Check Your Dentist’s Background Before Going Under the Knife

How can I look up whether my dentist has had any medical malpractice lawsuits?

There are nearly 20,000 dentists in the United States, and statistics provided by the National Practitioner Data Bank suggest that every dentist will have at least one lawsuit alleging dental malpractice filed against him or her during their career. Between the years 2006 and 2016, nearly 17,000 medical malpractice payments were made in response to some 14,000 adverse actions filed against them. While going to the dentist may seem like a routine event, should you need any sort of dental procedure, you are at risk of injury. Researching your dentist’s background, including their qualifications and complaint history, is essential, but not necessarily easy.

Examples of Dental Malpractice

As a dental patient, you should be aware of just what can go wrong during dental treatment.  This is not so as to scare you, but so that you can be on the alert for any symptoms after your procedure that might indicate an injury or less than ideal outcome. Some of the most common instances that give rise to dental malpractice lawsuits include failure to diagnose a condition like oral cancer; failure to properly treat a complication such as infection; lack of informed consent; improper tooth extraction; and mistakes made during anesthesia.

Do Your Research on Your Dentist’s Background 

Before going to a new dentist, you will want to do some research.  Start by researching your potential dentist online. You will want to look at online reviews and check his or her license qualifications through the New York State Department of Education. Next, you will want to ask friends and family who may have had experience with the potential dentist to determine what their experience has been.  

You will want to find out whether your dentist has had any disciplinary complaints. The New York State Dental Board has records of complaints and their outcomes. You can also investigate county court records for any civil malpractice cases filed against your dentist. County records can typically be searched online by the dentist’s last name. Should you have a bad experience with a dentist that you believe violates state law and standards, contact your state’s dental licensing board to file a complaint and find out more about your rights. A dental malpractice attorney can better advise you as to your possible right to compensation. 

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.