When you go see your dentist, chances are you don’t necessarily look at all the various posters and notices on the practice’s wall. But if you were to take a good look, one particular item you might see displayed will talk about the fact that the dental practice has undertaken what’s known as practice accreditation.
In short, that means that the staff at your practice have undergone a process to meet a strict set of standards that commit them to continuously improving the safety and quality of the care they deliver to patients like you.
It’s a big deal because unlike their public sector colleagues who must be accredited, private practices are not required to undergo the same procedure. If the dental practice you attend has accredited itself, that means they have, of their own volition and expense, voluntarily committed to continuously improve safety and quality for patients.
Not every dental practice is accredited, so if your dentist hasn't done it yet, there's no need to worry. All dental practices must comply with an enormous amount of legislative guidelines, standards and requirements even without accreditation.
However, because practice accreditation involves a continual assessment and improvement of practice procedures, the ADA encourages all of its members to have their practices accredited and a significant number already have.
In dentistry, practices must meet the first six of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. Once the practice has completed all the required documentation, they are assessed by an independent accreditation agency who awards the accreditation.
Next time you visit the dentist, keep an eye out for their accreditation certificate or posters about accreditation, and be sure to congratulate the staff on going through the process. It’s involved a huge amount of work for them, all in the name of improving your experience!
If your practice doesn’t have accreditation certificates and posters on display, all you need to do is ask them if they have undergone accreditation. You will find though that practices are proud of their accredited status and will make it obvious they have achieved it.