Helpful points to consider when conducting prosthodontic procedures
Good communication is key when it comes to understanding your patients expectations when fitting a new set of removeable prothodontics.
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On the face of it, removable prosthodontics appears to come with less dento-legal risks than other clinical disciplines where more invasive procedures can lead to more problems.
In their purest form, removable dentures (not supported by implant fixtures) have been around for centuries. Increasingly, patients are becoming more particular about their aesthetic needs and expect dentures that not only look good but feel comfortable from the moment they are first put in. Sadly, it is not always the case that these high expectations are met and the first task that any dentist has is to manage a patient's expectations from the outset. This is all about communication.
Listening to what the patient wants, what they have had in the past, and what they expect from their new set of dentures are questions we don't often spend too much time asking, eager to take the impression and press on with constructing new dentures. Even with experienced denture wearers, dentists can sometimes get caught out, believing the patient will adapt quickly to anything new.
Fewer complete dentures are being made with improving oral health and retention of teeth into older age so if a patient does need a set, dentists are not as experienced or skilled as they might once have been. It is important you factor in your experience relative to the complexity of the patient sitting in your chair. Those complications may be dental ones but they may also be medical, psychological or physical such as a reduced adaptive capacity to new dentures.
Dentures are products for the purposes of consumer legislation and these acts (e.g. Consumer Rights Act 2015 in England) set out what standards must be met in terms of quality, fitness for purpose and being "as described" by the dentist. In some cases, these rights allow a full refund within a period of time if the goods are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. When dentures don't quite go according to plan, patients are often quick to return demanding their money back.
BDA Indemnity covers you for prosthodontic procedures, both fixed and removable. Find out more and get an indicative quote today.
Senior dento-legal Advisor
Len is 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.