It is extremely important for people to keep up with their regular dental cleanings and checkups so they can properly maintain good oral health. When a dentist or oral surgeon fails to provide a standard level of care, and as a result seriously injures or kills their patient, then the victim or the surviving family members may qualify for a personal injury claim against the liable party.
Dental malpractice is a real issue that all patients have to look out for, the same as medical malpractice. Dental malpractice refers to medical malpractice for an injury resulting from negligent dental work, failure to diagnose or treat a hazardous condition, delayed diagnosis or treatment of oral disease, or any intentional misconduct on the part of the dentist.
In order for an individual to have a dental malpractice claim, they must be able to prove that the dentist either unintentionally failed to provide the acceptable standard of care that any other dentist would have performed, or they must have intentionally committed an act that no other reasonable oral health care provider would have committed if they were in the same situation.
In addition to providing you with the acceptable standard of care, your oral health provider is not supposed to provide any additional services that are beyond your informed consent. Any treatment that is provided must not exceed the consent that you have already given to your oral health care practitioner. If the treatment that you received exceeded the consent that you gave, you may have grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit.
Dental work cannot be guaranteed; therefore, you can not necessarily sue just because you did not like your results. Dental malpractice suits can be brought against the practitioner only when they have failed to uphold the acceptable standard of care, or when they have provided treatment that exceeded your informed consent. It must be proven that the dental professional’s incompetence or negligence caused your injury. There have been cases where a dental professional has intentionally harmed a patient, where other times the injury was unintentional, but nonetheless was caused by dental negligence.
Dental malpractice is no joke. People can sustain permanent or temporary injuries to the nerves of the lips, chin, tongue and jaw. Victims can experience temporary or permanent numbness or loss of taste sensation and, they can experience Temporomandibular Joint disorder. TMJ symptoms include pain in the jaw, and a severe loss of function of the jaw, making it very difficult to speak or eat.
People might think that having a tooth extracted may be a minor surgical procedure; however, it is not minor when the patient dies in the dentist’s chair. Dental patients can die during oral surgery due to the improper administration of anesthesia. Dental patients can also suffer from wrongful death due to the failure to diagnose or treat oral cancer, failure to diagnose or treat gum disease, and failure to diagnose other diseases or oral conditions.
Patients can sustain injuries or infections to their teeth, gums or jaw bone resulting from faulty root canals, crowns and bridge prostheses. They can also sustain serious injuries from unlicensed dentists who are operating their business illegally.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of dental malpractice, it is essential that you speak with a qualified dental malpractice attorney. They will have an intimate knowledge of what types of conduct would be considered dental malpractice. If something isn’t sitting right, and you have a bad feeling about your treatment, you should seek legal advice right away.