Dentist community in France

France has long been renowned due to its high level in health quality. But let’s move away from the health system itself and let’s talk more about the people who make it possible for anyone to be able to attend a hospital, a clinic, or whatever it might be. Let’s talk about the professionals themselves, as a community rather than just ‘the ones who cure me’. More specifically, I would like to delve a bit in the dentist ( Geoallo dentiste de garde ) community in France, seeing as how dentists are often overlooked when talking about health care.

The ADF (Association Dentaire Française) is a federation of 25 professional associations that cover the full range of the dental profession.  It provided dentists with a wide range of services, including continuing professional education programmes, publications to keep abreast of new technologies and improve the work environment, product certification and a bibliographic database. It also represents the French dental profession on an international level. Each year, the ADF organises an Annual Dental Meeting, which is a major event combining a Conference and an International Exhibition.

The history of the ADF is intertwined with the development of the dental profession and the emergence of its specific identity. Up until the sixties, Dentistry was not considered a discipline in its own right, at least in France. It was just another specialisation of medicine, especially with regard to qualifying degrees. However, a new approach to this discipline has since emerged through the efforts of the dental community, organized as diverse professional associations to underline the unity and specificity of the dental profession.

The ADF is also in behind the unification and it is the leading force of the dental profession. It is estimated that there are around 40.000 dentists practising in France, which nearly 30.000 of these are members of the ADF through one of its many member organisations. That is basically three quarters of all the dentists in a fully developed country. Founded in 1970, the ADF now comprises no less than 26 national associations. This unique representative quality gives the French Dental Association a comprehensive grasp of all the developments in the field of oral health, and has made it a leading force in the implementation of new approaches and initiatives for the advancement of the dental profession.

Ensuring cohesion and advancement, the ADF Constitution stresses the unifying and co-ordinating role of the Association within the dental profession. Section 2 states the aims of the ADF, by saying that

  • ‘To co-ordinate the action of its affiliated associations and ensure their cohesion’
  • ‘To represent the dental profession, particularly in dealings with the French public authorities and with international authorities.’
  • ‘To defend the interests of the dental profession’
  • ‘To be the voice of the dental profession in dealing with the general public’
  • ’To do the utmost to promote the dental profession and scientific progress in the field of dentistry, with particular regard to product certification and continuing professional education’

Even to this day, the ADF provides dentists with a unique forum for the discussion and exchange of ideas, plans, news and any other piece of information that they might want to share whether it be for informative purposes or any other kind. This, as a result, makes a major contribution to the unity of the profession. The cohesiveness of its member associations and the vital work undertaken by its Statutory and Advisory Committees are key assets in the ADF’s endeavours to promote the advancement of the profession, for the benefit of the entire dental community.

Another aim that the ADF proposes to itself is to be constantly working to achieve progress and quality over all. The ADF works for the benefit of the general public, without forgetting about the dental community, with a permanent guideline being the future of the dental profession. Its aims are set accordingly and it is putting all its efforts into encouraging scientific progress, raising the quality standards of products and equipment, improving service and the dentist-patient relationship. Thus, bringing forward new prevention methods, and finding better ways of reaching the expectations of patients.

The French Dental Association guarantees that the plurality of the dental profession is appropriately represented within the framework of public health actions through the diversity of its affiliated organisations and member associations, through the wide range of its activities. Given its high impact on the dentist community the ADF has, it also ensures that permanent dialog is established both in National and International levels, between the profession and its key partners, also including decision makers, public authorities and the media.

The ADF commits itself to the promotions and maintenance of constant exchanges between the main players of the dental field, which are the public authorities, the Conseil National de l’Ordre des Chirurgiens-Dentistes (the regulatory body for dentistry in France), hospital and university administrations, dental manufacturers and doctors and pharmacists.

However, the ADF not only is the voice of the dental community inside of France, but also abroad, where it represents its country (France) within international professional organisations such as the FDI World Dental Federation and the European Regional Organisation of the FDI (ERO-FDI). The ADF also works in close partnership with the World Health Organisation (which is called WHO, funnily enough) and actively contributes to the work of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through its collaboration with the French national organisation for standardization (Afnor).

As stated before, the ADF is the main force behind the dentist community, and has tasked itself with the mission to take the profession to its next level. Its varied memberships and its scope of action both the ins and outs of France enable the ADF not only to represent the profession to an incredible degree, but also to foster ideas that will bring the future to the field and to take proactive actions in order to archive those ideas and in behalf of the entire dental profession as shown by the major developments in this area over the past few years. To put an example of this, the ADF was instrumental in organising a qualifying diploma for dental practice and setting up curricular reforms, while also was actively involved in the advancement of the profession through its dynamic contribution to the development of academic training. It also helps continuing professional education, the creations of assessment tools, and the implementation of common professional standards for dental practitioners. To keep the quality of the oral health care that is provided in France high, the ADF has developed a quality approach programme, known as “Dérmarce Qualité”. It is designed to help dentists improve their professional skills and knowledge, and to make sure that they work accordingly to the current scientific requirements. The programme is basically a series of regulations, rules and recommendations, all with the sole purpose of aiding the professionals in their everyday work.

