AIM: This study investigates the nature, frequency, and
outcome of complaints relating to misconduct laid against oral
healthcare professionals (OHPs), charged with misconduct in
METHODS: Records of the Health Professions Council of South
Africa (2004-2009) were analysed and classified using the ethical
rules as a reference. “Clinically-related complaints” and “fraud”
were added as extra categories. The nature and outcome of the
complaints and the penalties were quantified, and the detailed
nature of the complaints was qualitatively reported.
RESULTS: Two percent of the registered dentists and 5.5% of the
registered dental therapists were charged with misconduct.
Clinically related complaints (59%) and fraud (29%) were most
prevalent amongst the accused dentists. Fraud (46%), clinically
related complaints (19%), advertising (15%), infection control
(8%), and creating expectations that could not be met (8%) were
the most common complaints against dental therapists.
CONCLUSIONS: Substandard dental treatment and fraud were the
main reasons for patient dissatisfaction that led to OHPs being
charged with misconduct. Both these undesirable practices
may be financially motivated. OHPs should take cognisance of
these statistics and should adjust their professional approach
accordingly in order to reflect acceptable ethical behaviour