Membership information 0800 561 9000
Dento-legal advice 0800 561 1010

Why choose Dental Protection?

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

Benefits of membership

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

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Common dentolegal queries

  • Q
    Can you tell me if the cost of my subscription could be increased if I ask one of your dentolegal advisers for advice on the telephone?
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    02 July 2015

    We actively encourage members to contact us for advice to provide peace of mind and to help prevent a concern or problem escalating. Dental Protection does not, and never has, used the number or content of a telephone call from a member seeking advice as part of its risk assessment of a member. The number, or content, of an advice call does not have any impact on the subscription rate that a member is 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.

    Whilst we cannot supply details of the specific risk indicator methodology as this is commercially sensitive, we can reiterate that calls to our advice line are not taken into consideration when assessing risks and we encourage our members to engage with us as early as possible to help manage and limit any potential problems they may face. We are well aware of the potential impact on our member’s career if they are deemed a significant risk and we do indicate the nature of our concerns to individual members and will try and work with them to reduce their risk, but this may not always be possible.

    • Calling Dental Protection has absolutely no adverse effect whatsoever on a member’s subscription.
    • We encourage members to call for advice sooner rather than later.
    • We consider calls to Dental Protection as being a positive element because it often allows problems to be resolved at an early stage.
  • 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?
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    30 June 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 fillings patients should be informed of the various options which are available to them, the costs of the treatment as well as the risks of not having a particular treatment carried out.

    In the UK, 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 region-specific advice booklets on consent in the UK

  • Q
    If a GDP refers a patient to me (a hygienist) and then subsequently leaves our practice, is the referral still valid? Or should a currently employed dentist rewrite the referral?
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    30 June 2015

    The referral from the GDP is still valid in this situation providing there has not been an unduly large time lag between the referral being written and the patient being seen by you.

    At the time of creating the original referral, the patient would have been examined and the GDP would have made a referral on the basis of those clinical findings. Those clinical findings and any associated tests and investigations form part of the patient’s clinical record and this does not automatically leave the practice when the dentist in question moves on.

    There may, in rare circumstances, be a wide variation between what is written in the original referral and what the new dentist considers should be written. However, care plans are not set in stone and can be modified. A simple discussion (documented within the notes) between the hygienist and the new dentist should be sufficient to ensure continuity and appropriateness of care.

    It is important to remember that the patient is at the centre of the process and their consent is required for any changes which may arise in respect of the originally planned treatment.

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