The College of Good Practices In Oral Medicine was created on February 3, 22011. This college, representative of the dental profession, is made up of three equal entities, the academic, the scientific and the trade union, with 12 representatives each. Its mission is to develop recommendations and benchmarks to analyse and improve practices in oral medicine and to increase the quality and safety of care. All of this methodology was validated by the High Authority of Health (Haute Autorité de Santé)

Referential on the medical file of the patient in oral medicine, the working group is supervised by the president, Christian DECLOQUEMENT, a project manager, Marc SABEK, and the one in charge of the project, Thierry DRAUSSIN. The group that works on the management of diabetic patients in oral medicine is led by Ahmed FEKI, two project managers, Adrien GARNIER and Romain BESNIER, with the support of the HAS represented by Cédric PAINDAVOINE as the project manager.

The College’s office is made up of three representatives of each entity. In the academic entity these representatives are Elisabeth VELCOUR-DEBRUYNE, Youseef HAIKEL and Jean BALCARCEL. In the Scientific entity, Alain BERY, Christian DECLOQUEMENT and Sophie DARTEVELLE. And in the Trade Union Entity, they have Dominique BRACHET, Jean-Paul JOLY and Roland L´HERRON.

Likewise, this is the same structure applied to the presidency of the college. President Christian DECLOQUEMENT, from the scientific entity. The first Vice President, Youseff HAIKEL from the Academic Entity. And the second Vice President Dominique BRACHET, from the Trade Union Entity.

The Dentist community also has an impact on the society’s point of view. The project of a corporate societal responsibility approach for the dental profession was initiated by the ADF in 2011. Following an in depth national study conducted by the French Dental Association at the beginning of 2012 among all private dentists in France, the ADF decided to define a strategy purely focused on social and environmental responsibility for the dental profession, and published a Charter of Commitment. A practical guide to sustainable development was also published in 2012 for the ADF Annual Dental Meeting, in which one could find numerous activities to take part in in order to raise awareness to environmental-related issues, and where the dentist community was invited to sign a commitment to sustainable development. The guide lists numerous of simple and easy-to-follow measures for the dental practice, such as the likes of how to reduce waste and increase recycling, how to make the transition to green energies, and how to be a responsible and disseminate good practices.

New tools are going to be developed such as online guides and checklists. A group of experts will also be set up to work on sustainable development in regards to hygiene and asepsis. This is aiming towards the goal of finding a way to reduce the overconsumption of single-use products. In 2013, a second national survey like the one the year prior confirmed that the dental profession is growing awareness of environmental issues. Again, this is all thanks to the entities that form this group, who are part of the dentist community.

As an example of members of the dentist community, here are three members of the 2018 scientific committee discovered the program of their respective discipline, David Nisand, Franck Decup and Valérie Pouyssegur

David Nisand, from the periodontology and Implantology program, said that the goal of his program is to deliver to all of his colleagues a message based on the science-based data they can apply in their day-to-day clinical practise. He also remarked that they have designed an innovative, ambitious and effective program for general practitioners, as well as specialists, with sessions that seem rhythmic. In order to facilitate the program, David Nisand sought out scientific leaders who had an understanding of the subject and asked them to build the session they dreamed of. Each session will have its own identity, as for example, that on the integration of the digital flow in the daily practice or the live demonstrations on the patient on the surgical navigation.

Frank Decup, from the restorative odontology program, acknowledges that restorative dentistry is a very broad discipline that encompasses many topics. Hence, he has striven to build a program that reflects both today’s and tomorrow’s dentistry, alternating classic themes with original subjects that are close to his heart. The main theme of this program is the tooth, as a biological organ, with all of its pathological states, in order to understand them and to give treatment and solutions that match with the full capability of science nowadays. Adhesive restoration will be a cornerstone that can be found in a large number of conferences.

According to Valérie Pouyssegur, from the removable prosthesis program, the removal of prosthesis covers a very wide field of application and she remarks that it is an essential discipline in the range of treatments of general practitioners. She also recognized that her discipline is not very present in the Congress, and the objective of the program is to value it, given its undeniable advantages. The program’s objective is to make it possible to address all functions related to the removal of prosthesis to assess any kind of situation that could happen.