People usually think of medical doctors and hospitals when they hear about malpractice claims, but dentists can commit malpractice and get sued for it. These cases are sophisticated litigation because they involve the use of expert witnesses and technical information. You do not have to go through this experience on your own. A New York dental malpractice attorney can help you determine who could be responsible for the harm you suffered.
There are many different ways that a dentist could deliver sub-standard dental services and cause injury to a patient. Here are 5 common dental negligence lawsuits.
The human mouth is a dirty place, filled with saliva, bacteria, and food particles. It is little wonder that a cut, sore, broken tooth, or incision can get infected. Dentists know about the potential for infection, so they should take action to prevent infection when treating patients.
The staff should advise a patient about infection risk after a dental procedure and provide written instructions for preventative measures and signs of infection. When a patient contacts the dentist’s office with symptoms consistent with an infection, the dental professionals should take prompt action to address the situation.
Dental procedures can involve the use of anesthesia for pain control. The three main types of anesthesia in a dentist’s office are a local block with an injection (Novocain), nitrous oxide through a mask, and general anesthesia for oral surgery. Anesthesia carries risks, like an allergic reaction, too high a dosage, and too low a dosage.
When a patient receives too much anesthesia, the patient might not get enough oxygen to the brain, resulting in brain damage or death. With too little anesthesia, the patient might be able to feel pain but not be able to communicate that fact.
If the doctor administers anesthesia too soon after the patient ate food, the patient could aspirate and suffer lethal consequences. When a sedated patient is not adequately monitored, permanent damage to the brain or heart could happen by the time someone notices that there is a problem.
Failure to Diagnose Oral Cancer
In the course of a standard dental exam, a dentist can see indications of oral cancer or other diseases. Failure to notify the patient and refer to a specialist for evaluation and treatment can be dental negligence.
Bridge and Crown Complications
When things go wrong with a bridge or crown, the patient can lose the affected tooth and the adjacent teeth. A dentist has to remove part of the affected tooth for a crown and part of the adjacent teeth for a bridge. If the bridge or crown fails, the patient could experience damage to the gum, nerves, and surrounding tissue as well as the tooth or teeth.
Although people rarely die as the result of a dental procedure, it can and does happen. Infection and anesthesia errors are the most frequent causes of death from dental negligence.
Many people fear going to the dentist because they do not like needles, and having someone drill inside their mouth frightens them. As we see from these five examples, far worse things can happen at the dentist’s office when the medical professionals make mistakes. A New York dental malpractice attorney can evaluate your situation to see if you might be eligible to go after compensation for your losses. Contact us today.