Medical malpractice is typically associated with doctors, but dentist and other dental specialists can also commit medical errors and be held liable for the injuries they cause to their patients. As with a medical physician, patients expect to receive professional care when they are seen by a dentist. A dentist’s office should be kept clean and properly sanitized, and when it comes to the care of a patient, dentists must follow the standard of care for the dental condition they are treating. Whether you are seeing a dentist, orthodontist, or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, as a patient you expect and deserve to receive skilled, quality treatment for your dental needs. If you have undergone a dental procedure that resulted in an injury because of negligence, you may be able to file a dental malpractice claim.
Although some instances of dental malpractice are fairly evident, others are not as obvious. Nevertheless, if you suspect that your dental practitioner deviated from the standard of care of their field during a procedure, call our attorneys at Novo Law Firm PC. We’ll be able to clarify any questions or concerns you may have and let you know if you have a case. If you wish to know more about cases of dental malpractice, read on as we cover some of the most common treatments where dental errors can occur.
Common cases of dental malpractice
Within dentistry there are a number of procedures that can end in dental malpractice. From a basic cleaning to a root canal—dental treatments come in many forms as does the potential for dental errors. Some of the most common patient injuries have come about as a result of dental malpractice in one of the following areas:
Failure to diagnose
Some people face regular dental checkups with dread, certain that their dentist is going to find a problem. Indeed, it is always a great relief when a dentist reports that there are no issues with your teeth and gums. There are some cases, however, where a clean bill of dental health is actually an indication that your dentist has overlooked a problem. Unfortunately, many dental issues that are not diagnosed and treated in their early stages can lead to pain, damage, and other complications in the future. This is especially true of periodontal disease.
Endodontic is a specialized field within dentistry that treats the center nerves and tissues of a tooth known as the dental pulp. The endodontic procedure known to most people is the root canal which involves treating an infected dental pulp as an alternative to extracting the tooth entirely. Because of the sensitive nerves and tissues that make up the dental pulp, endodontic procedures can be very delicate. An error or misstep can lead to damage to gums and jaw as well as painful infections that can result in losing the tooth after all.
Ideally, most of us would like to keep our teeth for a lifetime. Unfortunately, because of excessive tooth decay, infection, or overcrowding, it may be necessary to remove a tooth. The physical mechanics involved in a tooth extraction are such that they require the utmost skill and care. After all, during removal a dentist is essentially prying out a tooth from a bone socket with forceps. However, if the procedure is rushed through or if the extraction does not go as planned, the patient can suffer painful injures such as infection, nerve damage, or even a fractured jaw.
There are many options available for dentists to provide virtually pain-free treatment to their patients. Depending on what procedure they will perform, dentists can use short-acting local anesthetics or general anesthesia for longer procedures. In addition, some dentists can sedate overly-anxious or nervous patients so that they can relax during their dental treatment. It is important to note, however, that with any anesthesia there are risks involved and dentists must adhere to strict guidelines when administering any kind of anesthetic. Failure to do so can lead to nerve damage, hematoma, toxicity, or other complications.
As you can see, there are a wide range of injuries that can occur during any dental treatment if the dentist performing the procedure does not use proper care. Unfortunately, a dentist’s error can mean that multiple remedial procedures will be necessary to fix the damage, if the injury sustained is indeed reparable. If you have been injured during a dental procedure as a result of your dental practitioner’s negligence or deviation from the standard of care required for their field, contact Novo Law Firm PC. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling malpractice claims and will make sure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.