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When Do You Need A Dental Malpractice Lawyer

Feb 12, 2008
Although medical malpractice is something most people have heard of, many people do not realize that this also applies in the dental field, and finding a dental malpractice lawyer is something you should consider if you are a victim of this. Almost all dentists, like doctors, carry dental malpractice insurance to protect themselves because they are human and prone to judgment errors and treatment errors, although we would like to think that it does not happen.

Claims for dental malpractice have not risen as sharply as medical malpractice claims, but continue to be pretty steady. The claims and resulting awards are generally smaller than with medical malpractice simply because the circumstances are typically less life-threatening. Very simply put, dental malpractice occurs because improper treatment or services have been performed, or the dentist has failed to detect or properly diagnose symptoms and conditions. The types of injuries include damage to the lips, jaw, tongue, and perhaps also the nerves in those areas, as well as failure to detect oral cancer. Improperly applied anesthetics can also cause injury or even death.

A patient has a right to expect professional and correct treatment when visiting their dentist, just as with their doctor. If this responsibility is not met or if negligence is encountered, dental malpractice may have occurred. While not every error made by your dentist will warrant a lawsuit, there may be occasions where the injury is severe enough of even permanent where a lawsuit is called for. A dental malpractice lawyer will review the details of the case and is in a position to advise you, based on their experience, whether or not a lawsuit should be filed or not.

Most seriously, a dental malpractice case can result from a patient's death as a result of dental procedure complications. For example, anesthesia may be improperly administered, or an infection can take hold because it was not properly treated.

Still another instance of possible dental malpractice can occur when improperly done oral surgery leads to possible permanent damage of facial or tongue nerves, or of damage to the tongue itself. Some outcomes of this possible trauma could be a loss of sensation or taste, as well as difficulty talking, swallowing, or eating.

Patients can also be injured from dental extractions, or a dentist may remove a healthy tooth by mistake when he or she meant to extract a decayed or otherwise damaged tooth. This can be serious, because unnecessary tooth loss can lead to other complications. In some cases, dental malpractice occurs when a dentist fails to do something such as to diagnose and treat periodontal disease or oral cancer. Still another malpractice situation can occur if a dentist performs treatment to which the patient did not consent.

Whether for adults or children, improper orthodontic procedures can be deemed as dental malpractice. Dentists and orthodontists are required to present the patient with their options and alternatives. Tooth removal, for example, is a much more radical procedure than braces or teeth straightening and may be unnecessary, which can then also lead to TMJ syndrome or persistent headaches.

If you feel like any of this applies to you, you are advised to contact a dental malpractice lawyer in your area to discuss your situation and see if they feel you have a case worth pursuing. An experienced lawyer can also let you know what your viable options are and make recommendations for your best course of action.
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