Examples of what we would investigate
The General Dental Council can only investigate certain types of complaints about dental professionals.
The following examples of GDC fitness to practise cases may help illustrate what the GDC can help with.
Serious or repeated mistakes in patient care
A patient had a denture made for them as they had lost a tooth. However, the denture did not seem to fit properly and was causing severe pain. The patient went to see another dentist who told the patient that the denture wasn't fitting because they had very severe gum disease, which had gone undiagnosed and untreated for some time. Due to the gum disease, the patient should not have had the denture, as this had caused damage to other teeth next to the denture. The patient now needs specialist care for their gums, and is likely to lose the two teeth next to the denture.
Failure to respond reasonably to a patient's needs, including referring for further investigations where necessary
A patient went to the dentist as they had a painful ulcer on the left-hand side of their mouth. The dentist failed to refer the patient for further investigations, and they were subsequently diagnosed with oral cancer.
Violence, sexual assault or indecency
A dental professional was charged, and subsequently convicted, of indecent assault.
Any serious criminal offence or offence in breach of the Dentists Act
- A dental professional was referred to the GDC as they had a conviction of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving due to road traffic collision involving a motorcyclist.
- The GDC receives a letter from the Police telling them that a dental professional had been arrested on suspicion of meeting a child following sexual grooming.
Discrimination against patients, colleagues and others
- A practice employee told the GDC that one of their colleagues, who is a registered dental professional, started to treat them in an aggressive way when they found out they are gay.
Serious breaches of a patient's confidentiality
A dental professional posted information about a patient's treatment on an open website forum without the patient's consent. The patient could be identified from the information that was shared online.