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The short answer:

If you suspect you have received substandard dental treatment you may decide to make a complaint to the dentist or practice and, thereafter, escalate your complaint further should you receive an unsatisfactory response.

Whilst the complaints process may lead to an apology or the offer of a refund, it is unlikely to result in you being offered compensation for the pain and suffering caused by poor treatment or the cost of remedial treatment. If you are seeking compensation, you should consider pursuing a dental negligence claim.

The long answer:

If you have received poor treatment from an NHS or private dentist, there are a number of avenues available to make a complaint, including:

1. Informal Complaint – you may decide to raise your concerns on an informal basis with either the dentist who provided the treatment or the dental practice. This will involve either speaking to the dentist/practice over the telephone or setting out your concerns in writing.

2. Formal Complaint – if you are not satisfied with the response you receive to your informal complaint, you may decide to make a formal complaint by following the practice’s complaints procedure. Should you decide to raise a formal complaint this should be submitted no later than 1 year following the treatment in question.

3. Dental Complaints Service (DCS) – available for private patients only (not NHS patients), you should contact the DCS if you do not wish to go through the practice’s complaints procedure or if you are not satisfied with the response to your formal complaint. Complaints to the DCS should be made within 1 year of the treatment in question.

4. Ombudsman – available for NHS patients only (not private patients), if a formal complaint does not resolve the issue, you may wish to escalate this to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsmen (PHSO). The PHSO may be able to act as an independent referee where administrative or service failures have occurred.

5. General Dental Council (GDC) – all dentists must be registered with the GDC in order to practice within the UK. If the treatment and care you received was so serious that the dentist could present a risk to the safety of patients, the GDC will investigate your complaint and, if they deem it necessary, they may remove the dentist from the register or restrict what work they are permitted to carry out.

6. Care Quality Commission (CQC) – although the CQC does not deal with individual complaints, the feedback you provide on a particular dentist or practice may result in the CQC investigating the dental practice which may lead to recommendation being made which, in turn, may prevent others from experiencing similar issues in the future.

Taking legal action

You do not have to make a complaint or follow the options set out above in order to pursue a dental negligence claim. Alternatively, you may not be satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, and you may wish to explore the possibility of pursuing a dental negligence claim.

If you are looking for more than an apology or a refund and you wish to be compensated for the losses you have suffered, Aston Knight are ready to discuss your case and advise you on your options and the steps required to pursue a claim.

Aston Knight have the knowledge and experience required to advise you on claim prospects and present the evidence in a way that achieves the best possible outcome for you. The compensation you receive can fund the remedial treatment required to retore your dentition; giving you the aesthetically pleasing result you desire.

If you suspect you have received substandard dental treatment and you would like a free consultation to discuss your options, please call Aston Knight Solicitors today on 0161 399 1231 or click the ‘Contact’ button above to submit an online enquiry and one of our dedicated Solicitors will contact you to discuss your claim further.

Andrew Thompson (Senior Solicitor)

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