QUESTION: I have worked in a pediatric dental office for almost two years, and the dentist constantly misses cavities. He waits until they are visible to both the parents and me, and they have shown up on X-rays a year prior to diagnosis. Many times the teeth become infected and need a pulpotomy. I’m not sure if he doesn’t see them or he doesn’t care to treat the cavities. The hygienist and I have been keeping a record of these patients. I would like to report the dentist but I’m not quite sure what to do. And let me add that these cavities are extremely visible in both the mouth and on X-rays. We need some advice. Thank you!
ANSWER FROM ADELE REISCHE:Synergy Practice Management:
The team members’ first concern should be for the safety and health of the patients in the practice.
Since most hygienists help support the doctor with codiagnosing, ideally the hygienist should be able to sit down with the dentist as a peer, with the support of the assistant, to have a discussion about what they have been observing. They should be able to talk to him very openly about their observations, and should be able to explain to him why these things should not be happening.
If they don’t get the results they’re looking for, if the dentist receives their feedback negatively, they should contact the director of the local dental society and speak to the Peer Review Officer. By doing so they have taken action and turned the problem over to a recognized clinical authority who will know what corrective action, if any, should be taken.
If they are able to find a peer to talk with the dentist, they can all support and guide the dentist before things get out of hand. Their ultimate goal is to prevent these things from happening again.
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