3 Surprising Malpractice Statistics & How You Can Avoid Becoming One

Malpractice. It’s a word that send shutters down the spines of most dentists and understandably so. As a caregiver, many dentists have come to see dental board complaints, civil lawsuits, patient demand letters, and the like as the result of deficient clinical treatment or plain bad luck. However, the reality is much different.

In fact, thorough risk management practices can actually prevent the majority of dental malpractice cases from ever being filed. This might sound too good to be true, but keep the following 3 statistics in mind, which the dental malpractice insurance company DBIC was kind enough to provide.

#1. 1.6% of dentists will face a civil malpractice case in any one year.  With approximately 125,000 dentist in active practice, that means about 2,000 of you will be on speed dial with an attorney in any given year.

#2. On average a dentists can expect to be personally charged with 3 to 5 legal cases over the course of their career.

#3. The average payout per dental malpractice claim exceeds $81,000 and is rising.

Moreover, dental malpractice cases occur across a broad swath of treatments. According one review of 242 cases by Crystal Baxter, DMD,

the Top 10 Negligence Categories are:

  • 26% Extractions (paresthesia; failure to timely refer)
  • 17% Endodontics (broken instruments; nerve & sinus perforations)
  • 10% Implants (improper evaluations leading to failure)
  • 10% Crown & bridge (most cases involve multiple units)
  • 8% Periodontics (failure to diagnose; over-treatment)
  • 8% Orthodontics (root resorption)
  • 5% Anesthesia (fatalities and serious injuries)
  • 4% Infections (hospitalizations; most were smokers)
  • 4% Injections (nerve damage – paresthesia)
  • 2% Drug reactions (contraindicated with the medical history)
  • 6% Miscellaneous
So given that malpractice is far more pervasive than you might realize, what’s the primary way you can minimize your own malpractice risk?

chart – Chart – CHART!

DBIC eloquently phrases the problem, “Poor or marginal charting is a factor in probably 90% of those [malpractice] cases.”

So what’s the solution to preventing shortfalls in your charting from leading to a malpractice claim? A turnkey charting system created by one of the country’s leading dental malpractice defense attorneys that includes the comprehensive information required to minimize your malpractice risk. That’s precisely the service The Dental Advocate provides. Our Ideal Charting for General Dentists system includes three components that together form the most robust malpractice prevention system available today.

Our custom progress note templates and consent forms easily install into all major practice management software systems in a single 30-minute installation. In addition to the 38 progress note templates and 23 consent forms, we routinely publish research posts to educate our clients on risk management and malpractice prevention best practices, such as “The 7 Characteristics Of The Patient Most Likely To Sue You
1. Female
2. Age of 45+
3. Employed in a health-related field (particularly nurses)
4. Use dental terminology
5. Dental office shopper
6. Refuse to pay for new x-rays
7. Patient (usually mother) makes decisions for adult children (usually son)
To learn more about the many ways The Dental Advocate is revolutionizing malpractice prevention and risk management, please visit our website www.TheDentalAdvocate.com.

Lastly, CLICK HERE to access your complimentary download of our free sample package.