What Constitutes Dental Malpractice?

A dentist is a medical doctor – a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) – who owes a duty to their patients just like any other medical professional to always act carefully and to follow accepted medical standards. Failure to uphold this duty and to act responsibly can put a patient at risk of injury and may constitute dental malpractice depending on the details of the situation.

How Does Dental Malpractice Happen?

Three examples of dental malpractice are:

  • Failure to diagnose: It is your dentist’s responsibility to diagnose dental disease, such as cavities, infection, gum disease, bone loss and oral cancer. Failing to diagnose dental disease and leaving the patient uninformed is a type of dental malpractice.
  • Delayed treatment: If your dentist diagnoses you with a dental problem but does not take appropriate steps to treat it, then it is likely dental malpractice.
  • Direct injury: Many cases of dental malpractice include a direct injury or harm caused by a dentist’s failure to follow accepted methods of treatment. Dental implant failures, extraction injuries, nerve damage, poor orthodontic results, multiple faulty fillings, crowns or bridges, and anesthesia errors are just a few examples of how dental malpractice can cause a clear and painful injury to a patient.

Bad outcomes at the dental office are not always dental malpractice. Bad results are always unfortunate but they are not always negligent. Distinguishing dental malpractice from simply unfortunate but unavoidable results depends on the details of a particular case.

Did your dentist stray from accepted dental procedures and standards?  Did they cause you real physical harm or injury? And, did that harm or injury cause you to suffer monetary damages, like excessive out-of-pocket expenses for dental and/or medical treatment? Did you experience excessive and significant pain and suffering as a result of the dental injury?  Did you lose income as a result of the harm or injury? If you can answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions, then it is likely an incident of dental malpractice.

What Should You Do If Your Dentist Hurts You?

Do you suspect that your dentist caused you injury that could have been prevented or should never have happened? Wondering if it could have been dental malpractice? Your best option is speaking with an experienced dental malpractice attorney about your particular situation.

If you live anywhere in the State of California, you can turn to my law firm, The Law Office of Dean Schweitzer. I am both a dental malpractice lawyer and a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Using my unique combination of backgrounds, I can help determine if your injuries were caused by dental malpractice and if your damages warrant the filing of a dental malpractice lawsuit. If so, I can act as your legal representative when filing a lawsuit against the individual dentist, clinic, or dental group that contributed to your injuries.

Get more information about your rights and my representation by calling my Santa Clarita law office at (661) 403-5306 today.

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