When treatment provided by a dental health care professional does not meet the acceptable standard of care, and as a result the patient sustains an injury, then dental malpractice has occurred. Most dentists work hard to ensure that their patients are well cared for, however many mistakes do happen that could have been prevented.
Types of dental malpractice include:
- Failing to inform a patient of the available treatment options and the risks and benefits associated with each.
- Failing to refer the patient to a specialist.
- Negligently failing to diagnose oral cancer or periodontal disease properly.
- Improperly placing dental implants, resulting in nerve damage.
- Incorrectly using dental anesthesia that results in complication or death.
- Faulty root canals, crown, implants, veneers, or bridges that result in injury and infections to the jaw, face and gums.
- Faulty restorations resulting in tooth loss.
- Failing to perform a complete and thorough oral exam.
- Using faulty materials or products.
- Medication errors.
Types of injuries victims of dental malpractice may suffer from include:
- Numbness and nerve damage to the face, lip, jaw or tongue
- Chronic, debilitating pain
- Wrong diagnosis
- Extractions that weren’t necessary
- Loss of teeth
- Loss of bone support
- Oral infections
- Failure to diagnose conditions
- Loss of taste
- Gum disease
When commencing a medical malpractice lawsuit it is important that a complete copy of a patient’s dental records be obtained. The records belong to the patient and they are entitled to them under the law. Some of those records may be kept in the dental chart and will need to be requested separately. X-rays should also be duplicated and obtain along with progress notes, copies of prescriptions, copies of referral slips, copy of the patient’s account history, etc.
The plaintiff will also need to hire a specialist in the relevant dental field to act an expert. Experts work with the attorneys to determine if the patient’s injuries were due to malpractice and if they were how the malpractice resulted in injury. Dental experts will study the patients dental records, perform research to understand the issues, work with the attorneys to determine a strategy, investigate the potential defendants, draft documents to file with the court, and help to manage the patient’s lawsuit to ensure that s/he receives the help needed to recover damages for their injuries.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.