General Dental Practice

general dental practice

About General Dentistry

General Dentists are primary dental care providers who hold a registrable qualification. They provide oral health care for patients in all age groups. The General Dentist is responsible for the diagnosis, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs and their ongoing maintenance.

General Dentists are well educated in all facets of oral health care. They have the ability to diagnose oral health conditions but are not necessarily skilled at the specialist level in performing all treatment requirements in dentistry. General Dentists undertake regular continuing professional development in order to maintain and develop their skill levels. 

RACDS Membership and Fellowship Programs in General Dental Practice

The Membership Program in General Dental Practice (MRACDS(GDP)) is a pathway to the acquisition of further knowledge in general dentistry.

The Fellowship Program in General Dental Practice (FRACDS(GDP)) is a process of peer review and assessment of higher level competency.


Both the Membership and Fellowship programs in General Dental Practice provide structured education and learning for qualified General Dental Practitioners (GDPs), with the following aims:

  • To enhance knowledge and skills
  • To enable GDPs to provide a high standard of patient management, diagnosis and treatment for the benefit of the community
  • To support and recognise involvement in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses currently available To provide a structured approach to CPD
  • To provide GDPs with an opportunity to obtain a recognised postgraduate qualification in general dental practice

The MRACDS(GDP) and FRACDS(GDP) on their own are not a registrable qualification to practice dentistry in Australia or New Zealand.

FAQs - General Dental Practice

1. Is the GDP program right for me?

The GDP program is intended for general dentists. If you are a practicing dentist and wish to structure your professional development and gain a recognised qualification at the same time, then this is the program for you.

2. What is the difference between GDP and Specialist Dental Practice (SDP) Programs?

You can become a Member or Fellow in GDP through:

  • Primary and Final exams leading to Fellowship; or
  • Membership GDP Program - MRACDS(GDP)
  • Final exam for Fellowship

The SDP program provides the opportunity for Membership or Fellowship in eight specialist areas. Candidates who wish to pursue SDP must become a Member before presenting for the Fellowship exam. Membership can be awarded via prior recognition, examination or conjoint examination with one of our University partners.

3. If I am already a Fellow or Member in General Dental Practice, can I proceed with the Specialist Dental Practice?

If you are a Member or Fellow in General Dental Practice you can still pursue Specialist Dental Practice. Specialist Dental Practice is intended for people practicing as specialists. A general dentist who is interested in a specialist discipline but who does not hold any specific qualifications in that field is not advised to seek Membership in Specialist Dental Practice. The RACDS has many Members and Fellows who have chosen to undertake Membership and/or Fellowship in both fields.


4. What is the difference between the MRACDS(GDP) and the Primary Examination?

  • The Primary exam consists of six exams in the basic sciences: Anatomy, Cell Biology & Biochemistry, Histology, Pathology, Physiology and Microbiology. The exam is held annually in November/December and comprises a written paper and viva voce in each of the above subjects.
  • The MRACDS(GDP) program consists of a series of short answer question assessment, submission of case reports, completion of CPD hours and a viva voce exam. The program is two to three years in duration which allows candidates to study and submit assessments at their own pace. On completion of the program, candidates will be admitted into the RACDS as Members in GDP, and will be entitled to use the postnominal MRACDS(GDP).

    Both the Primary Exam and the MRACDS(GPD) program lead to eligibility to present for the Final examination, FRACDS (GDP)

5. How do I choose between the Primary Examination and the MRACDS Program?

  • If you would like to get into a specialist program then the Primary Exam demonstrates higher level learning achievement.
  • If you are a practicing dentist and want to expand your knowledge, and structure your professional development, the MRACDS program may be more suitable.


   " What the MRACDS offers is a broad suite of disciplines that covers every area of practice -
perfectly tailored to the practicing GDP and at a fraction of the cost of an online Master’s. 

Furthermore, it is realistically achievable while in practice. 
So if you’re that dentist in practice looking for an extra level of challenge and guidance, I encourage you to take a serious look at the MRACDS and allow yourself to be stretched! 
"   [ Dr Robert Saltmiras ]

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