In dentistry, there are certain areas of treatment where most patient injuries occur. These dental malpractice incidences commonly result in legal claims for patients affected by unnecessary pain and injury. Medical malpractice attorney Aaron Crane of Cantor Crane advises dental patients to ensure their dentist is experienced in the following procedures before undergoing these types of care:
Extractions are removal of teeth. Many patients are unaware that infections caused by poorly extracted teeth can result in hospitalization and even death, in many cases. Permanent nerve damage can result from accidentally severed nerves. Sinuses can be perforated, jaw bones broken and other injuries caused, such as TMJ. Both oral surgeons and general dentists have been known to cause these injuries.
General dentists are often involved in cases involving endodontic procedures. Dentists have left instruments in oral canals, caused nerve and sinus tears, created air embolisms and caused life-threatening infections. Some oral infections can result in brain abscesses or osteomyelitis, even causing death and irreversible brain damage.
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When implants are lost infection can set in. Patients have died from post-operative dental implant infections. Many of the defendants in these medical malpractice claims are general dentists or periodontists.
When having crowns or bridges placed, or during oral reconstructions, poor treatment planning often results in general dentist negligence. Infections and poorly executed reconstructions are common forms of malpractice.
Undiagnosed periodontal disease or disease that is not treated properly can result in lasting dental injuries. General dentists often fail their patients with periodontal disease by not taking routine X-rays as they should, conducting poor periodontal probings or not recording results of those probings.
Root resorption can affect multiple teeth which may be lost to this condition. This often occurs when radiographs are not taken routinely. TMJ injuries can also result. Orthodontists and general dentists both commonly perform negligently in orthodontic care.
Dental anesthesia is frequently a cause of complications, even death. Children are particularly vulnerable in this area of dental treatment. Oral surgeons, pedodontists and general dentists are often negligent.
Death, brain abscesses and septic arthritis are only some of the conditions that can result from improperly executed dental care, particularly from general dentist and oral surgeon malpractice.
Injury to the lingual nerve or on the inferior alveolar nerve and other problems have been known to occur during dental injections. The biggest issues are seen when dentists know they have hit a nerve with an injection, yet do not withdraw the needle as directed by educational and dental literature. Poor follow up to the injuries exacerbate the problems. General dentists and oral surgeons frequently improperly inject patients.
Patient medical history is provided to dental practitioners so drug allergies can be avoided. In many cases of adverse reactions to drugs during general treatment, the dentist or periodontist fails to review patient medical history before prescribing or using drugs on the patient. Fatalities from such reactions are common.
TMJ, also known as lockjaw, and substandard performance of surgeries are frequently reported as having occurred at the hands of oral surgeons. Permanent injuries and corrective surgeries often result from poor execution of procedures.
Patients with oral cancer need timely diagnosis for treatment to be effective. Death is frequently the result of untreated oral cancer, which should have been caught by general dentists or oral surgeons caring for patients.
Drill injuries, needle breaks into the patient’s body, fractures, improper injections and accidental eye injection are more common than one may think. Permanent injuries can result from all of these dental malpractice instances, as they have for patients presenting malpractice cases through their experienced attorneys.
Dental malpractice lawyer Crane recommends that patients ensure their dentist or other oral care professional is attentive and informative during dental visits.
He suggests, “Don’t be shy in asking about your dentist’s experience in a particular procedure, before consenting to those treatments. Ensure your dentist knows your medical history, whether you have allergies and understands your concerns about pain, possible infections or other conditions of your mouth and teeth. If you don’t feel comfortable with your oral care provider, find another one to meet your needs.”
For advanced treatments, such as extractions or surgeries, individual teeth must be evaluated before treatment plans are executed. Diagnostic X-rays should always be performed before procedures. For complicated matters, a general dentist should refer the patient to an experienced oral surgeon. When a dentist takes on more than he or she can handle, the patient should be made fully aware of complications and treatment plans to fix resulting problems at the hands of a referred, more experienced oral surgeon.
Many problems occur when dentists do not advise their patients of a problem occurring during treatment. This is when patients become vulnerable to infection and even death can result. Such infections can be avoided or treated if caught early. Other problems are associated with poor dentist record-keeping or failure to review records before starting treatment.
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