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Dental Council of NZ

The oral health practitioners that the Dental Council regulate are dentists, dental specialists, dental therapists, dental hygienists, clinical dental technicians, dental technicians, and orthodontic auxiliaries.



To apply to register as an oral health practitioner under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, you must:

  • be fit for registration
  • have a prescribed qualification
  • if you don’t have a prescribed qualification, you must have a qualification that’s assessed as being equivalent to, or as satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification for your scope of practice
  • be competent to practise within that scope of practice.

Annual Practicing Certificate (APC)

You must hold a current annual practising certificate (APC) to practise as an oral health practitioner in New Zealand. It is an offence to practise without one.


Scopes of Practice

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) describes a scope of practice as the health service that a practitioner registered in that scope of practice is permitted to perform, subject to any conditions for the time being imposed by the responsible authority.


Scope of Practice – Oral Health Therapist (Dental Hygienist)

Scope of Practice – Dental Therapist


Codes of Practice

Council sets the minimum standards of ethical conduct, clinical, and cultural competence that patients, the public and other health professionals can expect from you. These standards are reflected in the Dental Council codes of practice and statements.  


Practitioner Responsibilities

As a registered oral health practitioner, you have certain responsibilities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. Click here for more information.


‘Working as an Oral Health Practitioner in New Zealand’

Information for oral health practitioners including codes of practice, relevant legislation and other conditions of practice.



Recertification is the main method that the Council will use for ensuring the competence to practise of oral health practitioners. The purpose of recertification is to ensure that practitioners maintain their competence to practice, do not become isolated from their peers and meet certain required standards.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

For each profession, the Dental Council sets a minimum number of verifiable continuing professional development (CPD) hours and a certain number of peer contact activities per four-year recertification cycle. If you would like to find out more, head on over to our Continuing Professional Development page.