Unregistered dentists are a problem for everyone. For patients, it means that they might find themselves being treated by someone who is not appropriately qualified. For dentists, it means potentially seeing patients lose out while their practice gets emptier.
In order to deal with the problem, the General Dental Council (GDC), the UK’s regulator of dental professionals, has released a statement encouraging patients to check to see if their dentists are registered.
As part of a push towards tackling the problem of unregistered dentists, the GDC has introduced a feature on its website to allow patients to look up their dental professionals to check if they have been registered or not.
Patients can enter the name of the dental professional, the town or postcode in which they are registered or their registration number to confirm whether or not that professional is registered with the GDC.
The law in the UK is that all dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians, dental hygienists, dental therapists and orthodontic therapists must be registered with the GDC. If they are not, they are not eligible to work in the country.
The GDC hopes that patients will be able to recognise an unregistered dentist, and hopes to raise awareness of the problem. One way it is doing this is by introducing a logo that dental professionals can use on their promotional leaflets.
According to a statement from the GDC: “The logo highlights the requirement for dental professionals to be registered with the GDC and also that there are standards that they must meet throughout their career in order to maintain their registration.”
The GDC’s standards for dental professionals require all of those working in oral healthcare to display the registration status and numbers of themselves and their team in an area where the information can be seen by their patients.
The GDC’s suggestion of leaflets would be one way of achieving this, while at the same time making patients aware of the fact that some dentists may be unregistered.