For the last 15 years, specialist dentists have changed the face of dentistry. In the same way celebrity chefs have improved fish & chips and school food, specialist dentists have raised the bar for patient care and paved the way to the state-of-the-art dentistry we have today.
Unfortunately there have been some cases in which general dental practitioners make claims implying they offer specialist services in order to gain attention of the public. This can seriously undermine the patients confidence if the outcome fails to provide the desired result.
It wasn’t until 1921 that an act of parliament restricted the practice of dentistry to graduates with formal university training. Mirroring the General Medical Council for doctors, the Dentist Act gave rise to the General Dental Council (GDC) – designed to protect the public from professional misconduct.
Today, the GDC investigates formal complaints from the public (or colleagues) and any dentist found to be guilty of serious misconduct would be ‘struck off’ the register or admonished depending upon the severity of the ‘misdemeanour’. More recently, the GDC also review cases on ‘Fitness to Practice’ issues which covers complaints related to dentists failing to gain informed consent, to comply with recognised clinical protocols and exercising a duty of care.
This also includes any marketing statements which could mislead the public.
Be warned: Some beauty salons have recently gained the attention of the GDC for unlawfully providing tooth-whitening services.
Here are some common phrases often used to imply specialist services (that have led to formal warnings issued by the General Dental Council).
. . .I’m an Implantologist. . .
NO dentist can claim to be an Implantologist exclusively, as it requires a team of experts.
. . .we offer permanent replacements for your dentures. . .
ALL dentistry eventually fails as nothing is permanent, a claim like this is misleading.
. . .we are Cosmetic Dentistry Specialists. . .
Cosmetic Dentistry is not recognised as a speciality by the GDC.
References to ‘cosmetic dentistry’, ‘smile centres’ and ‘implant clinics’ may indicate a dental practitioner has special interest in the field, but only the GDC website http://gdc-uk.net will identify the accredited specialists. You should always refer to the GDC if in any doubt.
In the news
Dental patients put at risk by banned fake-gold implants – Sunday, 13 June
The Independent reports that some dentists are using cheap yellow alloys (or fake-gold) for crowns and bridges in order to maximise profits on their UDAs, units of dental activity from the NHS in return of a monthly salary (introduced in 2006).