Monday, 09 April 2012 13:51
No one enjoys going to the dentist. But even the most uncomfortable dental visit can become worse when the result is pain, disfigurement, or permanent damage as a result of the dentist’s actions. Just as in medical malpractice, a dentist has the duty to operate in a manner consistent with the standards and practices of a competent, professionally trained practitioner. When your dentist’s actions result in injury, you may need the assistance of an experienced dental malpractice attorney.
When can you sue your dentist? As much as we’d like to sue the dentist for the pain we experience when getting a root canal or having our wisdom teeth pulled, that unfortunately is not enough. The dentist needs to have acted in such a fashion that caused you injury, and that action had to be something that an ordinary dentist with the skills and training required to perform the procedure would not have done.
What types of injuries? Well, there is the obvious one – pulling the wrong tooth. But there are also situations where there is nerve damage, disfigurement, or worse. Failure to diagnose is also a problem. A dentist is the first line of defense in identifying oral cancer, and the failure to diagnose it can lead to serious harm up to and including death.
A dental office is an operating room, but instead of being in a hospital, it can be in a strip mall next to a hair salon, or even in the dentist’s basement! Despite the location, the procedures performed can be extremely sensitive and complicated. A dentist is required to maintain her equipment in a sanitary and safe manner. If injury results from the misuse or malfunction of dental equipment, the dentist can be held liable.
What could possibly go wrong at the dentist?
Crowns that are misshaped can trap bacteria.
The wrong tooth could be pulled.
A nerve could be damaged.
Excessive grinding could trigger TMD.
A crown or veneer that is misapplied can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Dangerous exposure to x-ray radiation.
What do I do if I believe I have been the victim of dental malpractice?
First, do your research. Keep all records and document all visits to the dentist. The more documentation you can produce, the better your chances are of winning. Most importantly, find an experienced personal injury attorney to review your case. As in most personal injury and medical malpractice cases, a dental malpractice lawyer will most likely take your case on contingency, which means that you will not have to pay anything unless you win the case.