Dental deaths in Italy as reported by online press articles

Margherita Minoli, Giacomo Zechini, Paolo Capparé, Giovanni Landoni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: Mortality on the dental chair is a rare and underreported event. This study aimed to identify all deaths that occurred during dental procedures in Italy. Methods: We searched PubMed/Medline, Scopus, and Internet archives looking for patients who died before, during, or after a dental procedure in Italy from 1990 to 2019. Results: All the 36 identified fatal events were reported by national or regional newspapers, and none was reported by scientific databases. Interestingly, no cases regarding patients ≤16 years old were found and there was no variation in the number of reported deaths over the years. Most of the cases (n = 29) occurred in out-of-hospital private dental offices. Tooth extraction represented the most frequent culprit operation (39%), while myocardial infarction (28%) was the leading cause of death, followed by cardiac arrest (25%), allergies (11%), and infections (8%). In four cases, death was preprocedural, in 10 intraprocedural and in 21 postprocedural. In 17 cases, a temporal association between injection of anesthesia/sedation and death was observed. Conclusion: This is the first report on Italian dental procedure-related deaths. Most of these deaths were only temporally associated with a dental procedure and could not to be attributed to malpractice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-864
Number of pages7
JournalOral Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020


  • anesthesia
  • death
  • dental disease
  • dentistry
  • mortality
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)


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