Orthodontist, is it time for a formal complaint or am I overreacting?

(33 Posts)
AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 09:38:53

Name changed as this could identify me.

Dd1 is 15. She has had fixed braces for almost two years. Her regular orthodontist is lovely, no problems there.

To cut a long story short, she has been inappropriately touched (in my opinion) by one of the other members of staff. The first time he stroked her arm, I didn't know as she didn't tell me, the second time he held her hand, both while she was reclined in the chair. I made a complaint to the practice manager who assured me should would look in to it. She called me a week later to say she had spoken to him and he didn't feel he had done nothing wrong and was just reassuring her. I told them I was far from happy with this and I wanted assurances that he would not be in contact with dd again.

Fast forward to last week. She got her braces off and had to return a few days later to get her retainer fitted. I didn't see this man but when she came out the room she was crying. sad It turned out that he was the one who fitted it and he has been stroking her face. angry

I went straight down to see the practice manager and told her how angry we are. I have the address to make a formal complaint but that seems to be an inhouse address. I feel that I want to make it more official as this chap is clearly so arrogant that although he is aware that a complaint has been made before, he has still not got the message that touching teenage girls while they are in a vulnerable postion is just not on.

I'm sure I'm not overreacting, but give it to me straight. Am I?

Salmotrutta Sun 10-May-15 09:41:58

Where was the dental nurse when this was happening?

Unless I'm wrong there is supposed to be a dental nurse in attendance too to help the dentist/orthodontist?

VelvetRose Sun 10-May-15 09:42:52

That sounds very odd, especially the stroking of the face! I think anyone would be upset about that. I'd definitely make a complaint.

Lagoonablue Sun 10-May-15 09:43:21

Yes there should be a nurse there. There is probably some governing body to complain to. I am sure a dentist will be along to tell you soon.

bellbottomedtear Sun 10-May-15 09:44:25

Put it writing. Is it nhs? If so maybe try the nhs choices website and see what they say about complaints. Failing all that maybe report to the police

Husbanddoestheironing Sun 10-May-15 09:44:42

My feeling is that if she was distressed by it then it was inappropriate, and you need to take it further. Definitely in writing to the practice, and also somewhere further especially if you are unhappy with the response. I'm not sure where though, hopefully someone with that info will be along soon. its sounds horrible.

LIZS Sun 10-May-15 09:44:44

You didn't think to accompany her after the first time ?

TheMaw Sun 10-May-15 09:45:38

I would definitely complain, completely out of order.

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 09:47:13

Yes. Dental nurse was there all 3 times. Dd says that they are usually occupied when he does it.

The last time there were other patients in the room as well. (It has 3 chairs)

Is there some code of conduct when dealing with children? What I want to know is, can he explain this by saying he was comforting her?

Ladymoods Sun 10-May-15 09:47:54

Why didn't you go in with her? But yes, the dental nurse should have been present so I would ask the practice manager to speak to her and all the nurses who have assisted him to see if any of them feel that he sometimes acts inappropriately.

If you still aren't happy with the outcome then your local Primary Care Trust would be who you would contact next.

LIZS Sun 10-May-15 09:49:01

I would not have thought they should touch u16s except to treat. Can you at least ensure she sees someone else in future.

Kundry Sun 10-May-15 09:49:54

He needs to have a dental nurse there to protect both parties, himself and your daughter, and he is naive at best not to have done so after the original complaint.

When I was a teenager I had a breast exam (totally needed, I was there about a breast problem) from a surgeon I found v pervy and I was upset about him stroking my breasts. When I grew up and became a doctor I discovered he had actually been doing a normal breast exam and my anxiety had led me to misinterpret.

Given he is an orthodontist and likely will end up touching teenagers' faces as part of his work, and dealing with anxious patients when handholding might seem a good idea, a chaperone is sensible.

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 09:50:00

No Lizs I didn't, I had assurances from the practice that he wouldn't be anywhere near her again. I was also not aware that he was already in the room before she went in.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 10-May-15 09:52:45

You need to complain formally in writing to the the practice in the first instance. Ultimately, if matters are not resolved, you can complain to the General Dental Council but they will not accept any complaint until you have complained formally via the practice first

If your daughter is an NHS patient, you can also complain to the Local Authority Team who essentially commission the clinical services. They wont start a new complaints process but they will monitor the response from the practice

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 09:54:59

He wasn't just touching her face, he was stroking it. That is not needed at all. I had already made a verbal complaint about his actions.

Either, he remembered it was dd that made a complaint and he still touched her, or he is still touching teenage girls even though there have been complaints about him.

Can I just say again, if I had even an inkling he was in that room there is no way on earth she would have been allowed in.

dogscatsandbabies Sun 10-May-15 09:55:42

I had bucket loads of dental treatment when I was 7-15 following a traumatic facial injury. I used to get very upset as it hurt like frig and the dentist used to stroke my nose 'to calm me down'. It always felt a bit weird but then I hated the whole thing so didn't distinguish it as being inappropriate until I was much older.

Complain like mad- if you'd verbally reported you didn't want him involved in care he shouldn't have been anywhere near your DD. Hope she's ok.

Minniemagoo Sun 10-May-15 09:56:14

There are a few things here. Firstly the dental practise has failed in its duty of care to your daughter by allowing this man be back in contact with her after your complaint regardless of any of the rest of it. You need to readdress this with the practise manager.

