The Complexity of Care and the Dunning-Kruger Effect


  • CP Owen Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa





There appears to be an increase in litigation against general dental practitioners which is increasingly due to clinicians exceeding their competence, because they may not be aware that they lack the required skills: the so called Dunning-Kruger effect. The purpose of this paper is first, to briefly explain the Dunning-Kruger effect, and second, to propose guidelines for dentists confronted with
differing levels of complexity of care, in order to increase practitioners’ awareness of their competence, and by extension, their limitations. An example of complexity levels is given using the discipline of Prosthodontics. It is concluded that there needs to be a revision of the scope of practice for dentistry, which currently provides an “anything goes” approach; a revision of Rule 21 of the Health Professions Council of South Africa, whose provisions need to be more precise as they are currently being ignored; and a revision of the system of providing accreditation for CPD courses and in particular for the presenters and content of those courses


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How to Cite

Owen, C. (2023). The Complexity of Care and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. South African Dental Journal, 78(01), 50–55.

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