Information for dental professionals facing a concern

We investigate serious concerns about a dental professional’s practice, health or behaviour as part of our public protection role.

If we have told you that a concern has been raised about you, please remember that we have not taken any action, other than what was set out when we contacted you. You might want to get in touch with your indemnifier, defence organisation or insurer at this point to ask what advice or support is available to you, or to contact a solicitor for advice.

You can continue working in your current role while we investigate.

Reach out if you need support

Our investigations can take time to resolve, and the process for dental professionals can be a difficult one. Please reach out to one of the organisations providing health and wellbeing support if you feel you need it at any time during the process.

Contact us if you want help with accessing support.

What happens next?

We will have explained to you why we are looking into the issues that have been raised with us, and asked you to provide some details. Responding in a timely way helps us to resolve matters as quickly as we can.

When we have all the information we need, including any advice from our clinical advisers, we will review it and decide what to do next. We will inform you of our decision as soon as possible.

We can make one of the following decisions:

  • close the case and take no further action
  • refer the matter to another relevant organisation
  • carry out further investigation.

Where we decide that the concern requires further investigation, we will invite you to make your comments and observations.

Find out more about the stages of the fitness to practise process

Providing your comments

We may ask you to submit comments or observations about the allegations raised. You will normally have 28 days to do so.

You do not have to submit comments, but most people do, because it helps ensure that we are fully informed of the relevant facts as early as possible in the process. Providing comments within the time limit can be challenging, so we provide more time in some circumstances.

We will give an extension where there are no other issues being actively investigated or considered. Where an extension is given, we will also provide early disclosure of any clinical assessment reports. Requests should be made within 14 days, for a 14-day extension.

An extension can be given in the following cases:

  • single patient concern relating to clinical care and treatment, which are primarily clinical, but may include concerns about conduct
  • dental care professional performance concerns
  • concern relating to the maintenance of practice, equipment and material, including cross infection control and out of date medicines.

Consideration by case examiners

Cases are passed to case examiners for consideration when all relevant information needed to reach a decision has been gathered. Only around a third of all cases raised with us are referred to case examiners.

Each case is considered by a pair of case examiners, one lay and one dental professional. Case examiners review the information and evidence relating to the allegations before reaching a decision.

Find out more about case examiners’ decisions and reviews

Find out more about undertakings agreed with case examiners.

Hearings and decisions

Case examiners can decide to refer cases to a practice committee at the Dental Professionals Hearings Service. The Hearings service provides independent adjudication services.

Cases can also be referred to the Hearings Service at any stage for an assessment of immediate and serious risks to public safety and confidence. The Interim Orders Committee will assess risks and decide if registration needs to be restricted while issues are investigated.

You will find listings of hearings and decisions on the Dental Professionals Hearings Service website.