(Adopted from the American Dental Association “Competencies for the New General Dentist”)

The general dentist is the primary oral health care provider supported by dental specialists, allied dental professionals and other health care providers. The practice of general dentistry requires a dentist to possess the ability to incorporate understanding, skills and values in an integrated response to clinical and other professional situations. The competency statements describe the performance of the University of New England College of Dental Medicine graduates as they enter dental practice settings rather than that of students in individual courses. This document is viewed by the College as dynamic, as the practice of dentistry evolves, the College will revisit its competence. 


  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Professionalism
  3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  4. Health Promotion
  5. Practice Management and Informatics
  6. Patient Care
    a. Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
    b. Establishment and Maintenance of Oral Health

1. Critical Thinking

Graduates must be competent to:
1.1. Evaluate and integrate emerging trends in health care as appropriate
1.2. Utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills
1.3. Evaluate and integrate best research outcomes with clinical expertise and patient values for evidence-based practice

2. Professionalism

Graduates must be competent to:
2.1. Apply ethical and legal standards in the provision of dental care
2.2. Practice within one’s scope of competence and consult with or refer to professional colleagues when indicated

3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Graduates must be competent to:
3.1. Apply appropriate interpersonal and communication skills
3.2. Apply psychosocial and behavior principles in patient-centered health care
3.3. Communicate effectively with individuals from diverse populations

4. Health Promotion

Graduates must be competent to:
4.1. Provide prevention, intervention and educational strategies
4.2. Participate with dental team members and other health care professionals in the management and health promotion for all patients
4.3. Recognize and appreciate the need to contribute to the improvement of oral health beyond those served in traditional practice settings

5. Practice Management and Informatics

Graduates must be competent to:
5.1. Evaluate and apply contemporary and emerging information including clinical and practice management technology resources
5.2. Evaluate and manage current models of oral health care management and delivery
5.3. Apply principles of risk management, including informed consent and appropriate record keeping in patient care
5.4. Demonstrate effective business, financial management, and human resource skills
5.5. Apply quality assurance, assessment and improvement concepts
5.6. Comply with local, state and federal regulations including OSHA and HIPAA
5.7. Develop a catastrophe preparedness plan for the dental practice

6. Patient Care

a. Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

Graduates must be competent to:
6.1. Manage the oral health care of the infant, child, adolescent, and adult, as well as the unique needs of women, geriatric and special needs patients
6.2. Prevent, identify, and manage trauma, oral diseases and other disorders
6.3. Obtain and interpret patient/medical data, including a thorough intra/extra oral examination, and use these findings to accurately assess and manage all patients
6.4. Select, obtain, and interpret diagnostic images for the individual patient
6.5. Recognize the manifestations of systemic disease and how the disease and its management may affect the delivery of dental care
6.6. Formulate a comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and/or referral plan for the management of patients

b. Establishment and Maintenance of Oral Health

Graduates must be competent to:
6.7. Utilize universal infection control guidelines for all clinical procedures
6.8. Prevent, diagnose, and manage pain and anxiety in the dental patient
6.9. Prevent, diagnose, and manage temporomandibular disorders
6.10. Prevent, diagnose and manage periodontal diseases
6.11. Develop and implement strategies for the clinical assessment and management of caries
6.12. Manage restorative procedures that preserve tooth structure, replace missing or defective tooth structure, maintain function, are esthetic and promote soft and hard tissue health
6.13. Diagnose and manage developmental or acquired occlusal abnormalities
6.14. Manage the replacement of teeth for the partially or completely edentulous patient
6.15. Diagnose, identify, and manage pulpal and periradicular diseases
6.16. Diagnose and manage oral surgical treatment needs
6.17. Prevent, recognize, and manage medical and dental emergencies
6.18. Recognize and manage patient abuse and/or neglect
6.19. Recognize and manage substance abuse
6.20. Evaluate outcomes of comprehensive dental care
6.21. Diagnose, identify, and manage oral mucosal and osseous diseases

See also the Accreditation page for the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s standards.

Office of the Dean

Senior Assistant to the Dean
Phone: (207) 221-4700
Fax: (207) 523-1915

Mailing Address

College of Dental Medicine
University of New England
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, Maine 04103-2670