Watching over your oral health is just as important as the rest of your body. Quality dental care is essential for your overall well-being and will help bring you in the right direction towards health. And you have your dentist to thank. However, if you’re not that invested in going to the dentist because you can maintain your dental hygiene, then you might want to know the answers for ‘how to search for a cheap dentist near me?’ and ‘which dentist can I trust?’ No matter your budget, you should be vigilant in choosing the right dental provider, because dental negligence is a real issue you should avoid.
Signs of Dental Negligence
As soon as they entered the medical field, dentists made an oath to take care of their patients as much as possible. However, dental negligence goes against that belief. Here are signs that could help you identify if your dentist commits dental negligence:
1. Failure To Diagnose Properly
As the patient, you have the right to know what’s going on with your health. Whether it’s an issue as simple as plaque, as the professional, the dentist should let you know everything they’ve diagnosed.
Some dentists neglect to do this. They may take no mind of your complaints about having sore gums, or they might ignore the rest of your mouth in favor of only cleaning your teeth. Because of this lack of diagnosis, you could be in danger of having your overall health affected by something as severe as oral cancer.
Of course, there would be cases that some dentists will provide their diagnoses. However, misdiagnosing could also happen, which is just as harmful as neglect. Instead of performing a treatment or prescribing medicine that may help, there’s a chance your condition will remain—or worse, aggravate it even further. Because of this error, you need to pay for another diagnosis to figure out your prescribed medicine.
Moreover, delaying your diagnosis could endanger your health as well. The more time you continue without treatment, the worse your symptoms could get. Depriving yourself of the results that could identify your condition might only degrade it even further until it mutated past what the results showed.
2. Poor Dental Service
Dental fillings or treatments restore your teeth to their healthy, normal appearance. However, when done improperly, these could cause more problems to your teeth. You can tell they’re poorly restored when they have these characteristics:
Teeth are supposed to be smooth for easier cleaning. But with the fillings jagged on where they’re connected, it’s easier for bacteria to cling and hide along their edges. Because they’re hiding, it’ll be challenging to brush your teeth thoroughly, which could result in plaque and decay or serve as a breeding ground for some other dental problem.
Another example is tooth extraction. Some people are wary when undergoing this treatment because extracting a tooth already sounds painful as it is. Don’t worry; you’ll be numb once your dentist starts operating on your teeth. However, once you get home and the anesthetic wears off, you might be wondering why your teeth are aching, only to discover your dentist extracted the wrong one.
3. Cause of Needless Injury
Because of unsatisfactory performance, this could cause injury that wasn’t supposed to happen in the first place. Other than decay and plaque, poorly restored teeth could lead to fillings chipping off and jamming in-between teeth. When that happens, bacteria could build up where you can’t brush and this may infect your gums, leading to periodontal diseases and losing your teeth completely.
Besides losing a perfectly healthy tooth from a failed tooth extraction, it could lead to another procedure called the dental implant. Far more painful both on your mouth and pocket, a dental implant has no guarantee it’ll solve an easily preventable problem, especially if the same dentist will operate on you. Because other than failing tooth extraction, poorly implanting a tooth could cause nerve injury when placed too deep.
And since your teeth are connected to your overall health, there’s a possibility that a failed oral operation may snowball into different conditions, such as:
- Sinus infection
- Heart disease
- Premature birth, and potentially
- Alzheimer’s disease
What To Do
So, you want to sue your negligent dentist for causing you pain and costing you money, but you don’t know where to start. Due to how serious and time-consuming the case filing process is, you need to hire an attorney specializing in dental malpractice to help you out. Once you get one, they might ask about what happened to evaluate your case. Serving as a guide, here are four principles you should take into account first:
Since dentistry is a part of the medical field, their oath to caretake their patients doesn’t need to be said anymore. However, for this part, you must identify why exactly did you go to the dentist that day. Did you want a cleaning? Perhaps you have an appointment for a tooth extraction? Whatever the reason is, identify it.
2. Breach of Duty
Now you’ve identified what it was, the next thing you should know is what did they do to fail in that regard. Did they ignore the signs of periodontitis in your mouth? Did they barely look at your x-ray and pull out the wrong tooth? Whatever caused your operation to go awry must be pointed out.
Here, you’re supposed to be connecting both the damage caused to the breach done by your dentist. However, this part could be tricky, especially if there are other factors to consider, such as having any dental problems before this dental negligence case. If that’s the case, then what you might think as a ‘breach’ is probably just a complication, considering your case null.
But if that’s not what happened, then it’s recommended you have another unbiased dentist act as your medical witness. Since they’re familiar with dentistry, as well, your attorney can strengthen your case with the witness’s testimony.
Lastly, you’ll need visible proof to have the court favor you. X-rays, your patient history, your written consent—the court will review every piece of document recorded during the event of dental negligence, so it’s you and your attorney’s job to provide it.
Dental health is essential to ensure the quality of life, and the service provided by dentistry affirms that quality. However, there may come a time that you could encounter some dentists who don’t share the same belief, resulting in dental negligence, risking your safety. But you can identify it to make a case in court. By winning, you’ll be brought to justice, and that negligent dentist can’t hurt any more people.