Each year, dental malpractice causes issues for thousands of people throughout the world. In fact, at least five percent of all medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against dentists. There are over 200,000 dentists practicing in the United States and seeing on average 2,500 patients per year.
That means that around 500 million people end up in a dentist’s chair each year. Most of these patients are lucky enough to receive wonderful care. However, many also suffer severe, or even fatal injuries due to dental malpractice.
Dentists all-round such as general dentists, specialized dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, and orthodontists are obligated by law to deliver an exemplary standard of patient care. That is why if a dentist has caused you or a loved one injury due to negligence, you will likely be entitled to compensation.
What is Dental Malpractice?
Dental malpractice involves injury to a patient from an existing dental condition that has been worsened due to incompetence or negligence of the dental professional treating you. Sometimes, dental malpractice can involve your life being endangered due to inappropriate advice being given about your condition.
Dentists are expected to provide dental treatment with a duty of care towards you. If this is not the case, then your dentist could be in big trouble.
Common Types of Dental Malpractice
Below are the most common dental treatments involved in malpractice lawsuits.
- Dental implants- Injury in the form of infections, lost implants, and inadequate follow-up care.
- Extractions- Issues with getting a tooth pulled include nerve damage, injections, mouth tissues, perforations, and sinus damage.
- Endodontic procedures- Injuries from root canals and other endodontic procedures can include infections, nerve damage, sinus damage, dental instruments remaining in the canal, and blocked blood vessels.
- Dental infections- Infections following procedures can lead to cardiac complications, brain abscesses, blood poisoning, and may sometimes need hospitalizations and/or surgical intervention.
- Oral cancer- If a dentist fails to diagnose mouth cancer in time, this can be fatal to the patient.
- Periodontal disease- Malpractice lawsuits from periodontal disease usually stem from the dentist’s inability to diagnose and treat the disease.
- Crowns and Bridges- Crowns and bridges that have been placed improperly can result in an inability to chew, unsightly gaps, infections, and more.
- Dental anesthesia- When wrongfully administered, anesthesia is the leading cause of dental malpractice resulting in death to adult and child patients.
- Orthodontics- Poorly installed braces and other corrective forms of treatment can result in tooth loss, root complications, and infections.
Find Evidence to Support Your Claim
When you’re ready to create your claim, it is crucial to have evidence. Begin gathering proof of malpractice as soon as possible including the scope of your injuries as soon as you recognize that something is wrong. Sufficient evidence to support your claim includes:
- Lost wages- If you have had to miss time from work due to your injury, ask your employer to put together a lost wages statement.
- Medical records- If you can get verification of your injuries from either another dentist or a doctor, this can be pertinent for your claim. You have every right to request copies of your dental chart, x-rays, and any other records from the dentist. Ensure that you request copies of all related medical and dental records as well as bills.
- Potential witnesses- If possible, get your family and friends to provide written statements of your condition before and after the dental procedure in question.
- Photographs- Take sufficient photos and videos of any swelling, disfigurement, or oddities pertaining to the injury/dental procedure.
- Communications- Keep copies of any/all instruction sheets from the dentist in question along with any copies of information/authorization forms you had to sign. Make detailed notes of everything the dentist or staff said before, during, and after you were injured.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
If your injuries are serious and you’re thinking of filing a lawsuit, you will need an attorney to prepare and file a complaint with the state board of dentistry. While you can do it on your own, having someone do it for you is quicker, easier, and far more thorough. Your attorney will always protect your best interest.
Family dentists, oral surgeons, and other kinds of dental care providers all have malpractice insurance. The companies providing malpractice insurance will go as far as possible to ensure that you don’t receive a single cent of compensation. Luckily, you never have to fight this alone.
The Bottom Line
When you have a good attorney in your corner, you will always have help on your side. With dental malpractice mistakes running rampant in the current world, it is more crucial than ever to have professional help when you need it. If you believe you’ve fallen victim to dental malpractice, be sure to reach out to these medical negligence attorneys based in Florida with offices throughout the U.S., you will have all the help you need and more.