Standards of care

What you can expect from your dental professional

We are committed to helping you understand what to expect from your dental professional, what to do if your expectations are not met and what action we take to protect you.

We issue guidance documents to all dental professionals, setting out the standards they must work to. You can read these documents on our Standards for the Dental Team page.

Audio slideshow: Your dental team have check ups too 

Smile - Information for patients

Our Smile leaflet explains the role of the General Dental Council, what to expect at the visit and what to do if you are unhappy with your experience.

Your rights 

Before you agree to any dental treatment, you should ask yourself these questions.
  • Do you know whether the planned treatment will be provided under the NHS or privately? 
  • Do you know the likely cost? If a price list is not on display in the practice, you can ask to see one. 
  • Do you understand what the planned treatment involves? Ask for a written treatment plan, if you would find that helpful. 
  • Has your dentist told you if there are other treatment options? 
  • Do you have all the information you need to make an informed decision? 
  • If a dental appliance is made for you, have you been offered a copy of the statement of manufacture?
  • If you have any concerns, you should ask your dental professional for more information. 

Our registers 

By law, all dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists who provide your dental care must be registered with us.
To join our registers, these dental professionals need to prove that they are trained and qualified, and are of good character. You can search our registers to see if your dental professional is registered.
Some dentists with special training or experience are also on our Specialist Lists and can call themselves a ‘specialist’. They must show us how they are qualified to use that title before they can join these lists. Other dentists may work in particular areas of dentistry (for example, orthodontics) but they are not allowed to call themselves a specialist unless they are on these lists.
While on our registers we expect dental professionals to keep their skills up to date through continuing professional development. They also need to meet our standards.​​