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Get your facts straight

14 July 2014
As this case illustrates, making comments without knowing the full story can lead to problems...

A dentist found himself faced with numerous patients attending his practice having transferred from a retiring colleague. Each of the patients seemed to demonstrate quite moderate periodontal disease and left him in no doubt that a very detailed and expensive treatment plan would be required in each case.

When he explained this to the patients, some accepted it quite readily while others were clearly angry and asked why the previous dentist had not informed them of the disease in their mouths. Unfortunately his choice of wording in providing an explanation left something to be desired.

Not surprisingly the retiring dentist sought Dental Protection’s help when the letters of complaint started arriving. It soon became clear, however, that the periodontal disease was certainly not active and the radiographs demonstrated that the patients’ periodontal condition had been stable for approximately 10 years.

Numerous visits to the hygienist and a careful CPITN and full pocket depth charting had been recorded meticulously. When this was demonstrated and explained to the patients, the new dentist was deeply embarrassed. The whistle blower had now become the investigated and in the eyes of many of the patients, his ethical integrity left something to be desired.

Learning point:
Making comments without ascertaining all the facts is a dangerous pastime.
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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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