How Out of Date Dental Records Could Harm Your Oral Health
Posted on 10/30/2019 by Aron Geelan, DMD
Your dental records are extremely important just like your medical records are important. Not only do they give us the ability to see what has happened in the past they can also protect you from situations that were dangerous and keep you from ending up in those situations ever again.
There are many situations you can find on the internet of doctors and dentists who are being sued for malpractice and they arise from many areas of care they missed in their records.
A state jury found a former Hawaii dentist not guilty of manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the highly publicized death of a 3-year-old girl under her care. The child, Finley Boyle, stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest after they administered her sedative drugs during a procedure at Lilly Geyer's Kailua dental office. The girl remained in a coma for a month before dying.
The child died because of the sedatives and local anesthesia given at the time of the dental procedure. The dentist was not aware that records show the child had been diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. The residual effects of the illness caused the little girl's vocal cords to close under sedation, cutting off oxygen and killing her.
Importance of Having a Copy of Your Old Dental Records
Anytime you change dental offices, a major red flag is if your new dentist does not request the records from where you were before. For example, you may avoid x-rays or undergoing diagnostic procedures for a problem that has already been evaluated at a different dental practice. Without written records, your newly created patient chart will rely on your memory. You must recall the names and dates of present and past symptoms, procedures, medications, and recommendations. Rarely anyone can remember all that.
To better manage your treatment, it's important for our dentist to know your history going back several years. A record of past fillings and crowns, for instance, can give a clue to future treatments you might need. Accurate records can save you time and money and spare you discomfort. If you would like a copy of your dental records from our office, simply let us know. If you want to become a new patient with us, definitely bring your records with you.