Discussing Disturbances in the Taste Pathway and Dentists’ Professional Liability in Light of a Case Report

(Pages: 37-45)

Rini Maria Sofia1, Ambu Emanuele2 and D’Urso Diego3

1University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; Marconi University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2Tuscan School of Dental Medicine; University of Siena, Italy and 3University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30576/2414-2050.2017.03.6

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to illustrate, starting from a case report, the characteristics of taste disturbances and their possible legal implications for a dentist. Taste disorders are often overlooked, probably because of their limited impact on a person’s general health status. However, even though they are not particularly serious, taste disorders may impair a patient’s quality of life. Sometimes taste disturbances may be iatrogenic (either drug-induced or caused by traumas following surgery procedures). They are usually classified as either quantitative or qualitative with reference to a person’s specific sensitivity. Taste injuries, whether drug-induced or caused by surgery procedures, are interesting not only for their clinical aspects, but also for the aspects concerning dentists’ professional liability. In the case of professions such as wine-makers and tasters, these disorders cause serious problems that may lead to seeking compensation for damage. The most relevant issues in a dental medico-legal context are concerned with delay in diagnosis or failure to perform a diagnosis, or with deficiencies or alterations correlated with professional conducts allegedly unsuitable in the context of oral surgery, prescriptions, or drug interactions. However, events like these are difficult to evaluate because of their complexity; furthermore, they might have consequences either in civil law (seeking compensation) or in criminal law (actions for negligent personal injury).

Keywords: Taste disorders, Dentistry, Drugs, Systemic diseases, Professional liability.