FDI: CDA's International Connection


Dr. Robert Sutherland

Globalization has been defined as the "increasing connectivity, integration, and interdependence of economies, societies, (and) technologies … across the world." 1 CDA has recognized for some time that many dental issues cross provincial and national boundaries and that any proposed solutions require the sharing of resources through national and international collaboration.

Nationally, CDA provides a meeting place for the discussion and resolution of major issues facing the profession. Current priority areas include improving access to care by promoting the first visit to the dentist by age 1 and developing national standards for oral care in long-term care facilities; addressing the public perception of the profession by improving the trust and value proposition of dentists and dental care; and creating community around clinical content by providing dentists with practical chair side knowledge and information.

Internationally, we are fortunate to have the FDI World Dental Federation working on behalf of dentistry on the world stage. FDI is the profession's key global source of knowledge and advocacy on issues paramount to the profession, as well as a source of worldwide community.

CDA's delegation recently returned from FDI's 100th Annual World Dental Congress in Hong Kong where significant progress was made on a number of international issues. First and foremost, we now have a knowledge base on FDI's future direction, as its Vision 2020 document was unveiled at the inaugural World Oral Health Forum. This report outlines FDI's goals of meeting the increasing need and demand for oral health care, expanding the role of oral health care professionals, shaping a responsive educational model and fostering fundamental and translational research and technology. These priorities will serve as key touch points as the profession examines the challenges and opportunities of providing the highest level of oral care in an everchanging world.

FDI is also coordinating dentistry's efforts in regards to the United Nations Environmental Program's legally binding instrument on mercury, which could restrict, phase out or ban the use of amalgam in coming years. In response, FDI resolved to increase the profession's emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion, ensure that the health of individuals and society are protected, ensure dentists have access to the full complement of restorative materials available and encourage global dental materials research. In Hong Kong, 2 new FDI policy statements were approved: Classification of Caries Lesions of Tooth Surfaces and Caries Management Systems and Noncommunicable Diseases. Both documents reinforce the importance of oral health and entrench the concept of oral health as an integral component of overall health.

Canada continues to be actively involved in FDI and monitors international dental issues to benefit of our dentists, profession and society. I would like to thank Dr. Peter Doig, CDA president-elect, Dr. Robert MacGregor, CDA past-president, Dr. Jack Cottrell, FDI council member, Dr. Peter Cooney, Canada's Chief Dental Officer, and Mr. Claude Paul Boivin, CDA executive director, for their contributions at the recent Congress.

It has never been more true to say that we live in a global village. Our actions as individuals or collectively as a profession affect and are affected by the world in which we live and work. CDA and FDI will always be there working on your behalf.

Robert Sutherland, BSc, DDS, MSc, Dip Perio


  1. Donaldson ME, Gadbury-Amyot CC, Khajotia SS, Nattestad A, Norton NS, Zubiaurre LA, et al. Dental education in a flat world: advocating for increased global collaboration and standardization. J Dent Educ. 2008;72(4):408-21.