For anyone who has ever had dental work done, there is a general assumption that there will be at least a little bit of pain involved, even if it is just from the anaesthesia needle. However, sometimes mistakes are made and a patient is left to deal with ongoing pain or numbness. Dental malpractice is not as widely known as medical malpractice, but it certainly does exist. Dentists are expected to meet a certain standard of care and not inflict unnecessary harm on their patients.
Usually when a dental patient experiences unexpected pain or numbness after a procedure, especially if it is ongoing several days after, he will re-visit the dentist or oral surgeon to have the area checked out and hopefully corrected. This re-assessment is important because sometimes a procedure can go well, but a patient can get an infection afterward and will need to be treated for that to eliminate the pain and prevent damage to the affected area. Other times though, pain or numbness may continue beyond the re-assessment or a dentist may be unwilling to accept that the problem was caused by the dental work. This is when dental malpractice must be considered. Dealing with these ongoing dental problems can be devastating to a person’s lifestyle and/or self esteem.
It is good to know some of the signs to look out for when dental work has possibly gone wrong. Ongoing pain or numbness in the mouth, tongue, lips, chin or teeth should definitely be investigated. During freezing or dental work, nerves can be damaged. The pain or numbness may resolve over time as the nerve heals, or it may be permanent due to more severe nerve damage. Injuries of this kind can cause a host of problems including an inability to chew properly, loss of taste, facial muscles that no longer move and others.
Also, dental professionals are responsible for checking their patients’ mouths for oral cancer. A patient may hold her dentist accountable for failing to detect oral cancer. In addition, there are other diseases of the mouth and gums that are progressive and will cause further harm if left untreated. Periodontal (gum) disease is one such issue; if left untreated it will cause a patient to lose his teeth. Creating faulty oral devices that cause harm or extracting the wrong teeth can be considered malpractice as well.
Most dentists are contentious and thorough in their work. They care about their patients and want to correct any unforeseen dental issues. However, there are times when dental malpractice comes into play. If you or someone you care about has been adversely affected by the work of a dental professional, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney. Our office is experienced in dental malpractice cases and will assess your case for free. Just take a moment to fill out our form and our Dallas medical malpractice lawyers will be in touch to discuss your options.