Data reveals 40% of claims costs relate to treatment started over 10 years ago

New data published by Dental Protection reveals that almost 40 per cent of its estimated annual claims costs in 2018 related to cases where treatment started ten or more years ago before the claim was made.

Claims that relate to treatment that started many years ago are also being made for larger amounts, sometimes up to £100k. Of the top 100 largest claims made against Dental Protection members in 2018, 60 related to where treatment started ten or more years ago before the claim was reported.

The majority of these late reported claims involve allegations relating to the management of periodontal disease, but also include allegations about management of caries over many years.

Patient care is now very different to that provided several decades ago. There is increased understanding of the importance of record keeping as well as much better education and training on the screening, diagnosis and management of periodontal disease and caries. However, the claims environment will continue to be challenging with increased public awareness of periodontal disease, changes in patient’s expectations about dental care and claimant law firms actively targeting periodontal claims and long-term care.

While predicting the future cost of claims can be difficult, it is an essential part of what Dental Protection does. It is vital to price accordingly in order to meet the possibility of future claims.

This data supports the importance for dentists to maintain their membership of a dental defence organisation that has a long-term understanding of risk and who will continue to support dentists in years to come.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said: “We clearly live in an increasingly litigious environment and dentists need to be confident that they can request support from their indemnifier in 10, 20, or even 30 years time. Dentists can ask us for support in relation to claims brought against them even where they have since moved practice or retired, as can Executors/Personal Representatives where claims are brought against the estate of a dentist who has passed away.

“At Dental Protection we can confidently say we are here to stay. Our subscription rates reflect the cost of our long-term commitment to protecting you to the highest standard long into the future, not a short-term requirement to generate profits.

“Dental Protection membership provides excellence as standard; supporting not just when a claim or a complaint arises but through our education programmes, to prevent any issue from happening in the first place. To learn more about the nature of periodontal claims and what can be done to reduce the risk of a claim, Dental Protection members can take a free online e-module and also join a webinar on 17 September”.