Seattle Dental Malpractice Attorneys
Dentists are healthcare professionals. Though they only work on a small area of the body, they are required to obtain a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) or DMD (doctor of dental medicine) degree. So they are, in fact, doctors. Just like other doctors, they can make mistakes, act carelessly, and be negligent when treating a patient. And just like other doctors, when their negligence injures a patient, they can be found guilty of medical malpractice.
Victims of dental malpractice may be able to get compensation for their further dental care, any medical bills, and pain and suffering related to the injury. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at the dentist or during oral surgery, contact a Seattle medical malpractice lawyer at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., for a free consultation.
Types of Dental Malpractice
Most dentists are competent and provide quality treatment for their patients. But sometimes things go wrong. That can occur in many different ways, but the most common types of dental malpractice are:
- Nerve damage in the tongue, lips, jaw, or facial muscles from local anesthesia injections or drilling
- Disfigurement of the face, mouth, or teeth
- Improperly performed root canals that kill the teeth
- Improperly performed crown or bridge procedures
- Improperly sterilized equipment
- Failure to get patient consent
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose gum disease or oral cancer
- Extracting a tooth that is healthy
- Failure to refer patient to a specialist, such as an orthodontist
- Failure to treat a complication or issue, resulting in further damage
Dental injuries don’t always happen during routine treatment. Things can also go wrong during oral surgery, and a patient may have to be admitted to the hospital. These injuries can be even more serious for the patient. They include:
- Fracture of the tooth’s enamel
- Fracture of the tooth’s root
- Teeth getting knocked loose
- Teeth being knocked out
- Teeth getting stuck in the socket
- Injuries to the supporting bone tissues, including the socket walls, mandibles, and maxilla
- Cuts to soft tissues, including the lips and gums
Unfortunately, this damage may not be noticeable right after dental surgery or even a routine checkup in the dentist’s chair. If you suspect the dentist or hygienist made a mistake that’s causing you pain and unnecessary suffering, speak to an attorney who can help you with your case.
Proving a Dental Malpractice Claim
In order to prove a dental malpractice claim, the patient has to prove that the dentist was negligent and that negligence caused injury; also, that they had a dentist–patient relationship at the time of the injury.
A dentist’s insurance company will fight hard against all claims because it doesn’t want to pay you any money. Dentists and oral surgeons also fight very hard because they have a reputation to protect. For these reasons, injured patients hesitate to put themselves through filing a dental malpractice claim. But there’s help available.
A Washington Dental Malpractice Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at the dentist or during oral surgery, contact the experienced attorneys here at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., toll-free at (888) 228-3860. We know what it takes to win these claims. After reviewing your case for free, we’ll help you fight for any compensation you may be entitled to.
- Dentist RCWs and WACs :: Washington State Department of Health
- An Adverse Event Trigger Tool in Dentistry: A New Methodology for Measuring Harm in the Dental Office.
- Safety In Dentistry - AHRQ Patient Safety Network
- Oral and Dental Health - National Center for Health Statistics
- Dental Health - MedlinePlus