Commenting on other dentists' work

Generally, dentists will treat a patient who has had work carried out by another practitioner at some point in their career. During this time, you may have an opinion regarding the standard of work undertaken or the outcomes of treatment provided.

It is important that you remain professional at all times, no matter what your opinion is. Unprofessional comments or uninformed opinions can also reflect poorly on you as a practitioner and the dental profession as a whole.

If you find yourself in this position, here’s some tips to help you maintain your professionalism:

  1. Avoid making ‘off the cuff’ comments or judging others work. Even the smallest comment could lead to a complaint about the other dentist or a request for compensation.
  2. If the treatment provided does not appear to have reached the desired outcome, do not assume that the other dentist is at fault.
  3. If you have concerns about the treatment provided, it is good practice to request permission from the patient to you speak to the other dentist involved.
  4. When sending patients back to the referring practitioner, don’t rely on the patient to communicate any clinical information. Always provide written documentation outlining the full diagnosis and treatment provided.
  5. Always ensure your clinical records are maintained. If your work is questioned by a patient, another dentist or AHPRA, clinical records will act as evidence to support your decisions.
  6. Further treatment can be very expensive. Always be very clear and upfront about the costs involved.
  7. Avoid offering free or discounted treatments. This may imply that the initial treatment was ineffective or performed poorly.

For more information, contact your local ADA branch or call 1800 810 213.


Guild Insurance Limited ABN 55 004 538 863, AFS Licence No. 233791. This article contains information of a general nature only, and is not intended to constitute the provision of legal advice. 


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