Most dental practitioners are professionals that provide competent services to assist their patients with regular dental health care. However, even responsible dentists can, at times, make negligent mistakes that might give rise to a malpractice lawsuit. A dental malpractice lawsuit can arise from a number of injuries caused by the dentist or the dental staff, but for obvious reasons, most involve injury to the mouth, teeth, and throat.
Just as with medical malpractice suits, individuals who pursue dental malpractice suits are required to meet a high burden of proof to prove their case. Generally, there are fewer malpractice cases against dentists than doctors, but the devastating impact of an injury arising from a dentist’s negligence is no less serious for the patient suffering from the injury.
There are many potential types of injuries that can result from the negligence of a dentist, but when looking for any recent dental malpractice lawsuits, some dental lawsuits of malpractice are more common than other dental cases of malpractice lawsuits in the USA.
Bridges and Crowns
Damage to single crowns or bridges does not typically result in dental cases of malpractice lawsuits in the USA. However, when a procedure for a full mouth restoration (with multiple crowns or bridges) is undertaken without proper planning and experience, a dental practitioner might place the bridges or crowns in a manner that results in poor alignment or might use devices that are not the correct density, width, or size for the patient’s mouth. As a result, patients may be unable to use their mouth for chewing without discomfort, which results in a situation that could trigger a malpractice case against the dentist.
Because the mouth has so many nerves and nerve endings, we are able to feel pain in our mouths in nearly every area of our mouth, including in our teeth and gums. Naturally, a dentist’s work includes much work that surrounds these sensitive areas, and therefore, the dentist must work very carefully and precisely to avoid causing injuries to the nerves during any dental procedure. During any dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction or a root canal, it is possible for a dentist who is not using reasonable care in the procedure to cause damage to the nerves in the mouth. Typically, this is seen when the pain that was not present before the procedure is present even after the healing process following the procedure. If the dentist deviated from the standard of care during the procedure and the deviation caused an injury to the nerves, it is possible a malpractice claim could be sustained against the dental practitioner. If you are experiencing unresolved nerve pain as a result of a dental procedure, you may wish to consult with an attorney experienced with dental lawsuits of malpractice.
Many people have heard terrible stories about a doctor negligently amputating a healthy body part by mistake instead of the problematic or infected limb. Similarly, malpractice lawsuits can arise when a dentist removes a healthy tooth from a patient’s mouth instead of a problematic tooth that was agreed upon by the patient to be extracted. Alternatively, dental malpractice lawsuits also arise when extractions result in tooth fractures that cause nerve damage or infection when a shard of the tooth remains in the patient’s mouth.
The root canal procedure is dreaded by many, and can be painful and require a few days for recovery even when everything is done correctly. But, when a dentist does not use proper care when executing the procedure and makes errors during the procedure, an improperly completed procedure may result in residual pain or infection. In those cases, if the dentist’s failure to properly conduct the procedure was a cause of the pain or infection, a malpractice lawsuit can result.
Anesthesia and Pain Medication
Because dental procedures occur so close to many nerve endings, most are conducted with the use of some form of anesthesia. Novocain is a common local anesthetic that is injected into the area where dental work completed. Dental malpractice injection lawsuits usually stem from an incorrect dose of the anesthetic which leads to damage to the nerves or of the mouth. Additionally, some dental malpractice injection lawsuits center on the incorrect application of the anesthetic, or even apply to the wrong area of the mouth. Other types of anesthesia can also be used for dental procedures or dental surgeries, and in some situations, the patient may be put under full anesthesia for the procedure. Just as with other medical procedures, improper use of anesthesia can lead to serious problems and complications, including the death of the patient. While this is extremely rare, looking for any recent dental malpractice lawsuits reveals that these malpractice cases do arise from time to time. If you or a loved one have experienced complications related to the use of anesthesia in a dentist’s office, it is best to consult with an experienced dental malpractice attorney to have the facts of your case reviewed.
While the list above is not an exhaustive list, it does give a general idea of the most common types of dental malpractice lawsuits. Certainly, it is uncommon to have serious injuries following a dental procedure, and even if infection, nerve damage, or other injuries occur, it is not always as a result of the dental practitioner’s negligence. Each case is different and the facts surrounding any particular injury must be closely examined to determine whether the negligence of a dental professional contributed to the injury.
If you are a loved one have experienced complications, pain, or injury following any dental procedure or dental surgery, it is wise to seek advice from a dental malpractice attorney. An experienced attorney can help you to determine whether you have a viable claim against your dental practitioner and help you to preserve the necessary evidence to support your claim.