Policy Statement 3.9 - Recency of Practice

Position Summary

Requirements for dental practitioners to provide evidence of competency to practice should be self-assessed using self-reflective practice. Any formal requirements for recency of practice should only be placed where there is clearly a risk to public safety. 

1. Background

1.1. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) provides information, continuing professional development and other services to assist its members to meet professional standards.

1.2. The Board is responsible under the National Law for establishing registration standards on such matters as recency of practice

1.3. The National Law requires that applicants for registration must be suitably qualified and fit to practice.

1.4. There are minimum requirements for all registered dental practitioners and applicants applying to be dental practitioners who have not practised in the previous five years.

1.5. The practice of dentistry includes any role in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a dental practitioner such as clinical dentistry, clinical specialist practice, administration in the field of dentistry, study, teaching and research in the field of dentistry.

1.6. The Board expects practising dental practitioners to use self-reflective practice to understand their scope of practice and to not practise beyond the range of their training, qualifications, experience and competence.

1.7. Research undertaken and previous reviews of the Recency of Practice registration standards did not provide a definitive answer to the question of how much recent practise a health practitioner needs to maintain their skills and knowledge. 


1.8. BOARD is the Dental Board of Australia.

1.9. DENTAL PRACTITIONER is a person registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency via the Board to provide dental care.

1.10. NATIONAL LAW is the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Acts 2009 as in force in each state and territory.

1.11. RECENCY OF PRACTICE means that a practitioner has maintained an adequate connection with, and recent practise in the profession since qualifying or obtaining registration.

1.12. RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION is the process of re-registering a person already registered. 

2. Position 

Requirements must address real risks.

2.1. Where possible, dental practitioners should self-assess their individual competence for practice.

2.2. Dental Practitioners should be aware of the Board’s registration standard on recency of practice.

2.3. There should be unequivocal evidence that any measure being introduced as a requirement for recency of practice must be effective in protecting the public. 

2.4. The recency of practice requirements for renewal of registration should not be more onerous than the fitness to practice requirements for registration.

2.5. Each individual case should be assessed on its merits for requirements placed on recency of practice.

2.6. Only applicants for registration where there is clearly a risk to public safety should be subject to examination or conditions on registration.

2.7. Recency of practice assessment should include consideration of the following:

2.7.1. the nature, extent and period of practice;

2.7.2. any continuing professional development undertaken;

2.7.3. any research, study or teaching relating to dentistry;

2.7.4. administrative work relating to dentistry, including management, regulatory or policy development roles, and

2.7.5. absences from practice

2.7.6. connection with the profession

2.8. Pathways should be provided for returning practitioners who are required to demonstrate competency.

Approved by Federal Council

Document Version:
November 2021
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Policy Statement 3.9

Adopted by ADA Federal Council, April 20/21, 2006.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, April 12/13, 2007.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 12/13, 2009.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 15/16, 2012.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, April 16/17, 2015.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 22/23,2018.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 18, 2021.