Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Between the Lines: a Blog Series

Monday, May 16, 2016

Do You Trust Your Dentist? Their Legal Obligation.

At some point in your life you may find yourself searching for a Dentist. Up until recently my main concern about choosing a dentist was how nice they were. Are they going to treat me with respect, patience and kindness.

And if you were to ask me, do you trust your Dentist my immediate response would be of course. Why wouldn't I. He is a professional and I trust him completely.

Now I have to ask myself why do I trust him. Is it because he has a diploma hanging on his wall? Because he looks trust worthy? Maybe even eye candy?

Seriously though, I think it's because we as a society automatically trust professionals like dentists, doctors, teachers, mechanics. Okay maybe not mechanics. They have to earn our trust.

Why is that? Dentists are human just like the rest of us and dare I say it - they can be flawed. This never occurred to me.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?

negligent dentists

But I also know Dentists have a legal obligation to avoid acts or omissions (which can be reasonably foreseen) to likely cause harm to others. 

This Duty of Care is a standard in the law of negligence for a person or organization to act the way a responsible person should act in a given set of circumstances, and a deviation from this could result in negligence.

Even with a legal obligation looming over his head a Dentist could be tempted. Tempted how? I'll tell you a little story. Promise to keep it brief.

My little brother (he's in his forties now) decided to go to a Dentist whose office was fairly close to the apartment where my brother lives.

The first appointment went smoothly. My brother found the Dentist to be personable and professional.

My brother hadn't been to a Dentist for some time so he assumed there would be some work required on his teeth. 

Oh boy did he ever need some work. He had his teeth cleaned and polished, several fillings and a couple of teeth pulled. 

Then the office called my brother to schedule more appointments to finish the work needed. 

Thank goodness by this time my brother was advised by several people to go to a different Dentist.

Surprise, surprise. Victor's teeth were in good condition and did not require any further work at all.

Was Victor's previous Dentist filling perfectly healthy teeth? Did Victor really need to have two teeth pulled? Scary thought isn't it?

Hearing my brother's experience I believe the dentist saw the word sucker and dollar signs tattooed on Victor's forehead.

So now I ask you, do you trust your Dentist?

Maybe your Dentist doesn't go to the extreme that Victor's dentist did but could there be the occasional extra work? Maybe unprofessional conduct or incompetent conduct?


Now let's throw in some stats to really get us scared. A top-ten dental malpractice insurance company shared these malpractice stats on The Dental Advocate site.

#1 –1.6% of dentists will face a civil malpractice case in any one year.  With approximately 125,000 dentist in active practice, that means about 2,000 of you will be on speed dial with an attorney.  
#2 – The average payout per dental malpractice claim exceeds $81,000.
#3 – According one review of 242 case by Crystal Baxter, DMD, the top negligence categories are:
-26% Extractions (paresthesia; failure to timely refer)
-17% Endodontics (broken instruments; nerve & sinus perforations)
-10% Implants (improper evaluations leading to failure)
-10% Crown & bridge (most cases involve multiple units)
-8% Periodontics (failure to diagnose; over-treatment)
-8% Orthodontics (root resorption)
-5% Anesthesia (fatalities)
-4% Infections (hospitalizations; most were smokers)
-4% Injections (nerve damage)
-2% Drug reactions (contraindicated with the medical history)
-6% Miscellaneous

If you aren't freaked out, I hope at least I gave you something to think about.

We have so many choices now. It seems like dentist offices are popping up all over the place like corner stores.

Remember, when extensive dental work is advised, a second opinion is a good idea. 

Darlene NemethI love to read your opinions and comments. It makes my day.

Bye for now.
Wishing you the best, Darlene

My apologies, all anonymous comments are deleted due to an excessive amount of spam.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Between the Lines: a Blog Series