dental insurances


Learn about dental malpractice insurance

What is Dental Malpractice Insurance and Do You Need It?

Dental malpractice insurance is a must-have for every dental practice. Everyone can make mistakes, and whether you are trying to settle a claim that resulted from an honest mistake you made or defending against a frivolous lawsuit, a dental malpractice insurance company will stand in your shoes, process the claim, and pay any resulting liability up to your insurance limits.

Dental Treatments Involved In Dental Malpractice Insurance Claims

According to a risk management survey published by the American Dental Association, the procedure most frequently involved in paid dental malpractice insurance claims is a crown or bridge procedure.

Of all the claims filed, 21.8% involved crowns and bridges, while 20% involved root canals; 13.6% involved simple extractions; 6.7% involved dentures; 5.7% involved surgical extractions; 5.1% involved oral examinations; 2.9% involved issues related to dental implants; 2.0% involved orthodontics; 1.4% involved periodontal surgery, and 20.8% involved a variety of other treatments.

Amounts Paid To Dental Malpractice Insurance Claimants

The good news is that very few claims - less than one-tenth of one percent - result in payments of $1 million or more. The study found that most claims, 57.2%, involve less than $10,000 in damage payments. However, a full 5% of claims fall into the $100,000 to $249,000 payment range, and another 1.2% of claims were paid at $250,000 to $499,999.

Adverse Outcomes

So what went wrong with all these dental malpractice insurance claims? According to the study, in over 30% of patients, additional corrective dental treatment was needed. Other patients suffered a failed root canal, nerve injury, an object swallowed during a procedure, lost teeth, periodontal disease, extraction of the wrong tooth, an adverse drug reaction, extreme pain, problems with the bite, failure of implants, cancer or a tumor, cuts or bruises, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, broken or fractured teeth, and disfigurement.

What Did The Dentist Do Wrong?

In most dental malpractice insurance claims cited by the study, the dentist was charged with failure to diagnose a condition. Other allegations involved performing an inappropriate procedure, failing to obtain informed consent from the patient, failing to refer the patient to a specialist, treating the wrong tooth, complications with anesthesia, failing to communicate effectively with the patient's specialist, equipment failure, failing to accommodate the special needs of medically compromised patients, taking an inadequate health history, errors involving patient records, incorrect prescriptions, x-ray issues, abandonment, faulty performance of a dental employee, assault, sexual harassment, or guarantees.

Dental malpractice insurance errors involving patient records included not documenting the treatment plan or the informed consent of the patient.

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