Going to the dentist for a routine check-up can be nerve-wracking for many people. Now imagine if something went horribly wrong with a routine procedure or even a major one?
There is not only physical pain and injury, but there is also emotional and psychological harm that can result.
While major dental accidents are rare occurrences, they still happen. In fact, dental malpractice encompasses more and more incidents.
Did you know, for example, that ill-fitting dentures or implants can possibly warrant a dental malpractice claim?
Dental malpractice is often associated with unnecessary dental work being done, carelessness of the dentist, and the failure to diagnose, properly treat or refer to a specialist.
The result of dental malpractice claims often include permanent pain and numbness, a reduced quality of life and even death.
The list below touches on the most common dental malpractice issues:
Failure to Diagnose Issues and Disease
It is the responsibility of the dentists to examine and identify possible oral issues and disease. Common tooth issues such as tooth decay and gum disease will worsen if not promptly treated. Lost teeth and destruction of the jaw bone can result. Screening for oral cancer has become a mandatory part of a routine dental examination. Oral cancer quickly turns fatal if not treated early.
Failure to Listen, Communicate and Correct Treatment
A dentist who carelessly treats or provides inadequate treatment for a patient and is then not available to listen to his or her patient’s concerns can be charged with dental malpractice under the context of patient abandonment.
Most people consider the procedure of tooth extraction as a simple, routine one. Most dentists have no problem with tooth extractions.
However, some extractions can be more difficult. In these harder to remove teeth, there is a higher risk of accidents happening. The most common tooth extraction accidents are the hitting and damaging of nerves below the gumline and facial fractures.
Despite how complicated a tooth extraction may be, there is no reason that a dentist should cause nerve or facial damage from a routine procedure.
Problems With Anesthesia
As is used in medicine, anesthesia is used also in dentistry. However, some patients are allergic to certain forms of anesthesia that result in severe allergic reactions, complications and lingual nerve damage. Some complications and reactions can also be deadly.
A patient goes to the dentist expecting one kind of procedure to treat his or her dental issue. But, when a dentist continues to conduct an unnecessary procedure that results in pain, discomfort and a lower quality of life, it is considered dental malpractice. A common unnecessary procedure is the extraction of teeth.
Lack of Employee Oversight
The dentist isn’t the only one liable for committing dental malpractice. If there is a lack of care, inadequate or inappropriate treatment, negligence or misdiagnosis by the dental office staff, the dentist can be guilty of the lack of training of his or her employees.
Improperly Fitted Implants, Bridges, Crowns and Dentures
Dental appliances used to replace missing teeth are to restore proper functioning of the teeth, improve confidence and beautify smiles.
When these dental appliances don’t fit right, not being placed right or being too tight or too loose, can diminish what they were designed to fix in the first place.
Lack of Informed Consent
Some dentists have patients sign consent forms acknowledging the risks of the upcoming procedure as well help explain the expected procedure to the patient. When a dentist goes ahead and does an additional procedure without the patient’s knowledge of it, a violation of informed consent is created. Severe, unnecessary damage, pain and injury can result from the unplanned procedure.
Failure to Refer to a Specialist
A general dentist who fails to refer a patient to the appropriate dental specialist who can best treat the oral health condition can be sued for dental malpractice, especially if the lack of referral results in the worsening of the condition, or patient injury or death.
Infections After Treatment and Infections From Unsterilized Equipment
Invasive dental procedures involve the risk of post-op infection. Dentists who fail to address and treat an infection caused from a procedure puts the patient’s oral and physical health at risk. Similarly, the use of dirty, contaminated dental equipment can also expose the patient to potentially serious infections.
Besides dental malpractice accidents that result in the death of a patient, the second worst outcome of an accident is permanent damage experienced by the patient. This can take many forms such as permanent damage and paralysis of nerves in the mouth, face, neck and head.
Today, there are also patients who try to take advantage of the judicial system in bringing up false dental malpractice lawsuits. A process and a series of requirements must be met for a legitimate malpractice suit.
If you or someone you know has experienced one of these common dental malpractice issues, you have sufficient proof and your claim meets the requirements, contact us to reach a knowledgeable New York dental malpractice lawyer at Chianese & Reilly Law P.C. for a consultation.
We have a long history of helping clients through their dental malpractice lawsuits and we strive to bring about the best result possible.