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The International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants
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Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 29 (2014), No. 5     6. Oct. 2014
Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 29 (2014), No. 5  (06.10.2014)

Page 1177-1184, doi:10.11607/jomi.3486, PubMed:25216146


Analysis of Professional Malpractice Claims in Implant Dentistry in Italy from Insurance Company Technical Reports, 2006 to 2010
Pinchi, Vilma / Varvara, Giuseppe / Pradella, Francesco / Focardi, Martina / Donati, Michele D. / Norelli, Gianaristide
Purpose: The aim of the study was to analyze the characteristics of implant dentistry claims in Italy based on insurance company technical reports for malpractice claims.
Materials and Methods: One hundred twenty-one technical reports of cases of professional malpractice in implant dentistry between 2006 and 2010 were included in the study. Data included the sex and age of the patient and dentist, the kind of negligence claimed, and the damages awarded as a consequence of the alleged misconduct.
Results: Of the cases examined in this study, 9.9% went to court. The patients were female in 73.6% of the cases. Most of the technical errors were committed during implant insertion (82.6%). In 50.4% of cases, the technical error involved the surrounding structures, such as damage to the inferior alveolar nerve (32.2%) or the lingual nerve (2.5%), invasion of the maxillary sinus (9.1%), or pulpal dental necrosis in adjacent teeth (6.6%). Incomplete clinical documentation was apparent in 54.5% of cases. In 9.9% of cases, a civil suit had already been filed before a visit, and medicolegal advice from the insurance expert had been procured.
Conclusion: The discrepancy between the total number of cases examined and those that went to court indicates that implant malpractice claims in Italy are most often settled out of court. The large number of intraoperative errors seen and the high proportion of injuries to surrounding structures suggest that implant dentists would benefit from further specific training. Also, clinical documentation vital to a defense against any claims relating to professional misconduct was incomplete or absent in more than half of the cases.

Keywords: dental insurance, implant dentistry, Italy, malpractice, negligence