Common Dental Negligence Lawsuits
If you don’t attend the dentist for regular check-ups, when it comes to experiencing toothache or any other dental problems, you could be putting yourself at risk. The sudden onset of dental pain or issues with their teeth tends to cause panic.
If you don’t have a regular dentist that you trust, you may find yourself calling around every dentist in the local area to try and get seen. This often doesn’t afford you enough time to thoroughly check out the credentials and reputation of your chosen professional.
Dental negligence refers to avoidable injury that is caused by a dentist who fails to give patients proper care. Any case in which the professional has been negligent, performed poorly or inappropriately and as such, has caused avoidable harm to a patient could be considered dental negligence.
Here are some of the most common types of dental negligence lawsuits seen in the United States.
Complications from anesthetic
Most dental procedures require the use of a local anesthetic. This is usually provided in the form of an injection of Novocaine which numbs the soft tissue in and around the area to be worked on. In some cases, a general anesthetic which puts the patient to sleep may be required. However, before any anesthesia can be used, a dentist must review the patient’s medical history to ensure that there are no pre-existing health conditions that may increase the risk of side-effects or complications. If this doesn’t happen, the patient may experience an allergic reaction to the drug, or worse. Other complications that could arise from the use of anesthetic include the use of out-of-date drugs, misapplication and failure to work sufficiently.
Complications with crowns or bridges
Try as you might to keep your teeth as healthy as possible, there will almost certainly come a time when some sort of dental restoration is necessary. Crowns and bridges are two of the most common solutions for teeth that are badly damaged or decayed. Any sort of dental restoration requires planning if it is to look and feel natural, and function as it should. Unfortunately, if your dentist does not take the time to plan your treatment properly, or if he/she does not have the skills to deliver the restoration to the highest standard, you may experience problems. These could include poor alignment, incorrect sizing and uncomfortable fit.
Injury to oral nerves
Our mouths are full of nerves and nerve endings, and this means that when your dentist carries out work on your teeth and gums, he/she must be precise, so as not to cause damage. If you choose a dentist who does not have the knowledge or experience necessary to be able to carry out work without damaging these nerves, you could experience a range of unusual and even painful sensations in and around your mouth.
Failure to diagnose or Misdiagnosis
Even though dentists are supposed to be comprehensively trained to identify, diagnose and treat dental problems in a timely manner, there are occasions where things may get missed. This is particularly true if you choose an inexperienced or otherwise sub-standard dentist.
In other cases, a poor-quality dentist may misdiagnose a problem, and you may end up having treatment that you did not require. This could cause unnecessary pain and expense.
Complications arising from a tooth extraction
If a tooth is so badly damaged or decayed that it cannot be saved, or if you have a tooth that has become impacted, your dentist may have no alternative but to remove it. There are a number of things which could potentially go wrong during a planned extraction including:
- Your tooth coming apart during the extraction
- Nerve damage
- Fragments of tooth left in the gum, which can cause infection
- Wound infection during the healing process
- Wrong tooth extracted
If you suffer a complication as a result of a problem during routine a tooth extraction due to the incompetence of your dentist, you may have a case for dental negligence.
Injuries sustained from root canal surgery
Root canal may be one of the most dreaded phrases in dentistry, but modern techniques and tools mean that it is a safe and relatively simple procedure – if done properly. While a little bit of pain is to be expected for at least a few days after your procedure, if it persists then you may have an underlying infection or problem that is beyond what is expected.
Infections from lack of sterility
Sterility is just as important in a dentist’s office as it is in a hospital operating room. Unfortunately, when stringent sterility checks aren’t carried out, it puts patients at risk of developing a painful and sometimes debilitating infection. If you have any reason to believe that the cleanliness of your dentist’ office was below par, and you have experienced complications after an invasive procedure, your dentist could be liable.
No-one should die as a result of a dental treatment, but very occasionally, things go wrong that mean that a patient becomes fatally unwell after a procedure. In most cases, death results from the dentist’s failure to adequately assess the patient’s suitability for the procedure or treatment. This can mean that the wrong drugs are administered, or the procedure has gone ahead despite the patient being an unsuitable candidate. If you have lost a loved one and you believe that their dental treatment contributed to their death, you need the advice of an experienced dental malpractice lawyer.
If you are concerned that you or someone you love has been involved in dental treatment that has had a less than desirable outcome, and you can prove that your professional did not fulfill their duty of care, you should seek the advice of an experienced dental lawyer. Our team has worked with hundreds of patients who have received sub-standard care and helped them to attain fair financial compensation for their pain and suffering.
To schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with our team of dedicated professionals, please do not hesitate to get in touch.