Most of us don’t particularly like going to the dentist, but we trust that they know what they’re doing and will do a good job. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Just like anyone else, dentists can make mistakes. We’ve talked in previous posts about medical malpractice – an accident or incident caused by the negligence of a medical professional. Well, a related type of malpractice can occur at the dentist’s office. If your last trip to the dentist resulted in undue pain and suffering caused by the negligence of the dentist or his or her staff, you may be a victim of dental malpractice.
Below are some of the common dental malpractice claims that personal injury lawyers typically handle:
Issues with Anesthesia
If you undergo a painful dental procedure, you may find yourself begging for anesthesia. Unfortunately, anesthesia comes with its own risks.
Most of the possible side effects of anesthesia are uncomfortable – the inability to blink, a quick moment of your heartbeat racing, and so on. But if the needle used to inject anesthesia hits a nerve in the wrong way, it can cause nerve damage and numbness that lasts for months. And that’s only one of the possible issues. Dentists receive training to administer anesthesia properly, and failing to do so is considered malpractice.
Failure to Diagnose When Symptoms Are Present
As with any area of your health, if symptoms go unchecked, they can escalate and cause big problems. The same goes for dental diseases.
If you visit the dentist and they fail to notice periodontal disease, oral cancer, or something similar, you may be able to argue that they were negligent in their duties. On the flip side, misdiagnosis is also considered dental malpractice if you are put through unnecessary procedures.
Unnecessary/Unwarranted Delays in Treatment
Are you the type of person who just wants to get your dental procedures over with? Or do you procrastinate as long as you can?
If you want the procedure over with, you know the frustrations of rescheduled or delayed treatments. Not only is this inconvenient, it can also be harmful. Like the early diagnoses of oral diseases, catching and treating other oral problems quickly (tooth decay, issues with tartar that can lead to gum disease, and more) is the best way to prevent future issues.
If errors or negligence-related factors cause delays in your treatments, you may have a lawsuit on your hands.
Infections from Improperly Sterilized Equipment
There are a lot of metal objects that go in your mouth at a typical dental visit, and a lot of patients that those objects have touched before.
Sterilization is important in any area of the medical profession, but especially so in dental procedures because our mouths are renowned germ factories. Failure to sterilize equipment can cause diseases to spread, or infections to develop after a treatment.
Lack of Oversight of Employees
Just like the doctor’s office, a visit to the dentist’s office includes talking and examinations by multiple people. If any of the hygienists or other employees of the practice commit malpractice, you may be able to bring up the dentist’s negligence in overseeing or training his or her employees properly.
Unnecessarily Extracting Teeth
If you’ve ever seen a dentist’s bill, you know how quickly treatments for each tooth add up. Sometimes, a dentist will want to go forward with removing teeth even if it is unnecessary to do so.
But each of those removals (as well as the possibility of replacing them) will add up. If you find out those teeth did not need to be removed (or were removed without your consent), you may be able to be compensated the amount you paid to have them extracted.
Lack of Informed Consent
You should be aware of all the risks you face during your procedure, and asked to consent to the procedure. For example, if a dentist administers anesthesia without your consent and knowledge, you may be able to sue on the grounds that you did not give informed consent.
A dental malpractice claim is very similar to any other medical malpractice claim. When you go to court, you must have evidence of the dentist’s negligence. You must also prove that the negligence caused the health issues or incidents for which you seek compensation. Talk to a dental malpractice lawyer today by emailing or calling (800) 762-9300 to discuss the merits of your case. You can also simply fill out one of our case intake forms and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.