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How Do I Know If I Have a Dental Malpractice Case

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Dentists are medical professionals. As such, patients expect a standard of care that they provide whenever they need dental services. Whenever this expectation is broken, patients are placed at risk. If you or someone you love suffers hardship resulting from a procedure or dies because of a delayed diagnosis, this can be cause for a dental malpractice lawsuit. 

Common Dental Malpractice Injuries

Many dental procedures result in temporary side effects that alter your taste, sensation, and ability to speak. Your dental professional should discuss each of these risks with you to obtain informed consent before providing dental care. If you experience an oral injury or infection following negligent dental work, this can constitute dental malpractice.

You may also have a case for dental malpractice if your dentist failed to diagnose a condition like oral cancer or ignored your concerns, and you are now suffering the consequences. Here are several common cases constituting dental malpractice.

Botched Extractions

Several injuries can occur when extracting a tooth, the most common of which is nerve damage. While extractions are known to cause temporary discomfort and numbness at the extraction site, a botched extraction occurs when a dentist or oral surgeon severs a nerve. This results in a lifelong injury that can cause numbness, loss of taste, or even paralysis.

Another common dental malpractice case resulting from tooth extractions is bone damage. When a dentist perforates the sinuses or causes a mandibular fracture, you may have a case for a lawsuit.

Infection

An infection after a dental procedure can be life-threatening. Even though your mouth is home to many bacteria, your dentist has to prevent infection before, during, and after any procedure. They should follow standard practices and prescribe antibiotics when necessary. After a root canal or treatment for periodontal disease, you are at a higher risk of infection. If your dentist fails to respond appropriately and you suffer as a result, you may have grounds for a dental malpractice case.

Anesthetic Complications

Your dentist may use powerful medications during a dental procedure to improve your comfort. However, if they do not handle these medications properly, an injury may result. Many patients suffer from dental malpractice due to medication mistakes and anesthetic complications resulting in neurological difficulties, brain damage, or death. It’s important that your dentist refers to your dental record when administering medication for a procedure.

Key Elements of Dental Malpractice

Every dental procedure has risks, but that does not mean that all poor outcomes are unavoidable. If you experienced an injury while receiving dental care, you might have grounds for a dental malpractice claim. To determine if your injury constitutes dental malpractice, it must have these three key elements.

Duty of Care

You trust your dentist to provide you with quality dental care that meets the standards of the profession. If this trust was broken and your dentist acted outside the acceptable standard of care to cause you harm, then you may have a dental malpractice case. In most cases, you will need to get a second opinion from an expert to prove that your dentist’s actions breached their duty of care.

Dental Malpractice Case

Causation

The second key element to a dental malpractice case is to establish causation. A dentist that simply provides care that is outside the typical standard is not enough. You must be able to prove that the breach of care resulted in a personal injury. An expert witness can help prove that your dentist’s actions, or inaction, resulted in your injury.

Measurable Harm

To collect damages from a dental malpractice case, you must be able to prove that measurable harm occurred. This encompasses economic damages like medical bills or lost wages and more abstract non-economic damages like pain and suffering, which may be provable if significant.

An expert malpractice lawyer with a solid medical background can help you evaluate your case to determine the extent of harm caused by your dentist.

How Do I Know if I Have a Dental Malpractice Claim?

If you or a loved one suffered an injury during or after a dental procedure, you might have grounds for a dental malpractice claim. Don’t waste any time before talking with a qualified dental malpractice attorney at our law office in Michigan, as the statute of limitations for dental malpractice in the state is two years from the date of the incident.

Senior partner Eileen Kroll is a registered nurse and attorney with expertise and professional knowledge to effectively interpret your dental records in support of your case. Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, PC at 1-866-MICH-LAW today to schedule your free consultation.

Disclaimer: The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel, and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Brenda is a writer and pharmacist who is passionate about patient advocacy. She earned her bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medical Affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, running, and debating with her family.

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