No one looks forward to dental procedures, but when something goes wrong, an appointment you were dreading can turn into a nightmare. When a dental procedure is botched, it can lead to pain, suffering, and yes, even more dental procedures to fix it.
Thousands are impacted by dental malpractice each year, and there are indications that around five percent of all malpractice claims are against dentists. Understanding what dental malpractice is can help you determine if you have a case against a dental provider.
Types of Dental Malpractice
Almost any dental procedure could lead to dental malpractice. Extractions could lead to issues pulling the tooth, reactions to injections, nerve damage, or even perforation of your mouth. There have also been cases where sinuses have been damaged during a dental procedure.
Infections following a dental procedure can be serious. They may lead to brain abscesses, blood poisoning and cardiac complications. Other procedures that can lead to dental malpractice include:
- Dental implants
- Root canals
If your dentist fails to diagnose a periodontal disease or oral cancer, you may also have a claim for dental malpractice.
Standard of Care
In order to claim dental malpractice, you must prove that the dentist deviated from the standard of care and that you were injured as a result of that deviation. Standard of care means that the dentist must provide the same level of service another dentist with the same credentials would provide in the same circumstances.
How Do You Prove a Dental Malpractice Claim?
In order to prove your medical malpractice claim, you will need to provide medical records that verify your injury. You have a right to copies of your dental records, including x-rays and other tests that may prove the dentist is liable for your injury. You will want to keep copies of any information you are given by the dentists, including authorization forms you signed, instruction sheets, or other paperwork.
As soon as possible, write down everything the dentist told you both before and after your procedure. Be sure to have someone take photographs of swelling, infections, or disfigurement. If a family member or friend was with you after the procedure, ask them to write a statement about what the dentist told you, as well.
What Compensation May I Get?
If a dentist has botched your procedure, you may be entitled for compensation for any additional medical bills you may incur. This may include emergency department visits or treatments to deal with infections or other problems.
You may also be eligible for lost wages if you missed any time from work due to the problems with the procedure. It is possible you could also receive pain and suffering compensation for your pain, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, or disfigurement.
State Dental Board
If the injury you suffered was not severe, but you still feel it was below the standard of care, you can file a complaint with your state dental board. For example, cutting a patient’s mouth deviates from the standard of care but may not rise to the level of malpractice.
You can file a complaint against the dentist with the state medical board who may investigate the claim and issue a warning to the dentist. Complaints may also be available for public access so that others may be aware that the dentist violated the standard of care.
Victims are encouraged to seek financial compensation for personal injury, but it can be difficult to know how to go about doing that. The best thing to do is to contact a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve.