Even apparently minor dental mishaps can result in serious, long-term consequences. But you don't have to deal with the consequences alone. Even if your injury is due to your dentist's failure to diagnose a dental or oral health condition, you may be able to file a dental malpractice claim.
For a dental malpractice claim to be viable, the dental care provider must have acted, or failed to act, in a way that a prudent and reasonable dental care provider would not have, causing harm as a result. Negligent conduct or injuries caused by a dental care provider that could be construed as dental malpractice includes:
- Lingual nerve injuries - can affect a patient's ability to taste and/or cause permanent numbness in the tongue or part of the tongue
- Improperly performed surgery such as root canals
- Improper placement of implants - can result in permanent pain and numbness
- Complications arising from improperly fabricated, placed or completed bridges and crowns
- Jaw injuries resulting from improperly performed extractions or other manipulations
- Failure to diagnose oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other conditions, resulting in delay of treatment
- Anesthesia-related injuries (regardless of whether a release was signed)
- Unnecessary extraction of multiple (or even wrong) teeth
In addition to filing a claim for failure to provide a reasonable standard of care, a dental patient can file a claim if the dental care provider either failed to obtain your informed consent for treatment you received, or if the treatment exceeded the informed consent you gave.
A dental malpractice claim, however, cannot be brought merely because the treatment wasn't successful or didn't meet your expectations, as long as the dental professional did not violate the acceptable standard of dental care. However, along with incompetence or negligence, an intentional act such as molesting a patient while under sedation does constitute a breach of the acceptable standard of care.
If your case goes to court, the dental care professional or provider you are suing will likely have a lawyer and/or experts who will attempt to refute and minimize your claim. The attorney who represents you will need to thoroughly know and understand the applicable law, and have the resources to retain qualified experts that can challenge the plaintiff's experts' testimony. A skillful and dedicated attorney can improve your chances to obtain the maximum compensation for your injuries and the pain and suffering you have endured.