Professional Liability in Dental Radiology

In radiology, as in every other medical speciality, the daily practice includes an intrinsic risk of human errors with potentially dangerous consequences to the patient. In particular, interpretation of medical imagines request skill and expertise obtained after a long training because of the difficulty to recognize the presence of pathological aspects, so the most common cause for a medical malpractice suit against radiologist is error in the diagnostic process. Anyway, lawsuits in radiology may also result from word errors in reports, especially for inappropriate wording, unsuitable terminology and/or transcription mistakes. It’s noteworthy that even an error limited to a single word may significantly alter a report, resulting in a patient mismanagement. In the daily practice of dental radiology reporting, the radiologist commonly neglects to describe in detail the pathological dental nature and/or previous dental treatment, most likely for the high specificity of the clinical orodental aspects.

Dental Radiology
Dental Radiology

A direct consequence of this situation has been the necessity to establish specialties of dental and maxillofacial radiology, where the goals were to train oral radiologists capable to provide an adequate support to the clinicians. About the dentist, it is important to remember that radiology is an essential complementary activity, the core of the diagnostic assessment of the patient. Dentistry is one of the health professions that have the responsibility for decision-making and interpreting radiographic imagines all that aimed at the next therapeutic choice. So, the dentist is familiar with radiographs, an invaluable tool for proper patient care providing critical information for the diagnosis of dental disease, i.e., caries, periodontal bone loss, periapical pathosis, and other oral conditions; moreover, many dental treatments are completely dependent on intra and/or extra-oral radiology and impossible to adequately perform without it, i.e., endodontics and implant surgery.

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