Dental malpractice describes a situation in which a patient has been harmed as a result of sub-standard dental care. In the same way that doctors can be held accountable for medical negligence, dentists can be held liable for injury they cause to patients.
Dental malpractice is the rarest form of medical malpractice in the United States. The difficulty in proving dental malpractice means fewer cases make it to court, as compared to cases involving other fields of medicine. Despite dental malpractice being comparatively rare, the National Practitioner Data Bank reports that there were 1,321 dentists and hygienists involved in malpractice lawsuits in 2016.
If you think you might have grounds for a dental malpractice lawsuit, the information in this article will help you with your next steps.
Common Types of Dental Malpractice
It may surprise you to find out that dental malpractice occurs more frequently as a result of routine procedures or interactions than it does from complex or high-risk procedures. This is possibly because complex and high-risk procedures encourage more attention and diligence from the dentist carrying them out. Conversely, a dentist is far more likely to forget something or not pay attention properly when performing a procedure they have carried out thousands of times.
Some of the most common reasons that dental malpractice suits are filed include:
- Delaying treatments
- Diagnosing too late
- Failing to refer their patient to a specialist
- Performing procedures on the incorrect tooth
- Choosing an inappropriate treatment option
- Inadequately performing a procedure