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Dental treatment for replacement crowns (13HDC00203)
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(13HDC00203, 11 June
Dentist ~ Crowns ~ Communication ~ Professional standards ~
Rights 4(1), 4(2), 6(2), 7(1)
Over a period of four months, a dentist provided treatment to a
man for the purpose of replacing the man's existing crowns. Prior
to treatment from the dentist, the man's teeth were in poor
condition. At the initial consultation, the dentist recorded in the
clinical notes a treatment plan that included insertion of
temporary Lava crowns, fitting of dentures, and replacement of the
temporary Lava crowns with permanent Emax crowns.
At the end of the appointment, the dentist provided the man with
a written treatment plan which briefly outlined various dental
treatments for the man over five appointments. This plan did not
state that the Lava crowns were temporary, and it did not refer to
Emax crowns. In contrast, the man understood that the Lava crowns
would be permanent and left the initial appointment believing that
his existing crowns would be replaced the following day.
The following day, the dentist inserted temporary Protemp crowns
rather than Lava crowns because the man wanted his current crowns
removed immediately, and the dentist was not able to provide Lava
crowns immediately. Prior to the appointment, the man was not aware
that he would be receiving temporary crowns. However, on placement
of the Protemp crowns, the man understood that they were temporary.
The Protemp crowns were not mentioned in the written treatment plan
provided to the man.
Approximately three weeks later at the man's third appointment,
the dentist replaced the temporary Protemp crowns with Lava crowns.
The man continued to believe that the Lava crowns were permanent.
The man found the Lava crowns to be "painful". On three further
occasions the man attended appointments with the dentist for
adjustments to his Lava crowns. Treatment was discontinued before
permanent Emax crowns were inserted. The man subsequently sought
It was held that the dentist's treatment plan for the man was
inadequate and that the overall standard of care provided by the
dentist to the man was poor. Accordingly, the dentist breached
Right 4(1). In addition, the dentist failed to provide information
to the man that a reasonable consumer in his circumstances would
need to make an informed choice with regard to his treatment plan,
in breach of Right 6(2). Consequently, the man was unable to make
informed choices about his treatment. Accordingly, the dentist
breached Right 7(1).
It was also found that the dentist's standard of documentation
was poor. The dentist therefore failed to comply with relevant
professional standards and breached Right 4(2).
It was found that the dental practice was vicariously liable for
the dentist's breaches by failing to ensure that the dentist
provided services with reasonable care and skill. The practice
therefore breached Right 4(1).