Dental patients trust their dentists and their assistants to provide safe and professional care. But in 2020 alone, over 2,000 malpractice lawsuits were filed against dentists, according to the National Practitioner Data Base. It’s critical to your health and finances that you understand some of the common red flags of dental negligence. The Connecticut malpractice attorneys of Stanfield Bechtel Law take a look.
The risks of dental malpractice
Dentists, hygienists, and other professionals are obligated to perform their duties according to certain standards of care. When these individuals fall short of those standards, there’s a good chance that malpractice has been committed. Dental malpractice can have serious repercussions for victims, including:
- Causing damage to the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth and face
- Failing to detect and treat a dental issue that will then worsen with time
- Aggravating an existing dental problem, which may cause avoidable pain and suffering
- Making life-threatening mistakes, such as anesthesia and surgical errors
- Causing victims to incur financial costs due to the need for additional dental services to correct the negligent work
Warning signs of dental malpractice
Considering how detrimental negligent dentistry can be, it’s important to know about some signs that you may have been a victim of malpractice. These include:
Delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Patients assume their dentists will correctly diagnose their dental needs so the correct procedures can be administered. However a delayed or incorrect diagnosis can cause pain, necessitate additional dental work, and perhaps endanger the patient.
The dental work was insufficient. If the dental services you received didn’t fix the problem, there’s a good chance the dentist, hygienist, or someone else didn’t do their job correctly. Every dental professional should be competent to perform the procedure correctly on the patient.
The dental work worsened your situation or caused complications. Even worse than ineffective dental work is that which aggravates an existing problem. A related warning sign is that the work causes some additional issues such as infection or damage to another tooth.
Damage to other parts of the face. Particularly negligent work can cause damage to the jaw, nerves, tongue, lips, and nearby parts of the face. These are unusual injuries that generally should not occur if the dental professional is correctly doing his or her job.
Failure to detect oral diseases. Dentists often screen for various diseases as a general matter of practice. These may include oral cancer, periodontal disease, or other conditions. If the dentist failed to detect such issues you may have been the victim of malpractice.
Improper administration of anesthesia. Anesthesia is necessary for a great deal of dental work, but it’s often mishandled. Too much or too little can have adverse effects or leave the victim with unnecessary pain.
Unsterilized tools and equipment. Keeping equipment and tools sterilized is a basic requirement of any responsible dentist’s office. The risk of infection or contracting disease is significantly heightened if this fundamental duty is neglected.
Unprofessional behavior. Dentist offices should be run by individuals who respect their patients and maintain a professional environment. Inappropriate comments, language, and behaviors could be a clue that the patient either has or will receive substandard dental work.
Were You a Victim of Dental Malpractice? You Have Legal Options
Every dental patient deserves quality work that appropriately addresses the underlying issue. But this doesn’t always happen. If you or a loved one were the victim of dental malpractice, let us help you explore your legal rights and options for seeking the compensation you deserve. Reach out to the Connecticut attorneys of Stanfield Bechtel Law.