How to share concerns with your dental team

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What to do if you disagree with you dentist?-3

Modern dentistry puts patients firmly at the centre of everything that the dental team does. This includes ensuring that patients concerns and complaints are listened to and acted upon promptly.

Here are some of the approaches you can consider if you want to raise concerns about an aspect of your dental care.

Let your dental team know

If you have a good relationship with your dentist, it’s worth keeping.

Whatever your concerns, your dentist will always want to resolve the situation as quickly as possible: none of us like to have unhappy patients.

If the issue is relatively minor, you may wish to simply mention it to a member of the dental team at your next appointment or you could telephone to speak to a receptionist or a member of the management team.

All dental practices encourage patients to leave constructive feedback so that their service can continually improve and there will probably be a number of ways that you can do this. If your concerns are of a general nature this may be a good option.

For other problems, it may be better to telephone to speak with a member of the management team.If the matter concerns treatment that your dentist has provided, it may be possible to arrange a longer appointment with him or her so that the matter can be discussed further.

(It can be difficult for dentists to deal with concerns if they are raised without warning in a short appointment slot)

Always try to communicate with members of the dental team calmly and courteously as they will be doing everything they can to help. As with many situations, getting irate or aggressive rarely gets the best out of people and many practices operate a zero tolerance policy when it comes to people who verbally abuse their staff.

Social media may not be the best way to handle specific concerns about your own treatment. Dental professionals cannot address individual patient issues over social media platforms as this would break Patient Confidentiality guidelines. It is always better to approach your practice directly.

Ask for the Practice Complaints Policy

All dental practices in England have a Complaints Policy for patients. This is a requirement of registration with the Care Quality Commission which monitors all practices, both NHS and private.

A copy of the Complaints Policy should be freely available to all patients of the practice.

This provides another way of addressing concerns if you would rather not speak directly to your dentist…although that might still be an option later on down the line.

Most Complaints Policies will ask for your concerns to be put in writing and there will be an indication of how quickly your complaint will be dealt with and what the procedure is.

A Practice Manager will often co-ordinate the process and will help you on how best to proceed.

Get a second opinion from another dentist

This may be another dentist within the same practice or from a different practice altogether.

This may not be the best option to start with. It can be difficult for a dentist new to the situation to comment on a course of treatment without knowing the clinical situation before the treatment was provided.

And your new dentist may still advise that you go back to your original dentist to resolve the situation.

However, if you feel that your relationship with the practice has irretrievably broken down, then a second opinion might be an option.

Contact the regulatory bodies for dentistry

Wherever possible, try to resolve matters with your dentist or the practice team concerned.

However if your complaint is not satisfactorily resolved or you have other concerns there are a number regulatory bodies that you can contact.

Click here for information regarding the regulatory bodies for dentistry.

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.