Charting is the most tedious, time-consuming, non-productive waste of time for any dentist. At least that’s what I used to think, before I spent several months in federal prison—a sentence I could have been spared if I’d realized the chart is the most important document a dentist can have in his possession if he is ever the subject of an insurance audit, malpractice claim, legal action or any other kind of challenge.
A dentist’s clinical record speaks volumes and can exonerate or condemn him. It testifies to competence and attention to detail—or a complete disregard for the treatment of the patient. It is worth the time and effort to construct a complete, concise and comprehensive record of every single patient, a record that should include dialogue and pertinent conversations, a description of the setting and what was observed and a description of the actions of both dentist and patient. When it is read, this record should leave no questions unanswered and provide the reader the thorough story of what happened. Failing to do so may lead to a significant loss of income—and even a loss of your freedom.