Membership information 1800 509 441
Dentolegal advice 01280 8668

Why choose Dental Protection?

We have more than 64,000 dental members in Ireland and internationally
98% of our attendees would strongly recommend our interactive workshops

Benefits of membership

Dental Protection can provide a wide range of benefits throughout your career.
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Free student membership

Join ​us during your student years and pay nothing for your membership.
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Our publications

Did you receive your copy of Riskwise Ireland?
  • Riskwise Ireland
    May 2015
    The current edition of Riskwise Ireland, our risk management magazine for dentists practising in Ireland, includes articles about the new series of Horizon lectures, difficult patient interactions, and prescribing responsibly. 

    Members can read the current edition and browse through a library of our publications on Prism, our E-learning platform, or download a copy below.

Common queries

  • Q
    I find the advice that you offer over the phone useful and it supports my professional practice. However, I have heard that you may increase my subscription as a result of my calling for advice as you will perceive me as 'high risk'. Is this true?
    07 August 2015

    If you have concerns about, or need help dealing with a complaint, please contact us for advice to provide peace of mind and to help prevent a concern or problem escalating. MPS does not, and never has, used the number of telephone calls from members seeking advice as part of its risk assessment of a member. The number of advice calls does not have any impact on the subscription rate that you are asked to pay.

    Our approach to risk carefully balances the needs of individual members with those of the whole membership. Our aim is to identify risk early and to alert members when their risk profile differs from that of their peers. This ensures that we can provide the right support as early as possible to reduce their future risk profile. We are well aware of the potential impact on our member’s career if they are deemed a significant risk. Whilst we indicate the nature of our concerns to individual members and try and work with them to reduce their risk, this may not always be possible.

    Our focus is on protecting and supporting the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. We believe that the interests of the majority of members should not be compromised by a very small minority. Those who have received a comparatively high volume of claims or other matters by comparison to their peers can adversely affect the mutual fund.

  • Q
    Do I need to take a new medical history every time I examine a patient?
    07 July 2015

    In practical terms it is good policy to take a full medical history every time a patient is examined and the use of a medical history form provides an excellent way of recording this information.

    It is important, however, that the patient is not left to complete the medical history form; whoever is carrying out the examination should go through all the questions with the patient to ensure they fully understand them or indeed can actually read.

    Such questioning should obviously be carried out in a manner that ensures patient confidentiality. If a practice wishes to become paperless, the medical history form can be scanned onto the computer. The hard copies should then be be shredded or incinerated.

    When a patient attends for an appointment as part of a course of treatment, it is always worth checking to ensure they have not started on any medication or have suffered any relevant illnesses since their last visit. Some practices encourage patients to volunteer such information by placing a sign in the waiting room requesting patients to inform their dentist of these types of changes.

    Taking a full medical history at each examination can be onerous, but it is certainly worthwhile both to protect the patient and the dentist’s own position. Having a written record of the patient’s medical history, signed by the patient, often affords protection to the dentist – particularly if an allegation is made that he or she had not taken the patient’s medical history into consideration when carrying out treatment, which subsequently resulted in the patient being avoidably harmed.

  • Q
    How should I record a patient's consent for routine dental treatment? Does it have to be put in writing for the patient to sign?
    07 July 2015

    The concept of consent arises when a patient seeks advice, care and treatment from a dentist and that dentist carries out an examination of the patient and provides them with details of the treatment required together with the options, benefits and risks as well as the cost of that treatment. This is an on-going conversation that is picked up at every stage of the treatment being provided.

    Most dental procedures are carried out without the need for written consent but it is important that a record is made (either by the dentist or dental nurse) of the conversation during which the patient gave their consent.

    When seeing a patient for a dental examination there is likely to be implied consent that the patient wishes the dentist to look in their mouth and therefore opens it to facilitate this. When carrying out more invasive treatment such as taking radiographs and providing fillings, the dentist should obtain the express consent of the patient for each procedure.

    Certainly when carrying out clinical treatment patients should be informed of the various options which are available to them; the risks and benefits of the options, the likelihood of success, the costs of the treatment as well as the risks of not having a particular treatment carried out.

    In Ireland, consent only needs to be obtained in a written form signed by the patient, when the treatment is being provided under general anaesthetic or sedation.

    Some employers make it a contractual obligation to obtain the patient’s signature on a consent form for a variety of procedures as well as anaesthesia. The employee has an obligation to respond to the terms of their contract. Indeed in complex cases it is a sensible precaution to have some form of written consent. This would apply to treatment plans for extensive restorative work or for patients undergoing treatment which could pose a significant risk, such as the removal of a lower wisdom tooth.

    The signature on a consent form does not automatically imply the patient has provided their consent to the treatment. All it means is that the patient has signed their name and may not in fact have understood the treatment which the dentist had discussed with them.

    The best way of ensuring consent has been obtained is to check with the patient if they fully appreciate the details of what has been discussed and to make good notes within the clinical records of both the discussion and the patient’s response.

    Read our advice booklet on consent in Ireland

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