The General Dental Council (GDC)
The GDC is a statutory body set up under the Dentists Act 1956 (as amended) in order to regulate the practice of dentistry in the UK.
It is important for you to note that the GDC cannot help you to bring a dental negligence claim, this is my job.
The GDC register all qualified dentists who wish to practice and provide them with a licence to do so.
The GDC was set up for the following reasons:
To promote good practice;
To keep an up to date register of dentists;
To promote high standards of dental education and issue guidance upon good practice;
And to take action if there are any doubts about whether a dentist should stay on the register.
The GDC deal mainly with complaints where a dentist has allegedly committed serious professional misconduct. Further information on the GDC website can be found here.
Before starting a dental negligence claim, it is a good idea to approach the dentist in question to see if a suitable remedy can be achieved without resorting to dental litigation.
All dental practices should have an in house complaints procedure. If you have a problem with your dental treatment, this should be your first port of call. I would advise that if a favourable response is not gained from an initial discussion with your dentist, put your complaint in writing, this makes it harder to ignore, and also gives a recorded paper trail that the GDC enquiry can follow if need be.
If you think that your dentist has behaved in a way which calls into question whether he or she should be allowed to practice then you should make a formal written complaint to the GDC. It is a good idea to put your dental complaint in writing, which includes e-mail.
Once the GDC has received your dental complaint, they will make initial enquiries via their professional standards officers to decide whether a dentist’s conduct should be investigated further. If investigated further, the matter is then referred to a preliminary screener who is a member of the GDC. The screener will then decide whether to pass the matter on to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC).
The PPC then considers the complaint and obtains the dentist's version of events. If there are grounds for misconduct then the matter is referred to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) for a full public enquiry. It is at this stage that the PCC can suspend the dentist’s registration until fully investigated. If the PCC do not wish to take the matter further, they can warn the dentist, and this is usually done in writing.