Dentists must maintain equipment, GDC warns

DENTISTS must make sure dental equipment is properly maintained in order to comply with the law.

The General Dental Council (GDC) has issued the reminder following complaints against some practitioners over a failure to maintain equipment or retain proper written evidence of maintenance and certification for use. The regulator is urging dentists to ensure their equipment has up-to-date certificates of inspection.

The GDC reported in the summer edition of GDC Gazette: “We’ve seen cases where compressor, autoclave and oxygen cylinder documentation isn’t up to date, and where X-ray tests and inspections aren’t taking place. Equally, non-clinical but required practice equipment such as fire extinguishers must be maintained. All members of the team who use equipment must be trained and competent to do so, and patients should not be allowed to operate equipment.”

The British Dental Trade Association (BDTA), which represents manufacturers and suppliers of products and services to the dental profession, backed the GDC’s advice.

A spokesman warned dentists: “As a professional highly skilled with your hands there may be a temptation for you to try to do your own servicing and maintenance, but there is a legal responsibility for you to use equipment that is fit for purpose and properly maintained.”

Executive director Tony Reed added: “It is important to use companies who can provide the right level of service to minimise surgery downtime, and who have the backing of manufacturers so they can obtain spare parts.”