Endodontic malpractice litigations in the United States from 2000 to 2021

King Jean Wu, Sung Chih Hsieh, Cheng Ning Yang, Yi Wen Chen, Chao Lun Lai, Ting Ju Lai, Mark Yen-Ping Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background/purpose: Little is known regarding the outcomes and distinguishing characteristics of lawsuits related to endodontic procedures. This study used a verdict-based data from United States of America to analyze the factors associated with endodontic malpractice lawsuits and mitigate the risk of litigation. Materials and methods: The LexisNexis legal database was used to search for endodontic malpractice cases from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2021 using the terms “medical malpractice” and (I) “endodontist” (II) “endodontics” (III) “root canal” (IV) “dental pulp.” Each case was reviewed for reported medical characteristics and litigation outcomes. Results: A total of 650 cases were initially identified, and 97 cases were included in the final analysis. Eighty-four (86.6%) of the 97 defendants were general practitioners; 42 cases favored the plaintiff, 53 (54.6%) favored the defendant, 1 was partial win/loss, and 1 was settled. The annual case mean was 4.41 ± 2.17 (Mean ± SD). The major allegations favored for the patients involving paresthesia, root perforation, rubber dam not use, wrong tooth therapy, and infections. Plaintiffs who claimed with post-procedural reasons had a significantly higher winning rate than non-post-procedural reasons (P < 0.05). Conclusion: In the present study, 54.6% of endodontic litigation favored the dentists in the US. The authors recommend that general practitioners refer complicated cases to endodontists and treat carefully to avoid paresthesia, canal perforation and infections. Clinicians should always diagnose and treat correctly, shared decision making with the patient, use rubber dam routinely, and timely management to prevent malpractice claims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-381
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Dental Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Endodontics
  • Informed consent
  • Lawsuit
  • Litigation
  • Malpractice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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