicate honestly, factually and without exaggeration
14 You must listen to your patients and consider their preferences and concerns
15 You must give patients the information they need or request, in a way they can understand, so they can make informed decisions
16 You must ensure informed consent remains valid at all times
17 You must communicate openly in inter- and intra- professional healthcare teams for the enhancement of patient care
18 You must behave respectfully in communication to and about colleagues or other health professionals

Professional standards

Provide good care

19 You must take a holistic approach to care appropriate to the individual patient
20 You must provide care that is clinically justified and based on the best available evidence
21 You must collaborate with colleagues and other health practitioners, and contribute to the teamwork for enhanced patient outcomes
22 You must protect and promote the health of patients and the public

Professional standards

Maintain public trust and confidence

23 You must ensure your professional and personal conduct justifies trust in you and your profession
24 You must be familiar, and comply, with your legal and professional obligations
25 You must act with honesty and integrity at all times with patients, colleagues and the public
26 You must maintain appropriate boundaries in your interactions with patients, colleagues and the public
27 You must protect the interests of patients and colleagues from any risk posed by your personal issues or health, or those of a colleague
28 You must protect the interests of patients and colleagues from any risk posed by your competence or conduct, or that of a colleague or an employee