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4 Prominent Things You Should Know about Dental Malpractice

4 Prominent Things You Should Know about Dental Malpractice

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Linda Rizzo, a 58-year-old retiree, had been undergoing four years of dental treatment with Dr. Kay for which she had paid $36,000. Post its completion, she filed a lawsuit against the dentist claiming that he had inserted upper and lower bridges that did not fit, which had ultimately resulted in permanent residual injuries of her jaw and gums. Dr. Kay was adjudged negligent and Rizzo was awarded a sum of $450,000 for suffering pain and as damages.

Rizzo's case is just one of many dental malpractice cases that have happened throughout the years. In fact, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank, one out of every seven medical malpractice cases directly involved a dental professional in 2006. Dental negligence can lead to long-term complications and can cause pain for a lifetime.

You don't want to endure such suffering. It is, therefore, crucial that you're extremely careful about the quality of care you're receiving from your dentist. The dentist should perform his/her duty to perfection, provide you with the best possible dental care, and act in your best interests. But, there have been several cases where dentists have put their patient's health at risk for personal gain or by being negligent.

Dental malpractice can result in severe consequences. Knowing the varied aspects related to this form of medical malpractice will help you take steps in the right direction.

Here are the four most crucial aspects related to dental malpractice you need to know about.

1. What Is Dental Malpractice?

Dental malpractice refers to a form of negligence where the harm caused to the patient may be a result of the following:

  • Negligent dental work
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a hazardous dental condition
  • Delayed diagnosis or treatment of oral disease
  • Any intentional misconduct on the part of the dentist

2.Your Consent Is of Utmost Importance

It need not be said that the healthcare professional needs to provide you with the acceptable standard of dental care. Apart from this, he/she cannot provide you with any additional services that are beyond your informed consent.

The treatment provided to you should not exceed the consent that you have already given to your oral health care practitioner. Failure to adhere to this aspect by the practitioner may make you eligible for filing a dental malpractice lawsuit.

3.Common Forms of Dental Malpractice

People can sustain temporary or permanent injuries to the nerves of lips, chin, tongue, jaw or teeth owing to even the slightest mistake on the dentist's part. Here are a few of the most common types of dental malpractice:

  • Improper or negligent administration of anaesthesia
  • Fractured or broken jaw due to a dental procedure
  • Delayed or wrong dental diagnosis or treatment
  • Improper usage of dental tools and equipment
  • Nerve injuries caused by dental injections
  • Permanent or temporary numbness or loss of taste/sensation
  • Permanent or temporary structural injuries to the tongue, jaw, chin or lips
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Wrongful death resulting from dental procedures or oral surgery
  • Complications arising from negligently completed crowns and bridges
  • Dentists' failures to take into account a patient's relevant medical history
  • Failure to detect oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other oral diseases
  • Unnecessary extraction of multiple teeth and/or extraction of wrong teeth
  • Molesting a patient while under sedation
  • Complications from dental work performed months earlier

4.Things You Should Keep in Mind with Respect To A Dental Malpractice Claim

In order to have a dental malpractice claim, a patient should be able to prove that the dentist either unintentionally failed to provide the acceptable standard of care or the dentist intentionally committed an act that no other qualified and reasonable oral health care provider would have committed when dealing with a similar situation.

Also remember, dissatisfaction with the result of the dentist's services doesn't give you the ground to sue. Dental malpractice suits can be brought against practitioners only when they fail to uphold the acceptable standard of care, or when they provide treatment that exceeds your informed consent. More importantly, you need to prove that the dental professional's incompetence/negligence caused your injury.

Best Thing to do to Prevent Dental Malpractice

You can spare yourself the nightmare in the first place by opting for a dentist who is qualified, experienced and highly-reputed. Going for the first dentist that you come across without checking his/her credentials can be very risky.

It is, therefore, essential that you take substantial time when choosing a dentist. Doing so will spare you a lot of trouble in the future. Talk to your friends, colleagues, friends, and family for recommendations based on their experiences. You can also find dentists practicing in a particular area by searching online. There you can see unbiased reviews and opinions on each dentist in your region. For instance, if you're suffering from a gum problem and want to find a Periodontist in Pittsburgh, you can enter Periodontist Pittsburgh into the search engine. This will provide you with a list of relevant results of local Periodontists in Pittsburgh with reviews from actual patients.

Conclusion

Be sure to work with a skilled dentist that has the experience and skills to address what might be ailing you. Even a slight mistake on their part can leave you with a lifetime of dental trouble. Most dentists provide their patients with care and treatment of the highest standards, but there can be times when a few of them become negligent and not provide optimum service to their patients.