As others have said a dental nurse should be present at all time with a minor and tbh after your previous experience I like others do not understand why you were not accompanying her.

If the dental nurse was present it will likely be difficult to prove inappropriate touching. The practise may follow up with tightening their guidelines but any further complaints would be unlikely to be followed up.

I can understand your daughter feeling uncomfortable with stroking and it is highly inappropriate but if the dental nurse was present it will likely be difficult to prove inappropriate touching. The practise may follow up with tightening their guidelines but any further complaints would be unlikely to be followed up.

Work with your daughter to speak up - if you are not attending with her teach her the skills to remove herself from the situation. When she saw who the dentist was teach her to say excuse me and leave or ask for you to be present.

I hope I don't come across dismissive but I know situations such as this whilst very distressing for your daughter become very much difficult to prove.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sun 10-May-15 09:58:49

I think you should complain. It was unnecessary touching and she didn't consent to it. Unacceptable that he continues to behave this way having been told it's unwelcome.

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 10:08:27

Before last week, she had 3 more appointments with her usual ortho, I did go in with her for the first one after the complaint was made. The usual room is very small and as he wasn't there, there wasn't a problem. Hence not going in with her again. Children are very rarely accompanied in this practice.

After the first complain, the manager spoke to the nurse but she didn't see anything. Dd said she had her back turned at the time.

It's very difficult to say something when your are only 15, in a vulnerable position with a mouth full of putty, and already terrified of this chap. Yes she should have said something but she didn't. She did cry though sad

Minniemagoo Sun 10-May-15 10:20:12

Assembletheminions, I totally get what you are saying. It is horrendous that your DD had to go through this. Unfortunately a formal complaint will illicit a number of questions, Why did you not ask which dentist would be present when signing in?, Did your daughter in anyway indicate her discomfort at the time (crying after could be construed as due to the work done), did she pull away her hand, say no?, indicate something was wrong to the dental nurse, did you say anything when leaving with an upset daughter?

Whilst I probably in your situation march down to the surgery and knee him in the unmentionables so he has something else to stroke I think your best course of action is again through the surgery manager.

Get in writing that this man will not see your daughter again, suggest he and they review their child protection policy regarding touching (you could request to see their safeguarding policies) or you could request a transfer to another clinic.

This should highlight to the dentist the inappropriateness of his actions but any complaints up the line, which of course you are very entitled to do, would imo be very distressing and unlikely to be successful unless there are numerous previous complaints.

Iamliftzilla Sun 10-May-15 10:29:52

I recently had uncomfortable dental work done and the dentist massaged my cheek as I was in pain. I didn't see it as inappropriate tbh. This thread has made me reevaluate but actually I think he was being nice and it was ok. Just sayin'

JADS Sun 10-May-15 10:31:27

A formal written complaint is the way to go here initially as Gobbling said . I would be particularly stressing that after your initial complaint, your child was booked with someone who made her feel uncomfortable. I assume you will need further appointments and I would be insisting you attend every one with her and checking she is not booked with this man.

However when you take moulds of teeth properly, a degree of face stroking is required. I thought he was just fitting a retainer so am a bit confused. I'm not victim blaming here and I think she is right to trust her instinct but what you are saying could be entirely normal or could be something creepy. It is difficult to say.

Where I work, if there was even a whiff of a child being uncomfortable with a dentist, we would be really careful not to book them with them again for both parties sakes. The practice procedure has failed here.

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 10:37:47

Thanks Minnie to answer some of the points, she signs herself in on a computer screen, it doesn't say anything about who she will see. We already had a reassurance that he would not be involved in her treatment so didn't consider the possibility of him treating her. She didn't say anything at time but as soon as she came back to the waiting room I could see she was crying and went straight down to see the manager.

I'm just concerned that as the verbal complaint made no difference to him at all, that a formal complaint to the practice will go the same way. I do feel that she is probably not the only one to be affected by this.

I'll ask to see there safeguarding policy and make a written complaint to the practice but hold off taking it further until I get a response. She is at the end of her treatment give or take 2 or 3 more appointments.

I do appreciate everyone's comments, thank you. Some really helpful advice thanks

AssembleTheMinions Sun 10-May-15 10:42:05

IAm we had already made a complaint about him before her stroked her face. He should not have touched her in the first place let alone try to be nice. (And as far as I'm concerned he wasn't trying to be nice)

Sorry to clarify, yes she was going to get both retainers fitted, one didn't fit so they took more impressions and she goes back this week to collect it.

differentnameforthis Sun 10-May-15 12:08:24

JADS, moulds are taken in order to compare with before treatment moulds, so the orthodontist can see the degree of improvement. Also, they act as a record of the final placement of teeth, in case the retainer is lost/teeth drift.

The important thing here isn't that op wasn't in the room, or that dd didn't call out/move hand/self, tell nurse, that some dentists rub face to help with pain/LA etc. The important thing is, is that she is very upset by the actions of this man!

I don't understand why people are questioning a child who is clearly upset & essentially victim blaming!

3 things

1] why was he allowed to see her again after assurances he wouldn't
2] why didn't he listen to concerns
3] why didn't HE ask mum to be present so she could see a] he was not intentionally inappropriately touching her daughter, b] to protect him & his reputation.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now