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AAOIC Risk Management

Help Prevent A Claim: Utilize Your Professional Expertise And Documentation

Working with people on a daily basis opens the door to a number of potential liabilities. Malpractice allegations can stem from a negative orthodontic treatment, and poor oral hygiene is just one factor that could result in a claim. However, remaining proactive in managing your patient’s information and using your professional expertise may help prevent a claim from being pursued. 

 

Teenagers (especially boys) are commonly prone to having oral hygiene deficiencies. Excessive consumption of sugary drinks or soda and poor brushing are typical causes that result in a claim. When parents discover that restorations are needed, a malpractice action may follow. 

 

During treatment, parents will often convince the orthodontist to continue the treatment and promise that hygiene will improve. Rarely are long-term improvements seen. The court's position is that the orthodontist is the professional with the knowledge and understanding of the consequences to the patient of his or her deficient behavior. Thus, despite a parent or patient's plea, the orthodontist should strongly consider doing the right thing for the patient and terminate treatment if the behavior is expected to result in damage to his or her teeth. Be sure to carefully document the course of action in the patient's records with photos and treatment chart notations. In doing this, you are taking proactive steps to help prevent an allegation and to protect your career and reputation. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your future—learn more about our professional liability features! 

 

 

Purchase the Risk Management DVD for $50.00 at the AAO member online store."