The history of dentistry awards

Julian English shares the history of dentistry awards

To celebrate 25 years of, Julian English shares a brief and interesting history of awards schemes in UK dentistry.

As you know, FMC runs award schemes recognising a diverse range of activities and roles in UK dentistry.

But interestingly the first awards were set up and run by a rival – The Probe. The Probe Awards started in 1998 and were a big hit with the profession.

From strength to strength

Things started hotting up when visionary dentist David Houston sat down with Ken Finlayson, chairman of FMC. They conceived the Private Dentistry Awards. David Houston has chaired the awards since their inception in 2003.

The awards launched with huge support of 20 sponsors and entries and attendance in the hundreds. There was a high society feel to the black-tie ceremony, supported by the professional backing of Dr David Houston. Combined, this meant the awards were an immediate success and went from strength to strength.

Three years later the Dentistry Awards were launched. These are regional awards with a regional venue for the ceremony, at an old art-deco cinema in Leicester. The country was split into nine regions and entrants were judged based on their location in just a few categories. Due to the inclusive nature of the awards and hard work from the team at FMC, these awards were very heavily supported by sponsors.

We held the awards on the first Friday in December. This gave the practices entering the chance to use the awards as their Christmas party. As a result, attendance topped at just under 800. The ceremony was black tie but much more raucous and wilder than expected.

The awards have continued to flourish and today the Dentistry Awards are widely acknowledged as the most successful dental awards in the UK.

More and more awards

After this, FMC launched the Oral Health Awards, Dentistry Scotland Awards, Irish Dentistry Awards and, eventually, the Dental Industry Awards.

The ‘industry’ awards are administered by FMC, but are wholly independent. As with all awards, an unbiased independent judging panel reviews entries, with multiple people having a say in the winners.

The Industry Awards launched seven years ago. To ensure independence and to stand up to scrutiny, Dr David Houston chairs the judging panel made up of a mix of dental profession experts and captains of industry.

Clinical case awards

Highly respected in the profession have been case awards within the Aesthetic Dentistry Awards. Judging is chaired by Dr Chris Orr who is highly respected among peers.

Dental professionals like the case awards because it is open and honestly judged. Also, it is judged blind and rewards what they were trained to do – clinical dentistry.

This year we are delighted the case awards have returned. To get involved visit and select the Dentistry Clinical Case Awards.


Over the years, the awards have ignited a focus on excellence in practice and clinical care. Ultimately, they encourage practices to evaluate their operation as they strive to demonstrate how they have satisfied the criteria for entering.

Many winning entrants say that entering the awards has helped them improve their systems, operation and patient care.

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