Safeguarding in the Dental Sector

Safeguarding in the Dental Sector

There have been reports recently in the media of some high profile and shocking cases regarding safeguarding. In the majority of these cases the media have identified the many opportunities that health care professionals have failed to identify and report signs of neglect and abuse.

I am often asked what dentistry has to do with safeguarding and my response is that we are in the perfect position to identify any signs of neglect and abuse, we tend to see our patients three or four times a year, often from a young age into adulthood, we have access to the mouth where possible signs of abuse or neglect can be spotted. We have a professional relationship with carers and family members, and we can identify if there is a change in behaviour, physical condition and oral health. It may be the case that a disclosure is made or we hear something that gives us cause for concern.

What exactly is our responsibility?

According to the CQC, when they come to inspect your practice or organisation in regards to safeguarding there is one key question they will require evidence of:

Are services safe? Standard 3: what systems and processes are in place to keep people safe and safeguard them from abuse?

You and your team will need to demonstrate an understanding of the risks and types of abuse of an adult or child. let’s discuss this first.

The CQC will want to look at your training records to ascertain who has had training, when they had training and at what level of safeguarding training staff have received.

The CQC state that the minimum training requirements are:

  • Level 1: for all non-clinical staff (e.g. receptionists and practice managers)
  • Level 2: for all dentists and dental care professionals
  • Level 3: for paediatric dentists and paediatric orthodontists (i.e. those who could potentially contribute to assessing, planning, intervening and evaluating the needs of a child or young person and parenting capacity where there are safeguarding / child protection concerns). Level 3 training is not normally required for dentists and dental care professionals working in general dental practice. Level 3 is also typically undertaken by the person in the practice who is responsible for recording information about any safeguarding incidents.
Training content should be refreshed every 3 years and non-clinical and DCP’s should renew their certification annually.
  • Level 1 refresher can be undertaken online and a minimum of 2 hours
  • Level 2 refresher can be undertaken online and a minimum of 3 hours

All staff will be expected to identify the different types of abuse and name who the safe guarding lead is in your organisation.

Types of abuse:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Neglect
  • Modern slavery
  • Human trafficking
  • Mental capacity and Deprivation of liberty
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Discriminatory
  • Financial
  • Cyber bullying

We understand that we have a duty of care to protect our patients, visitors and staff. And we understand that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect children and vulnerable adults, however the dental profession can often feel that they lack the confidence and the ability to deal with this tricky, awkward legislation. It has not been within our professional remit to tackle these difficult conversations in the past and many dental health care professionals are struggling to tackle this subject.

What is out there to help us?

 Within The Care Act 2014 there are six safeguarding principles designed to give us guidance in fulfilling our responsibilities as dental health care professionals.

These principles are:

  1. Empowerment: people being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and give informed consent
  2. Prevention: it is better to take action before harm occurs
  3. Proportionality: the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  4. Protection: support and representation for those in greatest need
  5. Partnership: local solutions through services working with their communities – communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
  6. Accountability: accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice

 Using these principles, we can break down what the priorities are for us within our practices/organisations. The first of these would be

  1. Identifying the harm, for example is it physical, neglect or deprivation of liberty?
  2. Reporting the neglect, informing the safeguarding lead in your practice, the GP of your concerns, if the danger is immediate, the police, if a child is in potential danger social services.
  3. Supporting the person who has disclosed the abuse, informing them of your intention to report it.
  4. Monitoring patient wellbeing, for example a regular patient does not attend, this is out of character, ringing the patient to ensure all is well, don’t forget this could be a deterioration in their mental or physical wellbeing.
  5. Recording all concerns, whether disclosed or not. Keep accurate contemporaneous records of conversations between you and the discloser, what did they say? how did you respond? What action did you take? Who did you inform? What was the outcome?

As a dental professional, you are likely to notice injuries to the head, eyes, ears, neck, face, mouth and teeth, as well as other welfare concerns.

Finally, it is important to understand the assessment of physical injury, there are typical features of non-accidental injury that dental care professionals are best placed to identify. As upsetting as this can be, we have to assess these injuries and evaluate the risk to that child.

The Triangle of Safety is a really great resource in identifying the areas where accidental injury is unusual, the areas included are:

Ears, side of the face, neck and the top of the shoulders. Soft tissues of the cheek, could be an indication of a slap across the face. Intra oral injuries, these are areas that we have access and visibility to monitor.

What should be recorded?

Where the injury is sited, any patterns, e.g. bite mark

Ask the question, how did this injury occur? Ask the child directly. Does the injury match the explanation?

How is the interaction between the parent/ carer and the child, has the behaviour changed? Is the child anxious, visibly afraid of the parent/carer?

In conclusion, as difficult as it is, we cannot argue that dental healthcare professionals are and will remain in an invaluable position to safeguard. If ever you doubt your ability or your suspicions you do not need to manage this on your own, The Department of Health poster, ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused: a flow chart for referral’ is a helpful resource.

And finally remember Victoria Climbié, Baby Peter, just a couple of the many cases where a child was not safeguarded by any healthcare professional they came into contact with.

Remember record everything!

