woman with a tooth ache

What is Considered Dental Malpractice?

Thousands of people are affected by dental malpractice each year. Even though the laws that govern the duties of dentist vary from state to state, claims being filed against them have a similar theme. According to the American Board of Legal Medicine, 13.1% of all professional malpractice claims are filed against dentists. As a human race we seek justice and fairness, we want to feel know that people are being held accountable for their actions.

When a patient is injured as a result of dental malpractice they may invoke their rights, such as filing a complaint with the state dental board, filing a dental malpractice lawsuit, and pursuing legal remedies.

We are going to cover 4 necessary reasons to consider if you feel like you may have a lawsuit against your dentist:

#1 – The Existence of a Duty

What is implied by the dentist-patient relationship is that your dentist has a duty to take care of you, which needs to be proven and not just implied. Not to worry, this can be easily proven. Documentation that your dentist was actually treating you as a dentist is all the proof needed. The paperwork that you sign when you visit your dentists office is a legal document that proves that your dentist will adhere to the standard of care.

#2 – A Breach of Care

There needs to be proof that your dentist did in fact violate the standard of care, which is the clinically acceptable and recommended treatment in your specific circumstance.

For example: A violation during a lingual frenectomy would mean that your dentist cut back way too far on your tongue and damaged a nerve. Standard care means that performing this procedure is to simply remove the portion causing problems for the patient. If your dentist continues to cut into the tongue, that would be a violation of the standard of care.

#3 – You Were Injured by Your Dentist

You must have proof that your dentist actually harmed or injured you. This is an easy step, because the reason people decide to sue a dentist is because of an injury inflicted upon them during their visit, through any number of treatments or procedures.

#4 – Proof that The Violation of the Standard of Care Caused the Injury

It all comes down to the negligence of the dentist, but you must be able to prove that the injury was due to their lack of care in violation of the standard of care. For example, say a man who has neglected his own oral hygiene goes to see a dentist to have cavities filled, while the dentist was drilling he accidentally hits his gums, within a few years he starts to develop gum recession around his teeth.

To win a lawsuit in this situation the man would have to be able to prove that it was the dentists mistake that caused the gum recession and not his general lack of good-oral hygiene. This particular situation would be a hard case to prove.

No matter what the situation, nobody likes a frivolous lawsuit. However, our office is here to help anyone that has been injured by the malpractice of their dentist. We will make sure you have the  proper legal support during your seek for  justice, advise you on your options, and walk you through the entire process. Contact our office if you feel like you have been subject to a dental malpractice.