(Image Sorce: Pixabay)

Comments

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A general dentist did a root canal with a post to tooth #11. Before, during, and after an abscess was present. Multiple rounds of antibiotics. After having oral surgery this week with an endodontist, it was found bone was eaten away from the infection. Is this something the dentist should have not had an issue with and should have been able to remove the infection during the root canal? I complained about this tooth for months- before, during and after...
Thank you,
Tamara Lee Wood

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A general dentist did some work on a root canal which was a front tooth. I was talked in to doing crowns on all my front teeth to make sure they all match. I've has severe issues with sensitivity to hot and cold, constant bleeding. The tooth with the root canal that they replaced the post for is very crooked, causing me to bite my lip. I went to a second dentist and he said that some of the crowns have a gap between the gum and the tooth. There is no options for me now that my teeth were ground down to nubs. My teeth were completely healthy before all this work was done. Now, I find myself stuffing cotton in my mouth to absorb the bleeding daily before I have to talk to my own patients. I can't kiss my husband because of the bleeding and not wanting him to taste blood. I wake up in the middle of the night swallowing blood from my gums. I can't bite into anything with my front teeth. And one of the real issues that needed to be addressed was that I had tooth aches on the top and bottom on the right side of my mouth. It was never taken care of.

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She probably should not have been working on that tooth to begin with since the fillings were from less than a year prior. The other one had been done in 2015 and the dentist has left a spot that was not smooth to the tooth . My problem is she cut into the gums about an eight of an inch or more above where it had been prior to that appointment and told me I had receding gum line but the work she was doing shouldn't have interfered with the gum line ,, I called and told them that it was still bleeding and it hurt horribly.. if I used mouthwash , I could cry. She said stop using mouthwash and use salted water. But the problem is I think she cut into my gums on purpose. It has been over two weeks and it isnt getting better. I am using an extremely soft old organic toothbrush and avoiding going near it most of the time because it bleeds unmercifully. If you look at all my other receeding gumline you can see how horribly she cut it. She took an hour and a half on the 1st tooth which was way weird. And put some kind of white bond on it. It doesn't even match the one next to it where she destroyed my gum? I need help. I went to her in the fall because my regular dentist has new hygienists everytime I go and this kid shoved to pitch used to determine gum line right up into it and said I needed a scaling but I was not about to let a kid that just poked a hole in my gum do scaling. Not the same tooth as the one the dentist screwed up.. I didnt call new dentist until it stopped hurting. Is there a dentist I can talk to about this. Or a dentist examining board?

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My daughter had a root canal the afternoon of Monday June 25, 2020, yes 3 days ago. It was a new dentist in the office. The root canal was to be done on a lower left incisor. My daughter has severe dental phobia/anxiety. She had contacted office Thursday June 112020 to express her extreme phobia /anxiety especially since no one could accompany her due to COVID-19 fell on deaf ears. When she arrived for appointment again told of dental phobia/anxiety again nothing,thought at least laughing gas would be available. Dentist began root canal about 2 hours later says unable complete root canal due to being complicated, multiple, deep canals/roots. The office didn't have correct, long enough equipment to finsh. A temporary filling was placed on top, she was having quite a bit of pain and discomfort was told normal and was sent home. She said her time in chair was horrible she felt so much of what he was doing, entire procedure was pain. The dentist is very young in practice only 3 years out of dental school. My daughter is 22 years old no dental insurance, she paid $330 for root canal out of her pocket on sliding scale for low/no income individual, since didn't complete she should receive either a full or partial refund. They said are referring her to an Endodontist to finish procedure but not to get her hopes up be they only do so many reduced rate or free procedures.Its now Thursday June 18 2020 3 days later and she still experiencing pain, discomfort and bleeding.My daughter has teeth that need a lot of work, the previous dentist at this office had been working to get her teeth all fixed up, she has severe dental phobia /anxiety that is now even worse after this fiasco and does NOT want to go back to this dentist or any dentist now. What is she supposed to do now, she can't afford to go to a different dentist to fix this screwed up root canal. Now she is scared of dentist more than ever. Please help.

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I had a large bridge put in last year. It failed in less then a year. Now they want me to pay for a different procedure to fix my problem. I paid $14000, no insurance. I don’t want to have to pay again for their failure. I was told by the dentist who replaced the original dentist that the bridge that was made for me is not the normal way of going about fixing my original problem.

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