Guarantee at the dentist

A guarantee is not so obvious with a dentist. Legally, a dentist has an obligation of best efforts, not an obligation of results. Various health insurers make agreements with dentists, where quality is a point of attention. This is also called a preferred dentist. As a patient you often receive a guarantee on your treatment.

Preferred dentist and dentist with a healthcare agreement

Health insurers can enter into a contract with a dentist. Not every dentist makes agreements with a health insurer. For example, there are dentists who do not make appointments with anyone, or with only one health insurer. Also, not every health insurer will make agreements with the same dentist. If agreements have been made between the health insurer and the dentist, this dentist is called a preferred dentist. There is also talk of a dentist with a healthcare agreement.

Failed root canal treatment

The most common complaint is a root canal treatment that has failed. This often concerns a root canal that has not been properly cleaned, is only partially filled or a broken file that has been left behind. A residual file is usually not a problem and does not need to be removed, but the other two complaints will have to be treated again. If the root canal is not filed, cleaned and filled far enough, bacteria have the opportunity to remain and cause greater inflammation. This entails double costs for the patient, which are not always reimbursed by the health insurer. This depends on the annual reimbursement that the patient receives. People often wonder whether the bill should be paid if the root canal treatment has failed.

Obligation to make an effort

Every dentist has a best efforts obligation. This means that the dentist must make every effort to help the patient as best as possible. In the case of a root canal treatment, the dentist is obliged to perform it as best as possible. If the patient requests anesthesia, the dentist is obliged to provide it. After all, everyone has the right to anesthesia. The dentist must administer the correct anesthetic. If the dentist administers a drug that he knows does not anesthetize, the dentist does not comply with the best efforts obligation. Even if the dentist refuses to clean the root canals for unfounded reasons, he does not meet the best efforts obligation. The obligation to make efforts is something completely different from the obligation to achieve results.

Result obligation

The obligation to achieve results is an obligation that is more common in trade. This obligation does not apply to dentists. The obligation means that results must be visible. When a store sells a television, it has to do it. If he does not do it, the store is obliged to repair it and provide the customer with a working television. A root canal treatment must be carried out by a dentist as best as possible, but the dentist is not obliged to cure it completely. After all, the result is often very uncertain. At least 40 percent of all root canal treatments are successful, despite all good intentions and treatments by the dentist. Because this success rate is so low, the dentist cannot be expected to cover the result. The bill for retreatment is therefore also for the patient. The patient can then choose between having a root canal treatment performed again or having the tooth extracted. Only if the patient can demonstrate that the dentist has been negligent in his best efforts obligation, the bill can be canceled. This is often very difficult to prove and costs a lot of money and going to court. The problem is that many dentists hide behind the obligation to make best efforts when mistakes are made.

Guarantee on dentist

However, there is a partial guarantee for the dentist, especially if he or she has a contract with a specific health insurer. The guarantee often consists of not having to pay costs for retreatment if something went wrong. For example, a broken crown that should not have broken off under normal circumstances. It is best to discuss with your own health insurer which dentist is under contract with them and how far the guarantee extends. Because this can also vary greatly per health insurer. Informing in advance saves a lot of trouble later. Dentists who have not entered into a contract or healthcare agreement with a health insurer often provide less guarantee, because this is not provided through the health insurer. However, these dentists can also be expected to comply with the best efforts obligation. For example, the dentist may be expected to fit a crown correctly and carefully. If the crown comes loose again quite quickly, this is often the result of improper application. The dentist will not charge any costs in these cases. If the dentist can demonstrate that the patient was careless with the crown or did not follow the dentist’s instructions, the costs are borne by the patient. Ask your own dentist whether they guarantee treatments: this can vary greatly from dentist to dentist.

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