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Mentoring in Implant Dentistry - Professional Indemnity

One of the recurring themes of the growing number of cases involving implant dentistry, is that of dentists getting into some kind of difficulty, and not having the skills or experience to recover the situation. Sometimes the dentists concerned do not recognise the difficulty they are in until it is too late.

Having access to experienced colleagues can help us to avoid problems, and can also help us to deal with unexpected complications and difficult situations when they do arise.

Becoming competent in implant dentistry will take time, effort and commitment and involve a lot of study. If it doesn’t, it invites the question of whether the course is too superficial.  In an ideal world, implant training should involve formal, structured training provided by acknowledged experts in the field, over an extended period of time (such as one to two years), and a period of mentoring (i.e. the ability to practise implant dentistry under both direct and indirect supervision, where help is readily at hand if you should need it). Dental Protection has published a Position Statement on dento-legal aspects of Mentoring arrangements, which is downloadable from

In Dental Protection’s experience, Dental Councils in many parts of the world are becoming increasingly concerned when dentists undertake procedures for which they are not properly trained and competent, and this will often be regarded as an ethical issue and a matter of professional misconduct.

Kevin Lewis, Dental Director MPS

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) of which around a third of UK dentists are members, is the specialist dental division of the Medical Defence Union, the UK's largest medical defence organisation. A mutual, owned by its members, the DDU defends the professional reputations of members when their clinical performance or conduct is called into question. Our benefits of membership include insurance for claims of clinical negligence and a wide range of dento-legal advisory services, such as help with GDC disciplinary investigations and responding to patient complaints.

Another important part of the DDU's service is to provide members with general risk management guidance and with personal advice on specific dento-legal dilemmas through our 24-hour advisory helpline, helping them avoid risks and adverse incidents that may lead to a complaint or a claim. We believe mentoring schemes provide valuable help for dentists embarking upon implant treatment, enabling them to develop their professional skills through the support and guidance of an experienced colleague.

We would like to acknowledge the advice and the support of Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, Head of the DDU in the launch of its Register of Mentors.