United Dental Alliance
United Dental Alliance

Is My Dentist Accountable for Medical Malpractice?

| April 28, 2013

A trip to the dentist is a dreaded event for many, but usually the end result of a healthy, pain-free mouth is worth the time in the dentist’s chair. But what happens when you leave the dentist’s office feeling worse than when you went in? What if you suspect that a dentist’s negligence left you in serious long-term pain or with even more serious issues like an infection or possible nerve damage?

Like doctors, dentists are accountable to uphold acceptable medical practices. As such, they can also be sued for medical malpractice. But just because you are suffering from a dental visit doesn’t necessarily mean that you can sue your dentist. All dentists are expected to uphold a reasonable standard of care. This means that in the specified situation, the dentist acted in line with what most other dentists would have also done. Only when a dentist has breached the expected reasonable standard of care can they be sued for medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice cases are serious allegations and can be draining for both the dentist and the harmed patient, so making sure that your complaint is valid is an important first step. If you think that your dentist did not uphold a reasonable standard of care, then you should contact an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. An attorney who specializes in medical malpractice will be able to assess your claim in order to determine if they think your complaint would be upheld by a court of law.

Possible reasons for a dental malpractice suit include the following:

  • An infection following a dental procedure
  • Severed nerves or other nerve damage that occurred during a dental procedure
  • Complications occurring after a tooth extraction

As mentioned above, you should consider your case against a dentist with a medical malpractice attorney to determine if any of the above reasons are cause enough for a malpractice claim. If you proceed with a claim, you will need to prove that the dentist breached the standard of care:

  • Obtain a copy of all your dental records
  • Keep a close record of all your dental visits- particularly follow up visits and how the dentist assessed the situation. Also keep record of any phone calls you made to the dentist office and any written correspondence with the office.
  • You will need to seek out the opinion of a second dentist to see how they would have handled your dental situation. Your medical malpractice attorney can help you find an appropriate second opinion if you have not already done so.

If you are successful in your malpractice claim, you may be able to collect damages for the following:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • The cost of associated medical bills
  • Compensation for time away for work

Most dentists strive to provide an excellent standard of care to their patients, but negligence on the part of dentists does occur. Patients who have suffered dental malpractice deserve just compensation. If you think that you have a valid malpractice claim, you will need to contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Many states limit the amount of time after a medical occurrence in which you can file a claim.

Although based in Tennessee, with offices in Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis, Gilreath & Associates handles cases throughout the southeastern United States. In fact, the firm has obtained successful results in 12 states, both in and out of court.

Tags: dental malpractice, medical malpractice, medical malpractice attorney, TN medical malpractice lawyers

Category: Patient Care

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