Membership information 0800 561 9000
Dentolegal advice 0800 561 1010

Contact a dentolegal adviser

Our dentolegal advice service is open to members with urgent queries and dentolegal emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you encounter such an emergency please call 0800 561 1010
Alternatively, members can email us at enquiries@dentalprotection.org or use our contact form to submit a query securely online. One of our expert dentolegal advisers will respond as soon as possible.

In the interests of patient confidentiality, please do not include information in an email that would allow a patient to be identified.

Submit a query online
   

How can we help?

  • Support When You Need It
  • Assistance with Complaints
  • Confidential Counselling Service
  • Risk management material, online learning and publications
  • Regular Magazines & E-Bulletins

Latest Advice Booklets

  • Handling Complaints (UK) - April 2017

    In today's world it is easy to develop a fear of complaints or litigation. No professional likes reading a complaint about themselves or receiving criticism from a patient whether it is valid or not.

    We've produced specific booklets for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  • Referral to the General Dental Council - November 2016

    This leaflet is specifically written for Dental Protection members who have been notified that the GDC is investigating an issue in relation to their fitness to practise. Any registrant can be investigated  by the GDC, so although the text refers to a dentist, exactly the same advice applies to dental care professionals.

  • Ending professional relationships (UK) - November 2016

    All relationships must come to an end sooner or later and parting on both good or bad terms carries potential risks. Sometimes the end of a professional relationship is a moment of sadness, while on other occasions it can be tinged with a sense of relief.

Latest FAQs

  • Q
    I use a shade-taking device, linked to my phone, to communicate with the laboratory when making dental crowns. How can I comply with my Data Protection obligations?
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    14 February 2017

    Digital technology can make life easier for the dental professional provided basic steps are taken to allow for data protection requirements. The image captured in the process of taking the shade of a patient’s tooth is personal data and forms part of their dental record, so before sharing this data with a dental laboratory there must be a registered data controller at the laboratory as well as within the practice.

    The image of the teeth alone will not be easily identifiable; so provided you have sought the patients’ agreement to sharing their data with a dental laboratory in this way, you can go ahead.

    Before sharing the image with the laboratory, it should be uploaded to the patient’s record on the practice computer system prior to deleting the file from your phone. The picture can then be securely emailed from the practice computer with any other details required by the laboratory. The security of the patient data on your practice computer is already subject to the precautions required by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The same legislation applies to the dental technician’s laboratory.

    If you happen to share data with your other devices using the Cloud you will need to turn off this storage system before taking the patient’s picture or eliminate the file from those linked locations.

    Key points

    • Offer the patient this method of shade taking, outlining the process and note the conversation and their consent in the dental records
    • Turn off any online storage system associated with the mobile phone
    • Save the image to the patient’s record on the practice computer
    • Check to see that the laboratory you are using is compliant with the Data Protection Act. ( Advice from Information Commissioner (ICO) below)
    • Email the image to the laboratory in an identifiable anonymised form from the practice computer
    • Delete all original images from your smartphone and any associated shared locations
    • Record your final protocol in a written practice policy.

    The following is taken from the ICO summary following review of dental practice and dated September 2015:

    • Choose a data processor providing sufficient guarantees regarding information security
    • Take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with those measures; and 
    • Have a contract in place, in writing, specifying that:
      • The data processor is to act only on instructions from the data controller; and
      • The data processor must comply with information security measures comparable to those in the DPA.
  • Q
    When I am looking to purchase dental practice software, what risk management functionality do I need to look for?
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    18 August 2016

    From a risk management perspective, you should look for ease of printing all relevant patient record information, ideally with a single click. Many current computer systems do not easily print out the whole record. It is also important to be able to print out historical information, such as earlier dental charts and periodontal records.

    Many systems currently only print out the most recent chart. As well as the accurate chronological reproducibility of the complete patient record you might also want to consider the ability to print out individual patient treatment plan summaries and pricing that can be offered to the patient to sign at the time of the initial examination.

    In addition the system needs to back up to a remote site to ensure data can be restored following an unexpected system failure or service interruption.

  • Q
    If I refund a patient their fees in response to a complaint, am I admitting liability?
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    18 August 2016

    It seems to be a common misconception that the clinician should avoid giving a refund to a patient. However, in certain circumstances dentists can give patients a refund which can resolve a difficult situation and eliminate further hassle.

    The refund should be given with a clear indication, preferably in writing, that it is ‘purely as a gesture of goodwill and with no admission of liability’. The refund does not increase the likelihood of any further action, nor does it provide the patient any additional grounds on which to base a claim.

    Dental Protection’s module on handling complaints can be downloaded for free.

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