Common Dental Malpractice Cases

dental malpractice scottsdale az

No-one likes to think about a dental procedure going wrong, but the fact is that there are incidents whereby they do. Whether you have spent a considerable amount of time researching different professionals to ensure you choose one with the best possible reputation and experience, or you have been a little more relaxed with the process, you still deserve to have the best possible dental experience. Nevertheless, dentists and dental specialists such as orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons are only human, and this means that from time to time, errors do occur. If the error in your dental procedure arises from something your professional has done or has failed to do, you could have a case for dental malpractice.

What is dental malpractice?

Dental malpractice, also sometimes referred to as dental negligence, refers to an avoidable injury caused by a dentist who has failed to show due diligence in the course of their work. This could be for a wide range of different reasons, but generally, any cases whereby a dentist has performed poorly, negligently or inappropriately which has resulted in avoidable harm being caused to a patient could lead to a dental malpractice claim.

Common dental malpractice cases

Dental malpractice cases can take many different forms, and each is unique to the individual patient affected. Nevertheless, some types of dental malpractice claim are more common than others. Below are three of the most regularly seen varieties of dental negligence cases in the United States.

Delayed or incorrect diagnosis

A delayed or incorrect dental diagnosis could have extremely serious consequences for a patient. As you might expect, a delayed diagnosis is when a dental professional takes an abnormally long time to diagnose the problem, delaying essential dental treatment. An incorrect diagnosis, also referred to as a false diagnosis or misdiagnosis, occurs when the dental problem is misjudged. This can lead to symptoms worsening and even unnecessary treatment.

Nerve injuries

Nerves are present throughout our body, including in our mouth and jaw. There are a number of nerves that can potentially be damaged during dental procedures, but two are more often injured than others – the inferior alveolar nerve and the lingual nerve. Lingual nerve injuries typically occur during wisdom teeth extraction while inferior alveolar nerve injuries can occur during the placement of dental implants, root canal treatment and during the removal of wisdom teeth.

Nerve injuries can have consequences for patients that include:

  • Strange sensations in the mouth, chin, lips and face

  • Varying degrees of pain

  • Drooling

  • Impaired speech

  • Loss of taste or altered taste

Cosmetic dentistry problems

Although the vast majority of cosmetic dentistry procedures are successful, unfortunately there are some that do not yield the desired outcome. This can result in health problems, scarring and emotional trauma that can have a major impact on a patient’s life. There are many different issues that can arise during cosmetic dentistry which could occur due to negligence or substandard dental work. This includes:

  • Loose restorations, such as crowns and veneers

  • Badly-fitting orthodontic solutions

  • Sub-standard fitting of porcelain veneers

  • Poor quality teeth whitening

  • Injury to other oral structures as a result of a cosmetic dentistry procedure

Mismanaged anesthesia

Anesthesia is commonly used during dental procedures to help prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. However, anesthesia isn’t something that can be administered by just any dentist and careful management is essential. The mismanagement of anesthesia during a dental procedure is one of the three potentially deadly risks involved in dentistry. Patients could have a reaction of an overdose of local anesthetic resulting in problems. The issues here are usually fairly mild but may still be a result of negligence. However, if a patient is being put under a general anesthetic and errors occur with managing the anesthesia correctly, this could result in serious and potentially fatal consequences including neurological difficulties, brain injury, spinal cord damage and even death.

If you have undergone a dental procedure and have subsequently had repercussions that you believe are due to dental malpractice, you could be entitled to compensation for the trauma and suffering you have experienced. This could help cover the cost of any rectifying dental treatments or future care you may need. For a no-obligation case review by our experienced dental malpractice attorneys, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today.