Improving patient safety through a clinical audit spiral: Prevention of wrong tooth extraction in orthodontics

M Anwar H Khan, D. Waring

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Introduction With an increasing demand to improve patient safety within the NHS, it is important to ensure that measures are undertaken to continually improve patient care. Wrong site surgery has been defined as a 'never event'. This article highlights the importance of preventing wrong tooth extraction within orthodontics through an audit spiral over five years investigating the accuracy and clarity of orthodontic extraction letters at the University Dental Hospital of Manchester.Aims To examine compliance with the standards for accuracy and clarity of extraction letters and the incidence of wrong tooth extractions, and to increase awareness of the errors that can occur with extraction letters and of the current guidelines.Method A retrospective audit was conducted examining extraction letters sent to clinicians outside the department.Results It can be seen there has been no occurrence of a wrong site tooth extraction. The initial audit highlighted issues in conformity, with it falling below expected standards. Cycle two generally demonstrated a further reduction in compliance. Cycle three appeared to result in an increase in levels of compliance. Cycles 4 and 5 have demonstrated gradual improvements. However, it is noteworthy that in all cycles the audit standards were still not achieved, with the exception of no incidences of the incorrect tooth being extracted.Conclusion This audit spiral demonstrates the importance of long term re-audit to aim to achieve excellence in clinical care. There has been a gradual increase in standards through each audit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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