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Don’t dismiss developments in dentistry

11 July 2014
If you don’t keep up to date with your profession, you might be providing treatment that’s become outmoded, as this case demonstrates...

A dentist received a lawyer’s letter written on behalf of a patient for whom he had recently provided an implant. In fact a blade implant had been placed to support four posterior mandibular teeth.

At a routine review following the surgical procedure, it was obvious that the implant had failed. The patient also reported paraesthesia of the lip. The dentist had warned the patient of the risk of failure of the treatment before starting the treatment, so when he subsequently removed the implant he assumed that his relationship with the patient was still amicable and was surprised to receive a lawyer’s letter.

The dentist’s records provided little evidence of a thorough pre-operative assessment and it was difficult to find an expert colleague to defend his particular choice of implant. The dentist maintained that the blade implant procedure was ‘generally safe’ in his hands although he recognised that they had largely been replaced by alternative systems.

The dentist later accepted, however, that his use of this implant system was not advocated by his peers and agreed that the claim should be discreetly settled.

Learning point:
There has always been a need for clinicians to keep up to date with developments in dentistry. The accumulating evidence base for different treatments is readily available on the internet for dentists and patients’ lawyers alike.
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These case studies are based on real events and provided here as guidance. They do not constitute legal advice but are published to help members better understand how they might deal with certain situations. This is just one of the many benefits dental members enjoy as part of their subscription. 
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