Making a complaint
Although rare, there are times when a patient will incur problems at some stage in their treatment with a dental care provider. Although Dental Council is not in a legal position to directly resolve these issues, we will endeavour to provide patients with the most accurate information and advice on what steps they should take to resolve the problem they are having.
All registrants owe their patients an ethical, professional, and moral duty of care. When a dentist agrees to treat you, they have an ethical obligation to try to ensure the treatment is completed to a safe and satisfactory standard.
The Dental Council’s powers regarding fitness to practice and complaints are intended to consider serious issues. The Dental Council has no statutory power to compel a dentist to redo work, refer a patient to another practitioner, release patient records, or deal with refunds or any matters concerning fees paid.
When a problem arises, it is best resolved in the practice and you should discuss the issue with your treating dentist. Often patients will be able to resolve their problems in this way. In our experience most dentists will want to work with their patients in order to resolve any problems and maintain a positive professional relationship.
All dental practices are obliged to have a complaints procedure, and if after talking to your treating dentist you are still unhappy then you should make a complaint to the practice in accordance with their procedure.
The following is a list of options that Dental Council suggests that a patient could consider if the matter hasn’t been resolved at a practice level.
Dental Complaints Resolution Service
This is a mediation service that may be able to assist if you have been unable to resolve your problem with the dental practice. The service aims to mediate an agreed solution between you and your dentist and it is voluntary on both sides. You should note that to access this service, you will first have exhausted the complaints process with your practice.
Consumer and Competition Protection Commission
Any patient of a dental care provider is also a consumer and so falls under the protection of the CCPC. The commissions website provides information on your rights as a consumer including information on your entitlements to refunds.
A solicitor can advise you if you feel you have been subject to medical negligence or where you feel there has been a breach of your statutory or contractual rights. You may have to consider consulting a solicitor if you have been unable to resolve your problem by any other means.
This government service provides comprehensive information on citizens’ rights including healthcare entitlements and consumer matters.
Health Service Executive
For information concerning your entitlement to treatment under the medical card scheme and for access to the State’s orthodontic services. The office of your local principal dental surgeon will advise you on this and you can get their contact information from your local health clinic.
Health Products Regulatory Authority
The Health Products Regulatory Authority regulate medicines and medical devices for the benefit of people and animals. The authority regulates the laboratories that manufacture dental devices such as dentures and cosmetic products such as bleaching kits.
You are welcome to contact the Dental Council if a problem occurs in during your treatment and if we can, we will advise you on your next steps. If you contact the council we will arrange a convenient time to discuss the matter with you.