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Dentolegal 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

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 dental nurses assisting with sedation in my practice need any particular training?
    28 July 2015

    It is every General Dental Council registrant’s duty to ensure they are competent and have received adequate training for the tasks they are to perform. Dental nurses certainly do need to be trained in sedation to be involved in its administration and all team members need to be fully up to date with their CPR training to deal with emergencies.

    The GDC refers registrants to the Department of Health’s guidance on conscious sedation and says it is important that all registrants intending to be involved with the provision of sedation are conversant with this. The guidance makes reference to suitable monitoring. Another source of relevant information would be the Resuscitation Council.

    It is worth regularly checking the GDC’s website or asking, via the website, to be sent regular email updates. In this way it is possible to keep abreast of all developments at the Council.

  • Q
    I have just seen a new NHS patient with a badly broken down dentition. He was extremely aggressive and rude to both me and the dental nurse and I would prefer not to see him again. Can I refuse to treat him?
    21 July 2015

    The provider holding the contract with the CCG should write and tell the patient that the practice will not tolerate rudeness or aggression from any patient. You may also feel there has been a breakdown in the relationship between yourself and the patient. If you feel it is not right to continue treating the patient, you should say you are ceasing to do so.

    If you have completed the patient’s treatment, then this is relatively simple to achieve and you should tell your staff not to book the patient in again. However, if you are halfway through a course, you should bear in mind what the patient’s current situation is, and you may wish to offer 30 days’ emergency treatment, perhaps provided by someone else in your practice, but tell the patient they should seek out another dentist as quickly as possible. You should also provide the patient with a list of any outstanding treatment.

    The CCG can provide a list of all the locally contracting dentists and it would be helpful to offer the patient their telephone number.

    Aggression and violence from patients is not tolerated by the NHS.

  • Q
    I fitted a set of dentures which the patient says are unsatisfactory, but he will not return the dentures so I can examine them.
    14 July 2015
    I fitted a set of dentures which the patient says are hideous and demands that I refund his money. However, he will not return the dentures so I can examine them, saying they belong to him. I am happy to refund the money but would like my work returned.

    Generally speaking, the ownership of any item of dental treatment passes to the patient at the time the appliance is fitted. This is, however, not always at the same time as the treatment is completed.

    It follows that during the various stages of denture construction, the denture itself still belongs to the clinician. Once it is fitted, however, the patient then owns that denture, irrespective of whether or not a fee has been paid.

    If the patient is unhappy with the dentures and the clinician decides to refund the fees, there is no absolute right to demand the denture should be returned in lieu of the refunded fee.

    A patient who is unhappy with a denture for whatever reason would probably argue that the denture was not ‘fit for purpose’ as defined under contract law. As such the patient may ask for either a replacement item or their money back. On the basis that any replacement is unlikely to satisfy the patient (particularly if they have high expectations), the best option may be to refund the money.

    It is a simple matter to suggest to the patient that if they return the denture to the practice a full refund will be made. Most patients are happy to return the dentures as they are apparently of little use.

    However, if the patient insists they wish to keep the denture, a demand for its return could create an obstacle to the resolution of the patient's complaint. From a pragmatic perspective, whilst you may wish to ask for the dentures to be returned, if the patient remains unwilling to do so you may wish to refund the fees in any event.

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