Celebrating 50 Years of International Dental Standards


The international dental standards technical committee (ISO/TC 106) celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and Canadian dentists can take pride in our country’s role in the committee’s ongoing efforts and achievements.

Canada is a key contributor to the committee and plays an influential role in its standards development process. ISO/TC 106 is chaired by Dr. Derek W. Jones, professor emeritus of Dalhousie University’s department of applied oral sciences, and the TC 106 secretariat is administered by CDA. The committee focuses on developing, updating and harmonizing international dental standards, and ensures that the development of these standards occur in a transparent, objective and impartial manner.

ISO/TC 106’s emphasis is to develop performance-based—rather than prescriptive—standards. Dentists may not realize that as a result of the committee’s work, more than 20 ISO standards come into play for the production and placement of anterior jacket crowns, ranging from definitions, codes, designations, materials, devices and equipment. Standards also cover products supplied directly to the public such as mouthwashes and rinses, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

The ISO dental standards address the safety, reliability, functionality and performance of materials, devices and equipment. They play a crucial role in society by helping to optimize the quality and safety of products used by dental teams and the public. They also contribute to breaking down trade barriers and making a broader range of dental products available to a greater proportion of the global population. “The ISO dental committee has made significant improvements in the quality of dental treatment received by millions of people worldwide during the past 50 years,” says Dr. Jones.

Expert members from 26 countries volunteer their time to produce and revise the 158 standards developed thus far. ISO/TC 106 is divided into 8 subcommittees, each being responsible for the development of standards in specific areas: filling and restorative materials, prosthodontic materials, terminology, dental instruments, dental equipment, oral hygiene products, dental implants and CAD/CAM dental systems. Standards are drafted by over 300 international experts in more than 50 working groups, the appointed experts being dentists, manufacturers or academics. The working groups are currently focusing on 29 active projects. The committee also works closely with the FDI World Dental Federation and World Health Organization to promote the appropriate implementation of standards worldwide.

Along with dental standards, the committee develops technical specifications and technical reports. Technical specifications are precursors to the creation of standards in cases where insufficient data is available to develop an international standard. As for technical reports, these can include data obtained from surveys or informative reports, or information deemed to be state of the art.

You can learn more about ISO/TC 106 activities by reading an accompanying article by Dr. Jones.

ISO/TC 106 key benefits:

  • Improves product quality
  • Improves quality of care provided to patients
  • Reduces trade barriers
  • Protects the health and safety of patients and dentists
  • Standardizes dental terminology