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What to do when you’re not good enough

11 July 2014
If you’re noticing a trend forming that might suggest you’re not as good at something as you thought, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your competence and seek a solution...

A dentist received five complaints over a period of 18 months relating to endodontic treatment that had failed. While it is accepted that endodontic treatment is not 100 per cent successful, the dentist in this case was vulnerable to these complaints because the quality of the treatment he had provided was not defendable.

Three of these cases were settled by refunding the patient the cost of the original treatment and the necessary remedial treatment by an endodontic specialist. However, in the two remaining complaints the teeth were subsequently extracted and the patients were claiming a refund of their fees and the cost of future implant treatment. The potential payments in such cases are large.


Having noticed this trend, the dentist was invited to discuss the management of future endodontic cases with a dento-legal adviser from Dental Protection. The dentist accepted that his technique was open to improvement and undertook to attend a hands-on course to achieve this.

By this relatively simple action, a significant improvement was achieved in the member’s clinical endodontic results as well as in his level of personal professional satisfaction. No further cases arose after completing this training.

Learning point:
The repeated failure of any clinical procedure should prompt the clinician to review the technique involved and to seek further advice or training as necessary.
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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 Protection members enjoy as part of their subscription. 
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