Patients put their oral health in the hands of their dentists every time they go to their office. A dentist can perform procedures that are cosmetic and designed to whiten teeth, as well as fill cavities and prevent gum disease. If a dentist fails to do their job and does not help their patients they could find themselves guilty of dental malpractice.
Types of Dental Procedures
Medical procedures that involve the mouth, jaw, or teeth are types of dental procedures. One of the most common dental procedures is filings. Dentists remove decay and damaged areas of teeth prior to filling the tooth with resin or metal material. Tooth extractions, when a dentist removes a tooth, can also be performed. A dentist may even be required to cut through the gum line to remove broken teeth that are hidden inside the gum. Most of these procedures require that a patient receive laughing gas or a numbing agent to relax them and lessen the pain.
Potential Side Effects of Oral Surgery
Two of the possible side effects of oral surgery are pain and inflammation. Depending on the surgery, the side effects usually lessen after a few days or a week. There are some patients that may find that their incisions will continue to bleed and their pain worsens. There can be other issues that arise, such as if the dentist administers too much laughing gas, swelling of the brain and other issues can result that may require surgery or other treatments to fix.
Negligence and Malpractice by Dentists
There are several different ways dentists can be guilty of negligence or malpractice.
- Physical neglect – when the dentist leaves a patient unattended. In these cases a dentists may be under a type of anesthesia and leaves the patent alone or the dentists could allow someone who does not have a medical license perform the procedure (such as a dental assistant or dental hygienist). Neglect can also be related to when a patient feels like the dentist has not done everything possible to assist him or her.
- Malpractice by the dentist – malpractice occurs when a dentist has made an error. These cases often involve medications prescribed by dentists to patients. Patients could experience side effects or the medications interact with those that they are currently taking. Errors can also occur in the office or operating room, such as removing the wrong tooth or not providing the patient with enough anesthesia, possibly leaving the patient awake and intense pain.
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