Dental Complaints Service Review 2020 reveal that it referred 36 cases to the GDC’s, of which 24 cases related to just three dental professionals.
The DCS report said, in 2020, it received a total of 3,159 queries and complaints most of these related to treatment involving remote orthodontics which are advertised using online platforms.
Fitness to practise referrals
This reduction is a result of our work to clearly delineate FtP and DCS cases through our review in 2017/18. There were 36 FtP referrals made in 2020,1% of total enquiries received in 2020 (3,159). Of these, 34 were investigated, and two cases were closed. Three dental professionals accounted for 24 of the 36 cases.
The DCS report said where dental professionals have chosen not to engage with the DCS, this has resulted in a referral to the GDC. This has led to simple complaints becoming fitness to practise issues, and we advise all professionals to engage with us when we are trying to resolve a complaint.
Part of our process in relation to complaints about remote orthodontics is to check that the structure of the organisation is compliant with the Dentists Act 1984. As part of this, we check that an appropriate number of directors within a business are registered dental professionals. Where this is not the case, the DCS will refer the matter to the GDC’s Illegal Practice team.
This week the GDC issued a statement on the “much-criticised” direct-to-consumer orthodontics industry. The GDC said direct-to-consumer (DTC) orthodontic services fall within the scope of the Dentists Act 1984 and can only be performed by dentists and dental care professionals who are registered with the GDC saying:
“Clinical judgements about the suitability of a proposed course of orthodontic treatment must be based on a full assessment of the patient’s oral health.
“At present, there is no effective substitute for a physical, clinical examination as the foundation for that assessment.”