dental malpractice

Can I File a Claim for Unsterilized Dental Equipment?

Sterilization of dental equipment is a major component of good dentistry. If you have been treated with unsterilized dental equipment and suffered harm as a result, you are legally entitled to sue for dental malpractice. Once you receive the medical care you need, you should contact an experienced dental malpractice attorney with a history of successful outcomes. In the greater New York area, that attorney would be Lance Ehrenberg.

Because dental examinations and procedures involve entering the mouth, improperly sterilized dental equipment creates a high risk of infection. Localized infection is disturbing enough, but infections in the mouth, if not treated promptly, can become systemic and dangerous, even life-threatening. For this reason, dentists must scrupulously use the most up-to-date methods of sterilization to protect their patients. 

If your dentist has failed to do so, he or she is guilty of negligence and you require the services of a skilled dental malpractice attorney to see to it that you receive the damages you deserve for medical costs, lost income, pain, and suffering, and all expenses related to your mistreatment.

What is Proper Sterilization?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have set high standards for sterilization of all dental tools. Although most dentists adhere to these standards, some cut corners. Whether the reason cited for ineffective sterilization of dental equipment is time pressures or unnecessary expense, such misconduct is negligent, and, if proven, is evidence of dental malpractice.

Manufacturers of dental tools, as well as the CDC and ADA, mandate heat sterilization between patient use. It should be noted that “cleaning” without heat to kill off remaining bacteria or virus particles is insufficient.

Recommended Levels of Sterilization of Dental Equipment Vary

Although surgical instruments and periodontal scalers pose a greater threat of infection to patients than do less invasive tools, such as mouth mirrors, amalgam condensers, and dental impression trays, the CDC recommends that all be sterilized using heat. 

Items that do not enter the body carry considerably less risk than those that do. Nonetheless, some, like dental bibs, should be sterile one-time use products. Others, like blood pressure cuffs, should be thoroughly cleaned and then wiped with hospital disinfectant between use. 

Precautions Your Dentist Should Take to Protect You

To prevent infections, your dentist should have office protocols that involve developing a prevention program itemizing safety policies and procedures and providing necessary supplies, such as face masks, to all personnel. The dental office should also closely monitor staff and patients for signs of illness to prevent contagion. These protocols should not only apply during the pandemic but at all times.

How Dental Malpractice Is Proven

There are four basic elements that must be proven to win a dental malpractice lawsuit: 

  1. Your dentist was in a medical relationship with you and owed you a duty of care
  2. Your dentist breached that duty of care
  3. Your dentist’s breach resulted in your injury
  4. Your injury resulted in actual damages

Services a Strong Dental Malpractice Attorney Provides

Dental malpractice cases are difficult to win, but Lance Ehrenberg is well up to the task.

While you recover from your infection and its complications, he will:

  •   Handle all communications with opposing attorneys and insurance adjusters
  • Compile evidence through close examination of medical and other records
  • Investigate the defendant’s history for signs of any similar negligence 
  • Interview staff
  • Consult with experts in pertinent fields (e.g. dental and infectious disease) who will testify on your behalf

Above all, he will fight aggressively to persuade the court of the wrong that has been done to you and do everything in his power to win you the substantial damages you deserve. Contact our sharp dental malpractice attorney today for a free consultation.

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.