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Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyers and Property Damage Lawyers

Fort Lauderdale Dental Malpractice Attorneys

Dental Malpractice

Going in for any dental procedure can be so anxiety-inducing for many people, even for the simplest of procedures. However, sometimes things can go wrong as a result of dental negligence. If you were injured as a result of your Fort Lauderdale dentist, you need to find a Fort Lauderdale dental malpractice attorney to help you file a dental malpractice case to get the compensation that you are entitled to for your damages. A dental malpractice attorney is an important asset to you during these cases to ensure the best possible outcomes.

What is Dental Malpractice?

Dental malpractice is actually a specific type of medical malpractice dealing with an injury as a result of dental care negligence. In order to sue the dentist, you must show that they didn’t follow the proper standard of care as required by dental professionals. If their failure to follow this standard of care led to your injuries, you can file a claim for dental malpractice.

Negligence and standard of care are common terms that you will hear throughout the dental malpractice case. When talking about negligence, this means that the dentist didn’t follow the standards of care that they were supposed to. Standard of care refers to the type and level of care that any competent medical professional under the same circumstances with the same level of experience and education would have done.

People trust their dental professionals to ensure the highest quality of services when in their care. They trust that they will be safe with their dentist. Unfortunately, sometimes that isn’t the case. Dental malpractice can be a very serious issue, which has a major impact on the patient’s emotional and physical health. Not only can oral health issues lead to other issues impacting your health, but this can also impact your appearance and ruin your self-confidence. These are all reasons why you should take steps to get the compensation you deserve after your injuries.

Types of Dental Malpractice

Dental professionals owe their patients a specific duty of care. Dentists of the same experience and education are held to the same standard under the standard of care. Just because a procedure didn’t go as intended, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was negligence that led to your injuries. Some different types of dental malpractice include:

  • Wrongful death
  • Complications from the Novocain
  • Root canal injuries
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Problems with tooth extractions
  • Puncture wounds during the procedures

Causes of Dental Malpractice

There are plenty of things that can go wrong during a dental procedure, even in the most routine of services like a cleaning. Some causes for dental malpractice include:

  • Failing to diagnose and/or treat someone’s dental work
  • Intentional misconduct
  • Failure to diagnose and/or treat a dental condition
  • Improper sterilization of any surgical or dental utensils
  • Installation of defective dental products
  • Failure to adequately detect some oral deformity or disease
  • Failure to update medical records regularly
  • Failure to notice oral pathology
  • Not properly addressing periodontal disease
  • Injuring the patient

One major problem is if the dental professional doesn’t regularly update the medical records of their patient. The dental professionals should be updating the medical records for their patients. Even if there aren’t any changes, this should be noted in the chart. This can be especially important if the patient has a particularly complicated medical history. Every 3 years, the medical professionals should get a brand-new medical history from the patient.

When talking about oral pathology, this refers to the diagnosis and treatment of various oral diseases that can arise including oral cancer. If the medical professional overlooks any lesion that could potentially be malignant or failing to diagnose a patient’s oral cancer, they can be held liable for dental malpractice.

Another major issue is when the dentist doesn’t adequately detect periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases, also known as gum disease or periodontitis, can be a very serious problem especially when left untreated. For one thing, this condition can eventually lead to tooth loss as it can cause the deterioration of the tissue surrounding the tooth. This can also be serious as it can potentially contribute to lung and/or heart diseases.  

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Injuries Caused by Dental Malpractice

Dental professionals are responsible for identifying any potential health risks and then take the proper measures to ensure their safety. A lot of the claims against a dental professional are related to the treatment that the patient received at the dental office. While it’s easy to think people are silly for their extreme fear of the dentist, there are many different injuries a patient can suffer from when they go to the dentist. These injuries include:

  • Gum damage
  • Anesthesia problems
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (which can result in jaw pain as well as difficulty with eating or speaking)
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Infections
  • Nerve and/or tissue damage
  • Damage to any part of the oral structure like the tongue, gums, or teeth
  • Infections caused by improperly sterilized dental equipment
  • Tooth trauma

There is also the potential for things to go horribly wrong, which can result in the patient’s death. If a patient dies as a result of the dental professional’s negligence, then there can be a claim filed against the dental professional.

Death can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Improper care
  • Using contaminated tools or equipment
  • Failure to check in on patients with dysphagia, sepsis, or other signs of infection
  • Improper use of anesthesia

Understanding Informed Consent

It’s important to be aware of informed consent here. Any medical professional needs to be sure that they get informed consent from either the patient themselves, or their legal guardian/parent if they are not old enough to make their own medical decisions. It can be difficult sometimes to gain this informed consent, especially if there is a language barrier to consider. The insurance providers are required to pay for a translator to help the dental professional explain the procedures and get informed concerns.

But what is informed consent? This just basically means that the patient is fully informed of the procedure or treatment that has been recommended by their dental professional and that they consent to moving forward. It’s very important that before you give your informed consent, that you fully understand everything about the procedure or treatment. The dental professional must make it clear about what your diagnosis is, what treatment they propose, what risks this treatment carries, and if there are any alternative treatments to consider. You should also ask any questions that you may have to make sure you feel comfortable with their treatment plan.

Typically, the patient will sign a written authorization to acknowledge that they fully understand the treatment and diagnosis and accept any risks associated with it. There are many cases where there isn’t a written document and it’s primarily the conversation between the patient and dental professionals and they will make note of the patient giving their consent.

Conclusion

Anything can happen when you go to the dentist, which is one reason why people are always so anxious about going to the dentist. If something does happen and it’s the fault of the dentist, you are entitled to specific rights in your case. An experienced dental malpractice attorney can be extremely helpful to you because they have complete understanding of these complex cases and can walk you through every step of the process. You can get a no obligation, free consultation to determine whether or not you have a case against your dentist. If you do, they can begin moving forward with the process to get you the compensation that you deserve.

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The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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