In Scandinavia, as in many European countries, most patients consult their general dentist once a year or more. This gives the dentist a unique opportunity and an obligation to make an early diagnosis of oral diseases, which is beneficial for both the patient and the society. Thus, the dentist must have knowledge of clinical symptoms, local and systemic signs and clinical differential diagnoses to make an accurate diagnosis. The dentist must be competent in selecting appropriate diagnostic tests, for example, tissue biopsy and microbiological samples, and conducting them correctly, as well as in interpreting test results and taking appropriate action accordingly. Furthermore, the dentist must be aware of diseases demanding multidisciplinary cooperation and be able to recognise his/her professional limitation, and to refer to other specialists when required. The dental curriculum changes over time as new approaches, treatments and diagnostic possibilities develop. Likewise, the role of the dentist in the community changes and may vary in different countries. As members of the Scandinavian Fellowship for Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine and subject representatives of oral pathology and oral medicine, we feel obliged to contribute to the discussion of how the guidelines of the dental curriculum support the highest possible standards of dental education. This article is meant to delineate a reasonable standard of oral pathology and oral medicine in the European dental curriculum and to guide subject representatives in curriculum development and planning. We have created an advisory topic list in oral pathology and oral medicine.