Nine out of 10 (89%) dentists fear patients suing them, new figures from Dental Protection show.
Of those, 74% feel that this fear is impacting on the way they practise dentistry.
Of those that fear patients suing them, 64% have made more referrals as a result.
‘Dentists work in an increasingly challenging environment,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.
‘It is worrying that three out of four full-time general dental practitioners fear patients suing them.
‘Understandably this will undoubtedly impact on the way they practise and add to already high stress levels.
‘Without proper consent and comprehensive, well-organised records, a dentist is disadvantaged in defending any allegations.
‘Inadequate clinical records will make the case less defensible and often compromise the final outcome.’
Stress or anxiety
Dental Protection has highlighted caries diagnosis, periodontal disease and endodontic treatments as key areas for claims.
Almost all respondents to the survey (98%) believe we live in an increasingly litigious society.
This has led to 77% of dentists feeling that the fear of a court case is causing stress or anxiety.
‘We always encourage dentists to explain the costs, risks and benefits of all the treatment options,’ Mr Rattan continued.
‘Ensure the patient has a clear understanding of the planned procedure to meet patient expectations.
‘Where a patient expresses dissatisfaction about any aspect of their care, dentists should take this as an opportunity to resolve the issue promptly.’
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