A NEW survey has shown 96 per cent of dental patients are satisfied with the care or treatment they receive.
The poll of 1,603 people across the UK found confidence in regulation was also high, although patients are less confident that poor treatment and care is dealt with effectively.
The research was commissioned by the General Dental Council (GDC) and carried out by independent company Ipsos MORI. Patients aged 15 and over were asked whether dental professionals were treating them in line with the GDC’s guidance Standards for the dental team.
More than three-quarters of patients (78 per cent) said their dentist gave them enough information about treatment options during their last visit. However, focus groups carried out as part of the research found some patients lacked a good understanding of dental treatments, making it difficult to judge quality.
Only 41 per cent of those surveyed said their practice displayed a simple price list and a third (34 per cent) had noticed information stating the dentist was regulated by the GDC.
A total of 86 per cent of people believe that dentists are professionally regulated, but 58 per cent had not heard of the GDC before carrying out the survey. Two thirds believe that regulation of dental professionals is very important and nearly eight out of 10 (77 per cent) are confident that the GDC regulates dental professionals effectively.
Respondents were less sure that appropriate action would be taken by a regulator to tackle poor care or serious wrongdoing. Thirty-nine per cent said they were not confident appropriate action would be taken in cases where patients were overcharged for dental treatment, where poor care was given to care home resident (40 per cent) or disabled patients (38 per cent).
The GDC’s Director of Policy and Communications Tim Whitaker said the regulator would take into account the research findings.
“We take very seriously the concerns of patients who feel that appropriate action will not be taken when things go wrong,” he said.
“The GDC takes all complaints of poor standards very seriously and has robust procedures in place to deal with any dental professional who is not putting patients' interests first."