The Dangers of Delayed Diagnosis in Dental Care

Hardly anyone enjoys going to the dentist. Nonetheless, most people realize that dental care is necessary, not only to protect their teeth and gums from deterioration but also to protect their general health. Even if you faithfully visit your dentist regularly, however, your health can be in jeopardy if your dentist fails to diagnose a dental or oral problem promptly. At Dental Malpractice Lawyers of New York, Lance Ehrenberg, Esq. represents clients who have been the victims of dental malpractice so he knows all too well how serious dental negligence can be. 

This is especially true if the dentist you visit fails to diagnose an oral or dental problem correctly. If you have suffered harm because of a delayed diagnosis, contact Lance Ehrenberg to see if you have a viable dental malpractice claim. If so, he will fight aggressively to see to it that you receive the substantial damages you deserve. 

Delayed Diagnoses of Dental and Other Oral Problems

There are a variety of delayed diagnoses your dentist may be responsible for, though not all of them will lead to a successful claim of dental malpractice. The way to find out whether or not your dentist has been negligent in the eyes of the law is to contact an experienced attorney who specializes in dental malpractice and who has a track record of successful outcomes.

Defining Delayed Diagnosis

A delayed diagnosis occurs when a patient’s oral problem is not correctly diagnosed in a reasonable amount of time. Though “reasonable amount of time” is a vague phrase, the court will base its verdict on whether the dentist failed to make a proper diagnosis within the time it would take a reasonably prudent dental professional to make such a determination under similar circumstances. In other words, whether the dentist has met the standard duty of care.

The fact that your dentist’s diagnosis was delayed does not automatically mean the dentist committed malpractice. For that to be the case, you must have suffered harm resulting in damages (e.g. medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering). Contact Lance Ehrenberg for a free consultation to find out if your case is viable. He will charge you no attorneys’ fees unless he recovers damages and has a network of expert witnesses who can help bolster your case.

Types of Injuries that Result from Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis can lead to many types of personal injuries, including: 

  • Localized infection (abscess)
  • Systemic infection*
  • Worsening of a medical disease condition
  • Loss of teeth
  • Deterioration of gums
  • Untreated malocclusion (abnormal bite)
  • Worsening or metastasized cancer

*  An untreated abscess can make a patient vulnerable to infection that affects the skin (cellulitis), the 

   Sinuses (sinusitis), the bone surrounding the tooth (osteomyelitis), and even the blood (sepsis), a 

   life-threatening condition.

In addition to being expected to detect tooth and gum abnormalities, dentists are also trained to check for, detect, and report other medical problems. For example, a patient with an exceptionally smooth tongue may be anemic; a patient with swollen lymph nodes may have Hodgkin’s disease; frequent fungal infections of the mouth may be a sign of adult-onset diabetes. 

While regular physical check-ups should reveal these conditions to your family doctor, dentists often have more frequent visits with their patients than family doctors. Also, dentists are more thorough in examining the inside of the mouth. Therefore, in some circumstances, dentists can be held accountable for not referring a patient for blood tests or biopsies if they spot a suspicious swelling or lesion.

Contact Our Experienced Delayed Diagnosis Attorney Today 

If your dentist missed an early warning sign of cancer, thereby permitting your cancer to spread, you may very well have a winnable malpractice claim. Similarly, if you lost one or more teeth because your dentist failed to diagnose advancing decay or if you became systemically ill because your dentist failed to detect an abscess, you owe it to yourself and your family to contact Lance Ehrenberg to pursue a legal claim.

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.