Making a complaint about a dental professional

If you're unsatisfied with the treatment, behaviour or service you have received from a registered dental professional, you can raise a concern or make a complaint. There are different ways of doing this, depending on the circumstances.

At the practice

​In most cases, the best way to get a resolution to your complaint is raising it directly with the place where you were treated, for example if you want an explanation or an apology.

Every practice (or other location where you had your dental treatment) must have a procedure for handling patient complaints, and must follow it. If you want to make a complaint to the practice you can ask for a copy of the procedure which will explain what you need to do.

There are patient support organisations that can help you to raise a complaint with a healthcare provider or help you if you are not happy with their response to your complaint.

If you had NHS dental treatment (including NHS treatment that you paid for)

If you would rather not go directly to the practice, you can contact the NHS instead. The NHS is responsible for commissioning (buying) NHS dental services.

If you are not happy with the way in which your formal complaint was handled (either by the dental practice or the NHS) you can contact the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman makes the final decision on complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS.

If you had private dental treatment

If you have already made a formal approach to the practice, and the problem has not been resolved, you can contact the Dental Complaints Service (DCS). The DCS provides a free and impartial service to help private dental patients and dental professionals to settle complaints about private dental care fairly and efficiently.

If your private treatment was through a dental plan, you should contact your plan provider as they will have a complaints process.

If you have safety concerns about a dentist

If the problem is so serious that you think the dental professional could be a risk to other patients then you should let us know. If the issue is serious enough, we can stop individuals from practising.

What can the GDC help with?

Please take a moment to read this section. It will help make sure that you are complaining to the right organisation.

We cannot:

  • Give you a detailed explanation of what happened to you -  this can only come from the dental practitioner or the dental organisation;

  • Make a dentist give you the treatment you want;

  • Help you with a claim for compensation;

  • Find a dentist;

  • Make a dentist give you access to your dental records;

  • Make a dentist apologise to you;

  • Make a dentist reinstate or add you to their practice's list of patients;

  • Make a dentist change their fees for private treatment;

  • Make changes to your dental records;

  • Investigate general concerns about how a dental practice is run;

  • Change the outcome of a local investigation into your complaint;

  • Look into complaints about healthcare professionals who are not dentists or dental care professionals; or

  • Take action against a dentist if there is no risk to patient safety, or to public confidence in dentists

When can the GDC take action?

If we identify serious concerns about a dentist we can, where appropriate, take action on their registration.

These are examples of the types of issues we may need to investigate:

  • Serious or repeated mistakes in patient care;

  • Failure to respond reasonably to a patient's needs, including referring for further investigations where necessary;

  • Violence, sexual assault or indecency;

  • Fraud;

  • Any serious criminal offence;

  • Discrimination against patients, colleagues and others;

  • Serious breaches of a patient's confidentiality; and

  • Serious concerns about knowledge of the English language

​You can make a complaint about a dental professional by contacting us.

If you have safety concerns about a dental practice

If the problem is so serious that you think the care provided at the practice could be a risk to other patients, there are four regulators which set standards for dental providers and can consider whether these are being met.

You can find more information about the different organisations that can help in our Who can help section.​​

Contact GDC

+44 (0) 20 7167 6000

37 Wimpole Street

London W1G 8DQ


Secure area for dental professionals