alexa Defensive dental behaviour: illusion or reality?
General Science

General Science

Journal of Forensic Research

Author(s): Eijkman MA, Assink MH, HofmansOkkes IM, Eijkman MA, Assink MH, HofmansOkkes IM

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Abstract Defensive medicine or defensive behaviour of physicians is considered a major problem in contemporary health care. It seems reasonable to assume that defensive behaviour also occurs in dental practice, although so far very little has been published in the dental literature on this subject. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether defensive behaviour occurs in dentistry. As a survey study 38 dentists were interviewed: 30 men and 8 women, mainly general dental practitioners with an average of 20.9 years in practice. The results of this pilot-study indicate that it is very likely that defensive behaviour occurs in dental practice, despite the fact that there is hardly any evidence of fear for malpractice claims and lawsuits among the respondents. The majority of the dentists interviewed stated that they carried out some treatments at their patient's request although they did not believe the treatment to be necessary from a professional point of view. A motive for deliberately refraining from treatment is lack of dental motivation by the patient and poor oral hygiene. According to some respondents patients are sometimes referred unnecessarily to specialists. Also 'difficult' patients run the risk of unwarranted referral to specialists, and, moreover referrals because of insurance reasons are mentioned. The financial situation of the patient and the defensive behaviour of dental practitioners seem to be closely connected.
This article was published in Int Dent J and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research

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