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J Endod. 2010 Jun;36(6):982-4. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2010.03.030. Epub 2010 Apr 24.

Risk management in endodontics.

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Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.



Endodontic claims are the most frequently filed malpractice claims in dentistry. The aim of this study was to categorize and review errors and complications related to endodontic procedures that resulted in legal actions against the treating practitioner.


All dental malpractice complaints reported to the Medical Consultants International Company (MCI) in Israel between the years 1992-2008 were retrospectively analyzed according to a structured form. All complaints were categorized as either financial risk bearing (eg, justified) or financial non-risk bearing (eg, nonjustified). The treatment errors that were found in the files were categorized according to phases of treatment: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative errors.


A total of 720 complaints were analyzed including 520 complaints (72.2%) that were found to be justified and 200 complaints (27.8%) that were judged as not justified. Most of the treatment errors occurred during the intraoperative phase. In lower anterior teeth and in cases involving more than 1 tooth, significantly more errors were found during instrumentation and root canal filling (P < .05). There was a similar distribution of operator errors and of negative outcomes for teeth with elective endodontic treatment and teeth with endodontic treatment as a result of a pathologic process.


The technical skills of the dental practitioners performing root canal treatments require improvement. All possible risks and complications should be considered and explained to the patient before treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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