Around 40% of claims costs are for treatment started more than a decade ago

Almost 40% of costs for dental claims made in 2018 relate to cases where treatment started 10 or more years ago.

That’s according to Dental Protection, which says these claims are also for larger amounts of money, sometimes up to £100k.

Many of these claims involve allegations relating to the management of periodontal disease and caries.

‘We clearly live in an increasingly litigious environment,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.

‘Dentists need to be confident that they can request support from their indemnifier in 10, 20, or even 30 years time.’

Challenging environment

Dental Protection believes the claims environment will continue to be challenging due to changing patient expectations.

It also points to claimant law firms actively targeting periodontal claims and long-term care.

This, it says, is due to an increased understanding of the importance of record keeping.

‘To learn more about the nature of periodontal claims and what can be done to reduce the risk of a claim,’ Mr Rattan continues.

‘Dental Protection members can take a free online e-module and also join a webinar on 17 September.’

Top five claims

Earlier this year the Dental Defence Union (DDU) listed the top five aspects of dental treatment that resulted in claims.

The top five reasons include:

  • Extractions (24%)
  • Root canal treatments (20%)
  • Caries and fillings (17%)
  • Periodontal disease (10%)
  • Implant treatment (9%).

‘A lot has changed in the dental landscape in recent years,’ John Makin, head of the DDU, said.

‘Despite this, many of the allegations of clinical negligence made against DDU members relate to routine aspects of treatment.

‘There are steps dental professionals can take to minimise risks if they understand where issues can arise.’

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