Like other healthcare providers, dentists and dental assistants or hygienists can be liable for medical malpractice. This is because these dental professionals are performing healthcare services to patients and have a duty to exercise that requisite skill and knowledge of a reasonably prudent dental professional under similar circumstances. This is known as a duty of care. When a dental professional fails to do this, he or she will be liable for any damages caused by the breach of duty.
There are several types of dental malpractice claims that are important to know which may result in dental malpractice. They include the following:
Botched Root Canal Procedures
Everyone fears a root canal procedure. They are a mythical procedure which comes with serious pain and suffering. The only thing worse than undergoing a root canal procedure is undergoing several root canal procedures to fix a botched procedure. Thus, if a root canal is done wrong, a competent dentist may have to go back into the tooth and fix what was initially done, drill deeper, or redo the filling (the post and core) of the root canal. Reshaping of the tooth may be necessary and a new crown may be required to be put on the tooth. For very serious instances of root canal mistakes, an infection of the gums or jaw bone could occur requiring removal of the bone or of the tooth.
Failure to Diagnose Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease can lead to horrific results, including the loss of almost all or all of a person’s teeth. However, luckily, periodontal disease is very treatable if diagnosed early and there is strong dental intervention. This can help ensure that a patient’s mouth is protected from harm and guarded from this serious health condition. But when there are clear signs of periodontal disease and no diagnosis or treatment, the ramifications can be irreversible and downright devastating. This is dental malpractice.
Improper Wisdom Tooth or Other Tooth Extractions
Getting your wisdom tooth pulled can invoke fear in most people—especially young adults who may need to undergo this procedure. Most of the time this procedure goes through without any problems. However, unfortunately there can be very serious and permanent health consequences and injuries. This includes dry-socketing, which can occur if the area of the extraction is not sutured properly. This can lead to many infections and a lot of pain. More commonly is nerve damage from a tooth extraction, particularly a bottom jaw wisdom tooth. The roots of the bottom wisdom teeth are very close to the facial nerves just under the bone, which can result in trauma to the nerve if pulled improperly.
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