Prevention of Dental Errors for Dental Practices


Few dental errors are attributed to faulty judgment. More commonly, they are attributed to system failures inherent in healthcare delivery. By drawing on our professional liability closed claims data, we have identified common performance and diagnostic errors:
wrong-site surgery, improper performance of dental procedure, wrong or unnecessary treatment or procedure, retention of foreign body during treatment, and diagnosis related. We analyzed loss prevention measures in tandem with the elements necessary to conduct a credible and thorough root cause analysis (RCA) to reduce system failures, respond to sentinel events, prevent dental errors, and improve patient safety. The purpose of this continuing dental education activity is to provide dentists with the most current information regarding the prevention of common performance and diagnostic errors.

The course covers:

• Identification of the most common quality-of-care violations.
• Illustrative case studies detailing prevalent diagnostic and performance errors.
• The necessary elements of an RCA.
• Safety systems in healthcare organizations.
• Risk management measures designed to prevent dental errors and increase patient safety.

Course ID #: TDE 210976.0 Issue Date: 10/07/2021 Expiration Date: 3/31/2024


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Assess areas of my practice that are at high risk for dental errors.
  • Educate my staff and colleagues about specific changes in policies and/or processes that can reduce risks of dental errors.
  • Implement at least one change in my practice that can reduce the risk of dental error.
  • Make changes to prevent a never event from occurring in my practice.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Susan Boisvert, BSN, MHSA, CPPS, CPHRM, DFASHRM, Patient Safety Risk Manager II, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Susan Shepard, MSN, MA, RN, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Robin Wessels, MBA, BSN, RN, CPHRM, Assistant Vice President, Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Johanna Lackner, MPH, MSW, Senior Director, Continuing Professional Development, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit


The Doctors Company is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at

The Doctors Company designates this activity for one 2.0 continuing education credits

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported on this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368.


Visit our Resource document for this program.