Tempdent deliver Safeguarding CPD both face to face and online.  To book on to our next Safeguarding CPD sessions running on 22nd May click here

If you would like an in-house CPD course in the comfort of your own practice contact Jess Fasina on 0208 371 7232 or email

Looking for a course?

Train with us online, face to face or in your practice. Tempdent offer a full range of courses for the entire dental team.

Looking for a job?

We have the right job for you! Search our extensive database which contains all positions within the dental team.

  • Lorraine, I would like to thank you for the exemplary work under taken by your staff. From the point of contact, Trish showed me compassion and understanding. The support shown to me was truly amazing. It was Tempdent that placed me at Carnaby street nearly 20 yrs ago!
    Gloria Balfourth - Carnaby Street Dental Practice
  • Dr Rhaman was very impressed with the service you provided to him, the turnaround was amazing at such short notice. Due to this Woodside Dental will now use Tempdent going forward
    Woodside Dental Practice
  • I have been working with Tempdent for over a year and I'm very happy . I have never been out of work , they are make sure that work is local so i don't travel far. Everyone at Tempdent is friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Tempdent.
    Dorota C - Tempdent Temp
  • I have been a temp for the last few years and have been very happy with the work I get. I get great satisfaction going to different practices and having feedback from the staff at Tempdent – they make me feel part of a team. If I have problems they are always there to help too.
    Lisa T - Tempdent Temp
  • You have all been very supportive of me and wonderful to work with! My thanks to you and the team for all your help and support!
    Cheryl L - Tempdent Temp
  • I am so pleased with the level of communication and support I am getting from you and the agency.
    Anna V - Tempdent Temp
  • I feel I am progressing well on this course and all my work is up to date. My relationship with my assessor is good, can contact Joanne at anytime and always gets back to me, always helps me with my work and gives me useful feedback on my work.
    Leanne P - Tempdent Student
  • I am enjoying the course, and I feel that I making really good progress. My assessor is really supportive and always helps as quickly as she can.
    Emma B - Tempdent Student
  • In the last 15 months I wouldn’t have got this far without Lisa pushing me and believing in me, Lisa has guided me all the way and supported me fully and pushed me when I needed it.
    Holly F - Tempdent Student
  • Minal's approach to teaching is, in my opinion, exceptional of the highest standards, her technique makes learning fun as well as interesting and it was always a pleasure to attend her classes.
    Lilian S - Tempdent Student
  • Great news today that I passed both my English and maths exams. I would like to thank Heather, as the revision session held before the exam really helped! Heather you are an amazing person and I would not have got through any of this without you! The support from you has been unreal! Thank you soooooo much xxxx
    Emma P - Tempdent Student
  • Been doing my national Diploma with this company and recently had to re-take a maths exam on Wednesday. Had a lady there called Heather who is truly amazing, she helped me feel a lot less nervous and her revision session was the best I have ever had. Thank you so much...!
    Becky J - Tempdent Student
  • I am currently on a course with tempdent! they have really helpful staff, especially my portfolio assessor Heather Cooper!!! Heather is brilliant and has helped and supported me throughout the course! She also has a great sense of humour which also helped :)
    Shauny B - Tempdent Student
  • Since the day I started the course, Katherine has been extremely helpful and approachable. She has made the course an extremely fun and interesting experience for me.
    Eleanor D - Tempdent Student
  • My assessor is amazing, she has helped me through a lot and I wouldn't have been able to do this course without her. Thank you so much Heather Cooper, you are my rock!
    Gemma H - Tempdent Student
  • My journey this past year has been but by far one of the best. Thank you to my assessor Lyn Evans and to the Tempdent team to help to organise the Webinars and Workshops to help us complete our qualification
    Samantha H - Tempdent Student
  • Thankyou so much for all your help, you are an excellent tutor! I must say my experience with Tempdent has been brilliant especially in comparison to my previous dental nurse training..looking forward to finally receiving my certificate
    Shannon Reilly - Student
  • Tempdent provided me with the most amazing help and support during my training. My assessor, Lynn really helped me through my course, she was very easy to approach. She had some brilliant tips and hits when it came to revising for my exams and I managed to qualify in just over a year which I do not think I could have done without such a great tutor. When I was really stuck on a project Lynn would make an arrangement for a support call where she broke down the project in a way I could understand what I had to do
    Shannon Feguson - Student
  • I have just finished my course with Tempdent and they were brilliant! Especially my assessor Anita, she always contacted me to make sure I was happy and on target, and was overall a brilliant support!
    Rochelle C - Tempdent Student

About Us

Tempdent Recruitment & Training has been established since 1996 and continues to be one of the UK’s leading and successful dental recruitment agency and training provider.

Ofsted Good Rating   Ofsted Good Rating Ofsted Good Rating Cyber Essentials certified

Latest Tweets

Follow @tempdent

Get in Touch

4 Cadbury Close
Northway House
1379, High Road
London N20 9BD

Tel: 020 8371 6700
Fax: 020 8371 8300


Privacy | Complaints | Refunds | Sitemap | © Copyright 2024 Tempdent Ltd
Netrix Ltd