Perianesthetic dental injuries: Analysis of incident reports

Navot Givol, Yael Gershtansky, Talia Halamish-Shani, Shlomo Taicher, Azriel Perel, Eran Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study objective To conduct a retrospective analysis of incident reports concerning dental injury, the most common cause for litigation against anesthesiologists, to determine specific risk factors that will help in formulating a risk reduction strategy for this clinical problem. Design Retrospective chart review of a large professional liability insurer. Interventions Of 40 hospitals that report to the MRM Co. as part of the professional liability insurance, during the years 1992-1999, 18 hospitals reported dental injury. A Maxillofacial surgeon (GN) and an anesthesiologist (ES), using a structured form, reviewed the reports. Evaluation of the cost of injury was determined from the patient's claims or from an evaluation of rehabilitation plan constructed by the maxillofacial surgery consultants to the company. Measurements and main results There were 203 incidents due to dental injury. The patients were most commonly in their 5th to 7 th decade. Eighty six percent of the injured teeth were the upper incisors. Lower incisors were more likely to be injured during an urgent intubation, or due to airway manipulation other than intubation. (i.e., oral airway insertion) In only 38 (18.6%) cases was there a previous assessment of an expected difficult intubation. Dentition was judged to be pathological in 32% of the patients. Conclusions In elective intubation, the teeth most likely to be injured are the upper incisors, in patients aged 50-70 years. In most cases dental injury is not associated with a pre-event prediction of difficult intubation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Anesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Anesthesia
  • dental injury
  • dental trauma
  • general
  • intubation: complications


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