Horrific Dental Accident Causes Girl’s Mouth to Catch on Fire

What are the requirements to file a valid dental malpractice claim?

A terrible incident involving a Las Vegas dentist has left a young girl with serious injuries.  According to the dental malpractice lawsuit filed in a Las Vegas area district court, the five-year-old girl went in to Just for Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics for placement of multiple crowns on her teeth.  She was put under general anesthesia and the dentist began using a diamond bur to prepare her teeth for the crowns. This device caused the cotton within the girl’s throat to catch fire, with the flames lasting one to two seconds.  

The young patient was transported to the hospital where she remained for four days.  She was treated for severe burn injuries to her throat, tongue, lips, and other areas.  Some of these injuries are said to be permanent and disabling. The American Dental Association has attempted to reassure parents that this type of accident is extremely rare.  Nonetheless, parents everywhere will likely now have heightened concerns about their child undergoing anesthesia for a dental procedure.  

The Elements of a Dental Malpractice Case 

Dental accidents can inflict injuries to patients.  At times, these injuries are the result of pure accident, but other times dental injuries stem from malpractice on the part of the treating dentist.  Determining whether you have a viable dental malpractice case is not easy and will require the assistance of an experienced dental malpractice lawyer.  There are a few essential elements that will need to be met in order for you to file a malpractice action, including:

  1. A dental-patient relationship:  Perhaps the easiest element to prove, you must establish that a dentist-patient relationship existed.  If you received treatment by the dentist, this is generally sufficient to meet the dental-patient relationship element.
  2. Breach of the medical standard of care:  To have a viable dental malpractice claim, you will need to prove that the dentist who treated you breached the standard of care in the field.  You will usually need a dental expert to testify as to the standard of care. You will then need an expert to testify as to how the dentist’s conduct fell short of this standard of care.
  3. Causation: You need to establish that the substandard care you received was the cause of your injuries.  This element is typically easy to meet through proof that the dental procedure caused you harm.
  4. Damages:  To have a viable action, you need to prove that you suffered damages due to the dental procedure.  Damages could include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you believe you suffered an injury due to dental malpractice, now is the time to act.  Contact our dental malpractice lawyer Lance Ehrenberg, Esq. for a review of your potential dental malpractice case.

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.