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Summary

Dental malpractice is when a dentist has practiced with incompetence, negligence or malevolence, a patient has the right to sue. A dental malpractice attorney or medical malpractice attorney can assist you with your claim.

From crowns to complicated oral surgeries, patients must put their trust in their dentists, who are required to provide an acceptable standard of care. If this standard of care is breached, a patient may face prolonged pain and suffering or permanent oral damage. The patient and the patient’s family may seek compensation for pain, suffering and future losses with the help of a personal injury attorney specializing in dental errors.

Dental damages can be tragic and lifelong. With anesthesia errors, for example, a dental professional may fail to monitor the patient and administer improper dosages, resulting in brain damage or death. Tongue nerves may be permanently damaged, or a defective oral device could cause drastic complications.

Any number of severe injuries can arise during a dental procedure. Injuries may be immediate or complications could arise months later. 

Failure to diagnose several types of cancer or other serious ailments could also be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. When a patient has cancer of the mouth, gums or throat, a timely and proper diagnosis is essential. It is the dentist’s responsibility to look for signs of oral cancers.

Patients who have sued with the help of a dental malpractice attorney have secured large awards and settlements in cases involving:

  • Permanent  or temporary injury to nerves in the tongue, lips, chin and  jaw
  • Permanent  or temporary numbness of the tongue or loss of taste
  • Complications  from faulty crowns, bridges or root canal devices
  • TMJ  (Temporo Mandibular Joint) disorders
  • Improper  orthodontic procedures involving adults and children
  • Failure  to review a patient’s medical history
  • Failure  to diagnose or treat oral cancer
  • Failure  to diagnose or treat periodontal disease
  • Failure  to diagnose or treat other serious ailments
  • Anesthesia  errors
  • Medication  errors
  • Dental  procedure errors
  • Unnecessary  extraction of teeth or extraction of the wrong tooth
  • Permanent  or temporary structural injuries to the tongue, lips, chin and  jaw
  • Gum  and blood infections

The definition of dental malpractice varies among states. Talk to a dental malpractice attorney about the details of your case. But generally, a dental care provider must have caused significant injury by negligence, failed to diagnose or treat cancer or other serious ailments, delayed diagnosis or treatment of these ailments, made surgical procedure errors, or acted with malevolence. The dentist must have performed in a way that a reasonable and prudent provider would not have, causing significant injury.

A dental care provider must also obtain informed consent for any treatment. If the provider doesn’t do this, or his treatment exceeds the informed consent you signed, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. But a dental malpractice lawsuit can only be brought if the dentist violates the acceptable standard of dental care, causing significant injury.

 

Who Can Sue

If you have suffered significant loss or pain at the hands of your dentist, periodontist, orthodontist or other dental care professional, you may have grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit. Because of the complexity of dental malpractice cases, you should seek out an experienced Accident Attorney focusing on Dental Errors to sort out and present the facts.

To prove a dental malpractice case, it helps to have documented written evidence for your dental malpractice lawyer. Documenting improper dental care, along with related injuries and ailments, as it occurs will lend credibility to a patient’s case. Keep records.

Victims may seek compensatory damages, along with lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be awarded if the dentist is found to have acted with malevolence.

 

Potential Recovery

Compensation for dental malpractice runs from the thousands of dollars to the millions. Here are some examples:

  • An oral surgeon in New York was found to have severed lingual nerves in both sides of a patient’s mouth while extracting wisdom teeth. The patient lost her sense of taste and all feeling in her tongue. A jury awarded the victim $750,000.
  • A $1.135 million settlement was reached in an Illinois case in which a 73-year-old man died while having his tooth pulled. The lawsuit was filed by the victim’s family with the help of a dental malpractice attorney, who claimed the dentist failed to provide appropriate care when the victim stopped breathing after being sedated.
  • A Chicago dental office agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of a patient undergoing root canal surgery. The patient reportedly was given too much sedation before the surgery, and the dentists failed to monitor her properly. The woman suffered cardiac arrest.
  • A jury in Washington state awarded a 29-year-old woman $14.8 million after dental surgery performed for an accident injury left her permanently disabled with her jaw fused shut, suffering chronic pain.
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