Administering Proper Care and Dentist Professional Liability Issues

Dentists and laboratory technicians perform one of the more vitally important procedures of human health; the care of the teeth and gums of a nation filled of people that have become obsessed with maintaining proper care of their teeth. There are literally dozens of brands of toothpaste, expensive toothbrushes, floss sticks made easy-to-use, and mini-plaque removing brushes, all designed to improve dental hygiene.


Many people ironically have a fear of dentists. Some shudder at the sound of a drill, while others cancel appointments or prolong simple check-ups because of this innate fear. This can turn a simple procedure into a more complicated one because of the lack of both proper personal care and delays in regularly scheduled treatments.


Dentistry requires adequate protection from litigation


While dentists realize the importance of carrying professional liability insurance, the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) also advises dental laboratory technicians acquire the coverage. If something goes wrong, the odds may increase in cases where the level of care requires more intensive work, whether damage is the fault of the laboratory technician (or not), they need as much protection as possible to minimize their liability exposure.


dentist professional liability

The growing presence of new dental practitioners (including clinical assistants, nurses and laboratory technicians) in the clinical arena makes them vulnerable to legal action should a procedure turn out poorly. A patient may be given treatment on a perfectly healthy tooth by accident, could be injured during the course of treatment, or in rare cases, may not regain consciousness after being sedated because of their fears and anxieties.


Whether or not there is a valid complaint, a patient might decide to sue the dentist, or other responsible parties, claiming they had been mistreated, wrongly diagnosed, or subjected to a treatment that caused them agonizing pain. In judging whether a professional has been negligent, the courts use a standard called the reasonable prudent person or professional. What this means is that the court compares what a reasonably prudent person or professional would have done in a similar situation.


If a dental hygienist fails to include a procedure or makes a mistake during treatment, and later claims it was because he or she was unaware of the current standard, this would not hold up in a court of law. Thus, maintaining a practice that meets or exceeds the standard of care is extremely important for dental hygienists, and having dentist professional liability insurance can be key to saving a practice and the jobs of everyone working in that office.