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If you’ve felt dissatisfied with your dentist’s treatment, or had a further issue arise because of something they may have done, it can be difficult to know what steps to take.

Many patients don’t like to make a complaint, especially if they’ve found a dentist that they feel comfortable with, or have chosen someone who is reputed to be a good practitioner. However, if you have had issues, it’s important to communicate clearly with your dentist to ensure that you continue to enjoy good healthcare in the future, and also to prevent problems arising for other patients. Here are some simple tips you can use when faced with a potential dispute with your dentist.

Contact the dentist directly

In cases where you may not be satisfied with the treatment you received, or if a further problem has arisen as a result of your dental treatment, the first port of call should ideally be with the dentist’s surgery. You might want to contact the practice manager, by putting your concerns in writing or in an email.  They can then follow this up and hopefully put forward a resolution. You should aim to do this within 12 months of your treatment.

Of course, don’t let disputes get in the way of your own dental care routines. Finding good dental products to help keep your oral health in good condition will also minimise the risk of more serious problems arising.

Issues with NHS dental care

If the problem you have experienced is with an NHS dentist and you’d rather not contact the surgery yourself, another alternative is to contact NHS England, who are responsible for managing NHS dental services.

These might be issues related to care, such as cross-infection from the use of unclean tools, or a mistake in prescribing the right drugs. You might also have encountered mistakes or issues with charges. For example, if you have been charged more than you expected, or have not received clear communication about what you are being charged for, then you may want to raise a complaint.

Complaints are also essential in cases of discrimination. They will be able to listen to your concerns, and decide what kind of further action or treatment may be most appropriate in your case.

If your dentist has been seriously unprofessional

In cases where you have been extremely let down by your dentist and you fear that may even be a risk to other patients, it’s important not to let that slide.

For serious problems, you may need to contact the General Dental Council, the body that regulates dentists in the UK, to inform them as to what has happened. They will then be able to follow up and investigate, before deciding whether or not to take further action.

The information you provide can be helpful in improving dental services as a whole, as well as making sure patient care is the best it can be, so don’t hesitate to take action, if you feel that it’s necessary.