Radiographs are an important part of oral surgery procedures and choosing the right one to take is both a clinical decision and a risk management one.
Helpful points to consider when conducting oral surgery
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A radiographic view selected to show the root morphology in its entirety and sufficient bone volume around the tooth, allows us dentists to make an accurate assessment of the ease or difficulty in taking the tooth out.
Radiographs serve two essential dento-legal purposes: one provides the operator with the information to help them decide whether they are the right person to take the tooth out, and the second is to help provide information to the patient as part of the consent process.
A dentist has a professional duty to work within their skill and competence and the GDC specifically requires registrants to
only carry out treatment if they are appropriately trained, competent, confident and indemnified.
By virtue of your qualifications, training and experience you will be the best judge of what you can and can't do. You must take into consideration the needs of your patient.
In many cases you may be perfectly able to take the tooth out but the patient may have medical, social or other conditions that complicate the planned extraction. It is these factors that an astute clinician will weigh up and, as part of the consent process, discuss with the patient.
In deciding what information to discuss with the patient, you will need to take into account your patients particular needs and expectations especially with regards to risks. Just because there is a low risk of something occurring does not necessarily mean the patient will not attach significance to that low risk.
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Senior dento-legal Advisor
the BDA’s senior dento-legal advisor, a general dental practitioner, foundation trainer and practice owner testing the NHS prototypes. He has 21 years’ experience as a dento-legal advisor supporting dentists with complaints, clinical and regulatory issues, and clinical negligence claims.