Orthodontics gone wrong – Do I have a dental malpractice case?
Orthodontics is the specialist branch of dentistry that focuses on the correction of the teeth and jaws when they are positioned improperly and are causing functional and often cosmetic issues. Orthodontic treatment is extremely common and has become a routine practice in dentistry. One of the most common elements of orthodontics is the use of braces, and it is estimated that around 4 million Americans currently wear conventional braces. In addition to this, there are other types of treatment including other special fixed appliances, removable aligners such as Invisalign, retainers, and jaw repositioning appliances. In some cases, extractions may be needed before orthodontic treatment can begin.
Unfortunately, just like any other medical or dental treatment, there is always the potential for your orthodontics to go wrong. This usually happens in one of two ways. Either your orthodontist will make an error in your treatment, or will fail to take appropriate action during treatment, preventing it from being successful or causing injury.
If your orthodontic treatment goes wrong, it can have significant consequences for your oral health, your appearance and even your day to day life. Your orthodontist is held to the same competency standards as any other medical professional, and if they fall short of that standard in any way, they could be held accountable for any resulting damages. This means that you could have a dental malpractice case.
Examples of orthodontics gone wrong
There are a variety of different ways in which orthodontics can potentially go wrong. Here are some of the most common examples.
Braces. Braces place the teeth and jaw under continued force. If your orthodontist fails to apply your braces incorrectly or doesn’t monitor your treatment properly, this can lead to problems with your oral health including gum disease, dental decay, and incorrect tooth positioning. There is a greater risk of complications that could lead require you to have corrective treatment in the future. Wearing braces for too long also puts patients at risk of complications.
Root resorption. Root resorption is one of the most common issues that arise from orthodontics. It is characterized by the body destroying the tooth’s root surface and is a normal part of losing our infant's teeth. However, orthodontic treatment can also trigger some degree of root resorption in permanent teeth. This is because if the process happens too quickly, the teeth or bone may dissolve the roots rather than altering the bone to accommodate the moving tooth.
Failure to diagnose periodontal disease. Cleaning your teeth properly is definitely the hardest thing about wearing braces as negotiating the brackets, wires, and bands can be extremely challenging. Despite the best efforts of the wearer, some food debris is inevitably left behind, and this can lead to the formation of plaque, which, left untreated then puts the patient at risk of developing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be reversed. If it isn’t spotted either before or during orthodontic treatment, it can lead to periodontal disease which causes irreversible damage to teeth and oral health. It can even put you at risk of tooth loss.
Teeth are still misaligned after orthodontic treatment. In some cases, patients find that their teeth and/or jaw are still misaligned after their orthodontic treatment. If this is the case, you will almost certainly experience a range of debilitating problems that affect your ability to use your teeth properly from day to day. This includes pain, damage to teeth that are under pressure against one another, issues with biting and chewing and more.
Do I have an orthodontic dental malpractice claim?
Every patient and case are entirely unique, and it is impossible to say whether or not you have a case for dental malpractice based on orthodontic treatment gone wrong without your case being reviewed. Our experienced dental malpractice team understands the duty of care that dental practitioners have to their patients and have extensive experience in dealing with cases where treatments haven’t gone to plan.
If you think that you may have a dental malpractice claim, get in touch with our knowledgeable legal team who will be happy to review your case and advise you if you could be entitled to compensation and what you need to do next to ensure that you receive the appropriate award for the injuries and damages that you have sustained. Call us today on (602) 833-4200 to schedule your free case evaluation.