Medical Malpractice and Dental Problems: Can You Seek Compensation?

When you think of medical malpractice, you might think of hospital, surgical, or clinical errors, but all medical fields need to provide a certain standard of care for patients. Dental errors can cause great pain and lasting injury. 

You could be eligible for compensation for a dental injury under a few different circumstances. Learn the common reasons why dental businesses can be liable for damages if they've been negligent in your treatment. 

Problems With Anesthesia

Your dentist must determine how much anesthesia you need in order to safely complete your dental work without pain. The type of anesthesia, how it is applied, and how much is used determines whether or not you feel pain during routine work like filling a cavity or pulling a tooth.

Anesthesia needs vary based on patient age, the health of the patient, and even whether or not a patient is pregnant. Your dentist should understand the individualized nature of anesthesia and carefully consider the dose for each patient. 

However, if they erroneously apply the anesthesia, you can suffer permanent nerve damage. Your personal injury lawyer would need to help you discover if the dentist is responsible for the dosing or administration mistake to help you get compensation for any lasting injury that resulted. 

Problems With Diagnosis

Dentists are not just there to fill cavities when they arise. When you see your dentist, you are going for a full exam to check for any issues that might be threatening your oral health. Dentists are the first line of defense when it comes to detecting oral cancers, early abscesses, or gum disease. 

Dentists should also act within their role to treat or advise treatment on regular dental conditions, such as small cavities that need filling. Left unfilled, the cavities deepen, causing more injury to the tooth. Some decay can progress to the point of needing a root canal or other periodontic treatment, which is much more expensive than a simple filling.

If your dentist does an exam but does not diagnose these harmful conditions, the illnesses go untreated. The physical and financial toll of more advanced oral diseases like cancer is severe. If you end up with more serious issues that could have been prevented earlier, you can seek compensation for medical bills and a lower quality of life.

Injuries During Routine Procedures

Dentists and periodontists should ensure that every patient receives good care, but mistakes happen. For example, during a root canal procedure, the periodontist removes the pulp of your tooth and the decayed nerve. No bacteria, debris, or pieces of surgical equipment should remain behind. 

If the root canal is not performed properly, you can experience pain, further tooth damage, or even develop an abscess in your gums. Abscesses are life-threatening and can lead to other medical problems. 

This is just one example of an injury that can occur during a routine dental procedure. People can experience damage to nerves during fillings, exposure to bacteria that cause infections, or pain from incomplete tooth extractions. You can get compensation for these issues.

Infections or Increased Injury Due to Negligence

Cleanliness is an essential component of good dentistry. Patients should never contract infections due to contaminated or unclean equipment.

Dentists should also take a thorough medical history to make sure that their patients aren't at higher risk for complications during dental work. People who are diabetic, for example, or others with suppressed immune response, are more prone to infection and require even greater care during dental procedures.

If the dentist didn’t properly clean their equipment or consider your personal health, you might be able to get compensation.

Wrongful Death Due to Negligence

Sadly, death can occur because of dental care mistakes or because of bad practice management. If you have a loved one that passed away from an infection or injury caused by dental negligence, you can seek compensation for the lost income, the loss of companionship, and for all the financial hardships, such as treatment costs and funeral expenses. 

For more information, contact us at Blomberg, Benson & Garrett, Inc.