UNDIAGNOSED AND UNTREATED PERIODONTAL DISEASE IS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING AREAS OF LITIGATION AND COMPLAINTS IN DENTISTRY.
Dr Ope Sodeinde continues to enhance his well-deserved reputation for patient care, In this issue Ope discusses the actions you need to take as recommended by Dental Protection to avoid litigation for undiagnosed and untreated periodontal disease.
In many cases, the levels of periodontal disease present in a patient’s mouth are due to factors beyond the dentist’s control, and do not reflect any fault whatsoever on the part of the dentist. People are living longer, and more people are retaining their teeth. Consequently, the overall potential periodontal risk is increasing. Allegations of undiagnosed, untreated and under-treated periodontal disease are on the rise.
The most common allegation is that the patient was unaware of the presence of periodontal disease, or that the extent and implications of the periodontal problems had not been explained to them.
If the condition, along with the treatment options and appropriate advice, is not explained to the patient, the individual may well feel that they have been let down by the professional person they have trusted over many years.
Patient may well become very frustrated, blaming the dentist for allowing the periodontal condition to deteriorate under their care. If the condition, along with the treatment options and appropriate advice, is not explained to the patient, may well become very frustrated, blaming the dentist for allowing the periodontal condition to deteriorate under their care.
There are “No win no fee” companies who now specialise in dental complaints and are seeking out disgruntled patients to carryout negligent claims on their behalf and Frustrated patients are taking these offers up..
Whether such allegations are made in the form of a complaint, or a claim in negligence, two questions always arise:
Did the dentist in question properly diagnose, treat and monitor the periodontal disease?
Did the critical discussions and explanations occur between the dentist and the patient?
“No Win No Fee” litigation companies often focus upon the clinical records and what they do (or do not) contain to establish where the blame lies.
In many cases and as said previously – the levels of periodontal disease present in a patient’s mouth are due to factors beyond the dentist’s control, and do not reflect any fault whatsoever on the part of the dentist. However, it is made much easier to demonstrate this fact if the records contain the necessary information.
How do you know if your records are compliant?
Dental Protection recommend you carry out a simple audit on the dental records of 10 patients that you see with either moderate or significant levels of periodontal disease. Are there one or more dated entries confirming how well you are monitoring their disease?
*Audit your clinical note taking – review 10 patients records across 16 actions points*
If you are concerned about managing your non-responsive periodontal patients and the legal/clinical implications of this please contact Dental Protection as they can advise.
It takes a very special skill set to be able to adequately inform, motivate and change patients attitude towards their condition – if you have any concerns – always refer to a specialist.