Cigna Healthcare has designed a dental quality assurance programme to meet the standards of the British Dental Association and the General Dental Council.

The new Quality Dental Practice Programme, which was launched on Tuesday, is a three-part quality assurance process that Cigna said would insure that its network of dental practices meets professionally recognised standards.

The programme will include an on-site practice assessment, a check of the dentists' credentials and a Clinical Care Review conducted by an independent third party to ensure patients receive appropriate care.

Cigna chief dental advisor Dr Keith Marshall said: “By introducing a quality assurance programme based on partnership with dentists, we believe we can help every practice in the Cigna network to aspire to, and achieve, the highest standards. This will contribute to patient confidence and help dentists develop their practice.”

Cigna spokeswoman Sharon Lyons said dental work was one of the most important elements of Cigna's business.