This study investigates the attributes of a 'good dentist' with respect to the opinions of dental patients, dental students and qualified dentists and determines whether the dental profession and its patients are in agreement with the standards published by the General Dental Council (GDC) in 2005. A questionnaire was circulated amongst the above groups at the University Of Birmingham, School of Dentistry. Each participant was asked to rank 14 attributes for a dentist in order of their importance. The results indicated that generally there was no consensus between individual participants. There was, however, significant overlap between the top six attributes chosen by dental care professionals and the GDC standards. Patients tended to rank other non-GDC mentioned attributes more frequently. Attributes which were considered important by all were 'putting patient interests first and acting to protect them, respecting a patient's dignity and choices and having good technical ability'.
Clinical relevance: It is important to gain an insight into patient attitudes and to be knowledgeable of the GDC professional standards, in order to improve overall conduct and performance as a dental practitioner.