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In spite of your best efforts

11 July 2014
Sometimes no matter how well you care for a patient, things still don’t go as planned...

Mrs D attended Dr E as a new patient in 1980 and, during the examination, routine radiographs were taken. Over the next 15 years, Mrs D had four pregnancies, all of which were accompanied by severe bouts of pregnancy gingivitis. Between pregnancies, the dentist took radiographs that displayed the progressive bone loss.

Despite referral for specialist periodontal treatment during this period, the lower left second molar was ultimately lost. The patient’s claim of unnecessary loss of a tooth was vigorously defended with a supportive expert report detailing the patient’s long-term management by Dr E, which resulted in the claim being withdrawn.

Learning point:
While periodontal treatment can be successful in many cases, some others have a disappointing result due to inadequate patient co-operation or other host factors.
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