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Dental Malpractice Cases:  Examples

Dental malpractice comes in a wide range of different forms.  In some cases patients are convinced to undergo unnecessary, painful and costly procedures.  In other cases patients undergo complicated treatments to fix the error of their original dentist.  Then there are cases where the patient could lose teeth, unknowingly retain a broken instrument or even suffer permanent nerve damage as a result of dental malpractice.  In the very worst of cases, dental malpractice can result in a victim suffering a life threatening infection.  Some common examples of dental malpractice include:


Botched extractions: 

A tooth extraction is a complex procedure; it must be executed with proper care and training.  Dentists that rush through, or do not have the technical skill level, experience or otherwise botch extractions, may cause severe harm to their patients.  This could cause infections, nerve damage, numbness, damage to surrounding teeth and broken jaw fractures. 


Failure to diagnose: 

A dentist is required to take appropriate x-rays and maintain good treatment records as the standard of care in order to spot problems.  In some cases, a dentist’s failure to diagnose serious issues - including periodontal disease, decay and tumors - in their earliest stages can result in a patient suffering severe complications down the road.


Complications of an endodontic treatment: 

Endodontic procedures (root canals) are delicate procedures.  Serious complications - perforation, overfill, broken instrument - can occur as a result of a root canal.  Failure to disclose such an occurrence to a patient is a serious deviation from the standard of care which can lead to infection, swelling, pain, loss of the tooth or in the most serious of cases, hospitalization.


Unnecessary treatment:

Dental procedures are required to have a valid necessity to be performed.  Unnecessary or over-treatment is not only harmful and unethical but may require the patient to over their lifetime financially maintain restorations which originally were not required. In the very worst of cases, mutilation of healthy teeth becomes a tragedy.


Substandard care leading to nerve damage and oral infections:

Finally, it should be noted that substandard dental care - whether it is overly rough treatment of the patient, failure to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic or failure to properly sterilize equipment - can result in severe damage.  Infections and permanent nerve damage are two of the most common complications that lead to dental malpractice claims.

See also "Common Forms of Dental Malpractice"

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