What are Common Reasons for Dental Malpractice Cases?

What are Common Reasons for Dental Malpractice Cases?

Like all medical professionals, dentists have a high level of responsibility to treat their patients with compassion and care. However, like all medical professionals, dental care professionals also make mistakes occasionally. In rare cases, mistakes can lead to injury, pain, and suffering to a dental patient; this could also pave the way to grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit.

So What Exactly Is Dental Malpractice?

Unfortunately, some dentists fail to respect the law or otherwise jeopardize the safety and dental health of their clients. The types of injuries that a client might sustain may range from something relatively minor to something serious, such as a fatality.

Dentists are held to a strict set of rules. Their conduct is limited in many ways. Generally speaking, dentists are required to act ethically and to employ reasonable and safe procedures to meet their patients’ needs. Dentists are doctors, much like medical doctors such as physicians. Millions of people each day place their trust and confidence in a dental practitioner. Dentists are expected to be well versed in the latest and safest dental procedures. They are expected to abide by the law and work within the confines of what we would expect a medical doctor to work in.

What is Considered Malpractice for a Dentist?

Since malpractice has a legal definition, there’s are particular cases that constitute dental malpractice. The dental treatment provided to you by a dental care professional has to not only be substandard care but also must have caused severe personal injury; otherwise, it can’t be considered malpractice. In cases where a person seeks compensation for dental malpractice that doesn’t meet these requirements, their case will be dismissed. That being said, this doesn’t mean that dental malpractice doesn’t occur.

Although an individual patent can represent him or herself in a dental malpractice action, many people advise against it. The applicable laws may be quite complicated. Most non-specialists have little to no understanding of the law, making self-representation undesirable. Given that attorneys are so plentiful, there is no reason not to consult with a dental malpractice attorney. In many cases, dental malpractice attorneys offer free consultations.

Common Cases of Dental Malpractice

Many dental malpractice cases stem from nerve injuries affecting a patient’s ability to taste or control their jaw, while others stem from the faulty maintenance of crowns or bridges. Others include the improper use of anesthesia, the unnecessary removal of teeth, failure to extract the correct tooth, and even errors in a dentist’s documenting a patient’s medical history.

Examples of Dental Malpractice Claims

  1. Oral Cancer: Failure to accurately diagnose oral cancer or perform an incisional biopsy can result in loss of portions of the neck, jaw, and tongue.
  2. Nerve injuries of the jaw, lips & tongue (Parathesia): While performing a dental procedure such as extractions or implants, injury to the nerves can occur causing temporary or permanent nerve damage with related symptoms such as numbness, taste alterations, burning or tingling sensation, slurred speech, drooling, constant biting of tongue, the inability to open jaw, and permanent residual pain.
  3. Anesthesia Injuries & Death: Failure to diagnose a patient’s condition before performing a dental procedure and unsafe administration of general or local anesthesia can result in serious injury or death.
  4. Infections: Failure to properly administer antibiotics can lead to severe infection resulting in injuries and even death.
  5. Gum disease (Periodontics)Failure to accurately diagnose and treat gum disease can result in the unnecessary loss of teeth.
  6. Root canal (Endodontics)Failure to properly perform a root canal can result in injuries such as nerve damage, chronic pain, and careless breakage of dental instruments. Pain and loss of a tooth can occur.
  7. Braces (Orthodontics)Failure to properly monitor the pressure placed upon the teeth during movement can result in resorbed roots and unnecessary loss of teeth.
  8. Implants: Improper technique can cause permanent nerve damage, severe pain and/or parathesia (permanent numbness).
  9. Crowns & Bridges (Prosthetics): Improper placement of crowns & bridges & laminate veneers can cause: gum irritation and infection, the need for replacement of all the crowns and/or veneers, the need for root canals, TMJ dysfunction and pain, recurrent decay leading to unnecessary loss of teeth, bleeding, swelling and infection.
  10. Botox & Restylane: Failure to properly administer cosmetic Botox & Restylane can result in serious permanent injuries and disfigurement.

Are You A Victim Of Dental Malpractice?

Always remember that bringing a viable dental malpractice suit against a negligent dentist will ensure that you are that dentist’s last victim. If the dentist’s dereliction is minor, a lawsuit ensures that the dental practitioner behaves more responsibly in the future. After all, it is not entirely unheard of for a dentist whose performance is riddled with minor cases of negligence to eventually commit a massive dereliction resulting in a patient’s death.

It is essential to contact a licensed and qualified attorney who handles dental malpractice cases when you think you might have been the victim of dental malpractice. Dental malpractice attorneys are aware of the applicable laws. They typically have a solid grasp of the dental malpractice laws that apply in your particular jurisdiction. Most importantly, a qualified and licensed dental malpractice attorney can tell you whether or not you have a dental malpractice case and the likely outcome, should he or she determine that you have a viable dental malpractice claim.

Even though many dental malpractice suits are filed in courts around the country, the vast majority of these cases settle outside of court and, in some cases, before trial. The amount of the settlement can vary due to the number of factors affecting the amount of compensation. The extent of damages or injuries to the patient is a prominent factor. The extent of the dentist’s breach of duty and the dentist’s past performance are also essential factors that may have an impact on the amount negotiated for.

Contact a dental malpractice lawyer today to help you ascertain whether or not you have suffered an injury for which the law provides a remedy. If you have suffered some injury because of your dentist’s malpractice, you may be entitled to recover.

This post & this website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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