The Society came into being when different pressure groups and non-governmental organizations (NGO's) with the same aspirations to establish a category of Denturist in South Africa, started working together in 1996; initially as a study group. Their aim was to contribute to the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in a constructive manner by facilitating the restructuring of the denture delivery process, in order to improve efficiency and affordability of one of the most basic oral health services. It was agreed to:

  • Prepare a new motivational Report, with a new much broader terms of reference, which would take into account the realities and difficulties of a politically and economically changing new South Africa;
  • Launch an Association with a broad membership of dental technicians with the view to facilitate, lobby support, and monitor the various stages leading up to and after the legislative process, under the initial title The Denturism Society.
  • Their initial objectives were to be:
  • The legal recognition of a category of denturist for independent practice
  • The determination of a work-demarcation guide, based on international trends and guidelines.
  • The introduction and maintenance of an internationally acceptable training course for aspiring denturists in South Africa;
  • The compliance to ethical conduct by practicing Denturists.

The research, gathering of information and the process of broad consultation continued. As the new democracy was dawning, so was a sense of justice to rectify the legacy of an unjust political history and to create a mechanism of equity to previously disadvantaged communities and groups. Many laws were repealed and replaced with progressive new concepts, also in the Health disciplines. One of the amendments was the inclusion of a definition for a category of Clinical Dental Technologist in the Dental Technicians Amendment Act, Act 43 of 1997. The Society adopted the term as a synonym for Denturist, although we have never agreed with the inhibiting and outdated scope of practice prescribed or the general mindset reflected by the definition. That definition ignores the example of the international practice and trends and the realities of local needs and demands.

In July 1998 The Society submitted its Motivational Report (a 200 page work document providing relevant data to assist decision makers and to facilitate co-operation and debate with stakeholders) to the SA Dental Technicians Council, the Minister of Health and the Department of Health under the title: "Clinical Dental Technology: A Quest for Equity in Oral Health Care"

On 17 August 1998 an Inaugural Meeting was held on the Campus of Peninsula Technikon in Cape Town to launch the Association. All registered Dental Technicians were invited and 86 dental technicians attended the meeting with 16 apologies recorded. Widespread enthusiasm were reported from around the country. 16 principle motions were adopted. An Interim Committee consisting of 7 members was elected to draw up a Constitution to guide the functioning of the Association. It was further agreed to include the guidelines of the Motivational Report and the Mission & Objectives of the IFD in both the Constitution and the operational lobby of The Society.

Over the last decade, much more research was done into the international practice of the profession. Our contacts and relationships with colleagues overseas have been strengthened substantially. With the initiation of this website, we are now moving into the next phase where our membership strength will become a determining factor. We will need much more determined dental technicians with a passion for denturism, to lobby the public support.