The role of human factors in dentistry

News Published: 
25 August 2020


The National Advisory Board for Human Factors in Dentistry has published a report to raise awareness of human factors, and the reporting of mishaps due to human factors, within the dental environment.

In a blog for the Faculty website, Mick Horton FFGDP(UK), Immediate Past Dean and the Faculty's representative on the human factors board, writes:

“Every informed decision we make, the precision with which we carry out our work, and the hours of training we put in, can all be upset when human factors come in to play. When we are tired or distracted or become complacent about procedures, mishaps will occur. As a profession we must attempt to take control of our environments to show external bodies that there are mitigations to the risks posed, and as such less need for external scrutiny. Human factors are recognised throughout all areas of industry as playing a major part in mishaps, but as a profession we are often reticent to share these mishaps for a number of reasons. If we could more fully understand why these mishaps occur and inform our colleagues, then we will better understand what we need to do to mitigate against these. The document describes many of the themes around human factors and how they can apply in dentistry, and I would urge readers to reference it.”

The Human Factors and Patient Safety in Dentistry report is available at


The full blog is available at


A Human Factors in Dentistry podcast series is available at