The term “Dental Specialist” shall mean: A licensed member as defined in the Health Profession’s Act for the Province of Alberta, as amended or replaced from time to time, and who has received, from the Alberta Dental Association and College, a specialist’s certificate in that specialty, signed by the Registrar.
Dental specialists must first become a general dentist by completing a minimum two years university basic science course, followed by four years of general dental education. Following this, dental specialists must complete three or more years of advanced training in a recognized specialty at an accredited university program. In addition, specialists are required to successfully complete the Royal College of Dentists of Canada Examination. Dental specialists routinely treat more complex care patients in each particular discipline of dentistry.
The following excerpts are from the Alberta Dental Association & College Code of Ethics (2007)
The provisions in this section are designed to help the public to make a clear distinction and an informed selection between a practitioner who has achieved specialty status and general practitioners. All members of the Alberta Dental Association and College may use the titles Doctor, Dr. and Dentist. However, only those dentists who are expressly authorized by the Alberta Dental Association and College may use any titles that imply specialty status including, but not limited to the following recognized titles for specialty areas of dental practice:
(b) Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon;
(c) Orthodontist and Dentofacial Orthopedist;
(d) Pediatric Dentist;
(g) Oral Medicine and Pathology Specialist;
(h) Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist;
(i) Public Health Dentist.
A dentist must ensure that he or she only uses specialist titles if he or she is authorized to do so by the Alberta Dental Association and College. A dentist must not do anything which would lead the public to believe that specialty services are being rendered by a qualified specialist in the dental office when such is not the case.
Other than fellowships in specialties as accredited by the Canadian Dental Association and recognized by the Alberta Dental Association and College, a dentist using the attainment of a fellowship in a direct advertisement to the public is making a representation which is misleading or deceptive. Such use of a fellowship status is misleading because of the likelihood that it will indicate to the patient the attainment of a specialty status. However, when such use does not conflict with the above principles or the law, the attainment of fellowship status may be indicated in scientific papers, curriculum vitae, third party payment forms and letterhead and stationery which is not used for the direct solicitation of patients.
In advertising and promotional activities, a dentist shall not refer to any fellowships except for fellowships in specialties as accredited by the Canadian Dental Association and recognized by the Alberta Dental Association and College.
A specialist may use advertisements and promotional activities that indicate that they area specialist in an area recognized by the Alberta Dental Association and College.
However, a specialist must ensure that any advertisements or promotional activities do not expressly represent or imply that they are specialists in areas not recognized by the Alberta Dental Association and College.
If a general practitioner is practicing in association with one or more specialists, then it is the duty of both the specialist(s) and the general practitioner to inform the patients that this dentist is a general practitioner.
A general dentist who wishes to announce, advertise, or promote the services available in their practice are permitted to announce the availability of those services so long as he/she avoids any communications that express or imply specialization. General dentists shall also clearly state that the services are being provided by a general practitioner. A dentist shall not announce available services in any way that will be false, misleading or deceptive. In any advertising or promotional activity for services to be provided by a general dentist, a statement that the services are provided by a general dentist must be included. A general dentist may not expressly represent or imply to the public that he/she is certified or specialized in an area of dentistry not recognized as a specialty area by the Alberta Dental Association and College.