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How to recognise potential negligence in dental care

We all know that dentists have an obligation to patients. 

The roles and responsibilities of a dentist should abide by your dental patient’s rights. If these aren’t met, you could be entitled to a dental negligence claim.

Knowing exactly if your rights as a patient have been violated isn’t necessarily the easiest task, which is why we’ve put together this guide to help you. 

We’ll explore how to recognise potential negligence in dental care so you can advocate for yourself in these situations. 

If you do feel like you could be entitled to a dental negligence claim, get in touch with our team of specialists. They’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action. 

But first, let’s discover your rights as a dental patient!


The roles and responsibilities of a dentist

According to the government, dentists have an obligation to their patients. 


Any healthcare business has a responsibility to know their patient, whether that be:


  • Their specific medical history 
  • Their treatment plans, focussing on the patient’s wants and abilities
  • Their dental care needs


Of course, all healthcare providers, including dentists and dental nurses, have to treat each patient with dignity and respect. 


If you aren’t or find the roles and responsibilities of your dental team are less than satisfactory, you could be entitled to dental negligence. 


There are various types of dental-related negligence, such as:



To know which form of negligence you are entitled to, you need to understand your dental patient rights. 

A checklist of your dental patient rights

No matter their gender, ethnicity, spirituality, or disability, each and every dental patient has rights. 

Rights to information and consent

  • Be comprehensively informed of any oral health diagnoses, conditions, and treatment options so that you can give consent with a thorough understanding
  • Ask dentists questions and get clarity regarding any treatments, services, or care being received. This also includes understanding the consequences of any treatment refusal
  • Refuse any services or treatments recommended – even if in the middle of a service. However, this could be ignored in an emergency situation
  • Ask their dentist about the costs of treatments or services

Rights to privacy and confidentiality 

  • Confidence that dental records are confidential and only accessed by people who need to see them
  • Privacy during their appointment
  • The right to express their concerns about the confidentiality of any personal records
  • Request information regarding any disclosures of health information per regulations and laws

Rights to respect and safety

  • Right to equal care and services
  • Be treated with sensitivity, respect, and courtesy
  • Receive dental services in a safe space
  • Have a friend or family member of their choice with them 


It’s important to note that this list isn’t exhaustive. 


If you feel like your rights as a dental patient have been breached, please feel free to reach out to our expert team to speak through your concerns. 

What to do if you think your dentist’s obligation to patients has been violated

According to CQC (Care Quality Commission), there are five things a patient can expect from their dental practice


These include:


  1. Safety
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Caring staff
  4. Well-led
  5. Responsive to patient’s needs


If you feel like your dentist does not adhere to these expectations, you may find yourself feeling helpless. 


But there are a few options as to how to feel better about your situation.  

Second opinion

We understand that this could be slightly awkward – especially if it is a dental practice your family has been going to for years or you’ve built a great rapport with your dentist. 


However, if you believe that any recommended treatments or services aren’t necessary, there’s no harm in getting a second opinion. 


It is a dentist’s obligation to patients to be completely honest about any possible services, but it’s no secret that some healthcare professionals don’t always behave in this manner.  


If you do decide you’d like a second opinion, all you need to do is tell your current dentist you would like to think about these potential treatments, find a new dentist, and see what they recommend. 

How getting a second opinion helped one of our clients receive £17,500!

For more than 10 years, Mrs B had been visiting Dr C’s dental surgery. 


She went for a routine appointment and mentioned she’d experienced some pain, swelling, and gum recession. Dr C insisted everything was fine, but Mrs B decided to get a second opinion. 


And it’s a good job she did. 


The other dentist discovered she’d been suffering from gum disease for more than 10 years!


Mrs B was informed she’d need two teeth removed and replaced, periodontal treatment, and a scale polish every three months. 


With the help of the Dental Law Partnership, Mrs B was awarded £17,500 for her dental negligence. 

Access to your medical records

As part of their dental rights, each patient has access to their dental records. 


If you believe your dentist isn’t telling the complete truth about your dental health, access to your records can help you discover the full story. 


Not only do patients have access to the records, but they can also challenge the validity of what is within them and have any errors corrected to ensure the factuality of the information. 

Seek help or advice

We understand that if you do find your medical records don’t paint the full picture or your second opinion finds fewer issues than your dentist said, you may start to feel helpless. 


Therefore, seeking advice from someone in the know could ease some of those anxieties knowing you have experts on your side. 


Since August 2000, our team has helped thousands of people understand their dental patient rights and get the justice they deserve. 


Will you be next?

Ready to get justice for your dental negligence? Our team is here to help

Hopefully, this guide has informed you of your dental patient rights and a dentist’s obligation to their patients. 


By knowing this, you will be more well-informed on the roles and responsibilities of your dentist to better understand if you aren’t being treated as you’re supposed to be. 


If you are still trying to decide if you are eligible for dental negligence, our team can help. 


Since our formation in 2000, we’ve assisted thousands of clients with their negligence claims. Our expert team is comprised of dentists and solicitors who have the skills required to guide you through the entire process. 


Our range of client testimonials will show you how we’ve already helped thousands of people receive justice and how we could help you. 


The best bit? We work on a purely conditional basis, so if your case isn’t successful for whatever reason, you won’t have to pay! 


The injury claim time limit is just three years, so it’s important to reach out to our team sooner rather than later. 

If you’re ready to start the process or simply want to find out more, fill in our contact form and we’ll call you back as soon as possible.