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Professional Responsibility in Dentistry: A Practical Guide to Law and Ethics

Professional Responsibility in Dentistry: A Practical Guide to Law and Ethics

Joseph P. Graskemper

ISBN: 978-1-118-78558-4

Aug 2013

608 pages


Professional Responsibility in Dentistry: A Practical Guide to Law and Ethics integrates dental law, risk management, professionalism, and ethics, as all are interrelated in everyday practice. Beyond theory, the fact-based approach of this book shows examples of various situations the dentist may face. Dr. Graskemper addresses a range of topics, from legal concepts and regulation of dentistry to professionalism and ethics. He points out specific issues in the practice of dentistry, particularly those that confront new dentists and dentists with new practices. True Cases throughout the book walk readers through real-world examples of complex situations and discuss the proper way to handle them with attention to the legal, ethical, and practice management ramifications. These include patient charting, professional criticisms, child neglect, associateships, patient refunds, and more.

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Part 1: Legal Concepts.

Chapter 1: The Lawsuit.

True Case 1: Misscarriage due to endodontics.

True Case 2: Changing the chart.

True Case 3: Saving the case for trial.


Chapter 2: The Regulation of Dentistry.

True Case 4: Dental state board case of fractured porcelain.

True Case 5: OSHA.

True Case 6: Forfeit of license.

True Case 7: Lost his license.

True Case 8: Assistant extracted tooth.

True Case 9: Dental society denial.


Chapter 3: Defi nitions and Legal Concepts.

True Case 10: Amalgam tattoo = melanoma.

True Case 11: Divorce due to parasthesia.

True Case 12 (True Case 1 Revisited): Lawsuit due to dentist’s criticism.


Part 2: The Practice of Dentistry.

Chapter 4: The Doctor—Patient Relationship.

True Case 13: Food for fi llings.

True Case 14: No pay, no crown.


Chapter 5: Can You Refuse To Treat.


Chapter 6: The Medical—Dental History.

True Case 15: Only Boniva.

True Case 16: Only heart surgery.


Chapter 7: Child Abuse.

True Case 17: Child neglect.


Chapter 8: Informed Consent.

True Case 18: Implants include the teeth.

True Case 19: Signed consent? Forgery.

True Case 20: Two for one.

True Case 21: Teenage pregnancy.

True Case 22: Lawyer threatens: write off patient’s balance or be sued.


Chapter 9: Records.


Chapter 10: Statute of Limitations.


Chapter 11: Abandonment.

True Case 23: Patient outsmarts dentist.


Chapter 12: Standard of Care.


Chapter 13: Peer Review.

True Case 24: Peer review.


Chapter 14: Risk Management.

True Case 25: Too many “near misses”.

True Case 26 (True Case 6 revisited): Dentist leaves state.

True Case 27 (True Case 2 revisited): Changing the chart.

True Case 28: Who knows what is going on?


Chapter 15: Employees and Associates.

True Case 29: Extra-long vacation.


Part 3: Professionalism and Ethics.

Chapter 16: Professionalism.


Chapter 17: Ethics.

True Case 30: Patient doesn’t want referral.

True Case 31: I don’t want my teeth.

True Case 32: Fractured porcelain.

True Case 33: No pay, no treatment.


Chapter 18: Professional Ethical Situations Based on True Cases.

Part 4: New Dentist Issues.

Chapter 19: Associateships.

True Case 34: Dentist reopened next door.

True Case 35: Dentist takes all patient records to new office.

True Case 36: Buy what you built?

True Case 37: Earn your pay.


Chapter 20: Starting or Buying a Practice.

True Case 38: Do you see me now?

True Case 39: You can run but you can’t hide.

True Case 40: Poof! You’re moving.

True Case 41: Bankrupt.


Chapter 21: Marketing a Successful Practice.

True Case 42: Keeping it in the family.

True Case 43: Keep the patients coming.

True Case 44: Insurance company approves treatment but then doesn’t pay.


Chapter 22: Co-diagnosing, or Gaining the Patient’s Trust.

True Case 45: Denture time.


Chapter 23: Employee Management.


Chapter 24: Multispecialty Practice.

Chapter 25: Forms.

General release for dental treatment.

Consent for pulpal debridement and endodontic treatment

Consent for oral surgery

Consent for periodontal surgery.

General consent for surgical and invasive procedures.

Refusal of treatment / referral.

Termination Letter.

What you should know about fi nancing your dental treatment.

Authorization for release of dental records.


  • True cases show real examples of professional and ethical issues facing the practicing dentist
  • Integrates various aspects of professionalism, ethics, law, and practice management
  • Written by a practicing dentist with a law degree
  • Offers perspectives on both the legal and dental aspects of ethical and professional questions