Dental and Oral Surgeon Injuries and Malpractice
It is very important that you have your regularly scheduled dental cleanings and checkups. Generally, these cleanings and checkups take place every six months. By doing this, you are attempting to maintain good oral health. Nevertheless, what happens when an oral surgeon or dentist fails to provide a patient with a standard level of care and seriously injures or even kills the patient? If this happens, either the victim or surviving family members of the victim may want to file a personal injury claim.
Your dentist has an up close, personal relationship with you and your mouth. He or she should see things that are not typical, such as pre-tumors, tumors, and/or white patches in your mouth. If your dentist sees any of these signs, they may be the early signs of cancer. If your dentist informs you of these issues early on, it could make an enormous difference in the treatment you will need and how much of the tumor needs to be removed from your mouth. Early detection will also reduce the possibility that the cancer will move on to other parts of your body.
Your teeth can also gauge other problems within your body. For instance, your mouth shows the first signs of vascular problems. If your dentist neglects to notice that you are having problems with circulation, this could also be an issue.
Oral surgeons may also be liable for mistakes or breaches of duty to their patients. An oral surgeon is more likely to face a malpractice charge than the typical dentist is. While it is nearly impossible for an oral surgeon to forget an instrument in your mouth, he or she may extract the wrong tooth, or could perform a number of possible errors that can be just as damaging. For instance, an oral surgeon may place a dental implant incorrectly.
If anesthetics are used during the procedure, numerous errors may result. Some of the topical anesthetics can cause allergic reactions. If this information is available on the patient’s chart, this may be considered negligence. Missing that detail may be extremely dangerous to the patient.
Just as patients have to be concerned about medical malpractice, dental malpractice is also something that needs to be looked out for:
- Temporary or permanent numbness resulting in your loss of taste
- Nerve injuries that cause you to suffer permanent numbness in your jaw, tongue, lips and/or chin
- Temporomandibular Joint disorders (TMJ)
- Death from oral surgery or dental procedures
- Temporary or permanent structural injuries to your jaw, lips, tongue, and/or chin
- Complications arising from bridges and crowns that were negligently completed
- The failure of a dentist to take into consideration your relevant medical history
- Death or injuries caused by negligent or improper administration of anesthesia
- Your dentist’s failure to detect periodontal disease, oral cancer, or other diseases
- The extraction of the wrong teeth or unnecessary extraction of numerous teeth
- Sexually molesting a patient during his/her sedation
- Performing treatment that exceeds the scope of your informed consent
- Failure to obtain your informed consent for the procedures performed
The victim of the dental malpractice must provide proof that the dentist:
- Unintentionally failed to provide an adequate standard of care that another dentist would have provided; or
- Intentionally committed an act that another responsible oral health care provider would not have committed in a similar situation
Additionally, your oral health provider should not provide any additional services beyond your informed consent. Any treatment that you receive must not exceed your previously agreed upon consent. If the treatment your oral health provider gave you was beyond the scope of your consent, you may have a foundation for a dental malpractice suit.
Because dental work ordinarily comes with no guarantees, you cannot automatically sue because you are not happy with your results. That said, dental malpractice suits could still be brought against the practitioner when he or she has provided treatment beyond your informed consent or if he or she failed to maintain the acceptable standard of care.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above or anything else out of the ordinary following a dental procedure, you could have a dental malpractice case. Please contact our office today at 508-755-7535 for a free consultation to find out how we can help you.