There’s a small level of risk with any medical procedure, and dental work is no different. But if your dentist acted outside of normal practices and you have pain beyond the expected recovery time, you may have a dental malpractice case.
Why Do People File Dental Malpractice Cases?
Like any other doctor, your dentist is expected to provide a certain level of care. And when that care falls short of expectations, negligence may be involved. Some of the most frequent reasons people file a dental malpractice suit are:
- Improper tooth extraction. This most often occurs when a dentist either pulls the wrong tooth or when an incorrectly done extraction causes long-lasting damage to nerves or gums.
- Incorrect root canals. If a root canal isn’t done carefully, debris or even instruments can be left in the tooth canal. This can cause severe infections and pain.
- Improper bridge or crown placement. There are times when a dentist recommends a crown or bridge when it isn’t really necessary or places a crown or bridge incorrectly— leading to infection. Either one of these could cause damage to healthy teeth around that area.
- Nerve damage. Dentists can cause nerve damage in many different ways, including incorrect extractions, placing an implant too close to a nerve, drilling too deeply, or cutting a nerve while performing a procedure.
- Incorrect drugs. Almost all dental procedures use some form of medicine either during or after the procedure. These drugs and dosages are based on the patient’s age, size, and medical history. Sometimes, an incorrect dosage or drug is administered—leading to long-term health issues.
- Failure to diagnose a problem. A dentist can also be held negligent for something they didn’t do, like properly diagnose a medical issue such as oral disease or cancer. If a dentist is trained to identify a certain condition and has evidence that condition exists and fails to properly identify it, that can constitute negligence.
- Lack of informed consent. Your dentist must fully explain the risks and benefits of a procedure so you have the information you need to make a decision about your preferred course of treatment.
How Can I Sue My Dentist for Dental Negligence?
If your dentist caused your injuries with their negligent actions, you could take legal action. There are four things you’ll need to prove:
- You had a professional relationship with the dentist.
- The dentist’s actions were negligent, or outside a normal medical standard.
- You have injuries.
- Those injuries are the direct result of a dentist’s actions.
If those four conditions are met, you may have a case. Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing your case, which in Florida is two years. If you file a case outside of the statute of limitations, it will be dismissed regardless of the strength of your evidence.