The Basics of Dental Malpractice

Injury Attorneys | Restoring LivesTM

June 11, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |


Are you afraid of going to the dentist? You’re not alone: Dentophobia is a common fear, with an overwhelming majority of people experiencing at least some level of anxiety about dental checkups. Usually, that fear is misplaced; however, sometimes mistakes happen, causing severe and long-lasting health complications.

When a dentist is negligent and causes you or your loved one injury, it could be grounds for a medical malpractice case.

Common Types of Dental Malpractice

According to the American Dental Association, there were almost 200,000 dentists practicing in the United States in 2018, including general dentists as well as specialists like orthodontists and oral surgeons. These dentists can make mistakes just like any other doctor. The following types of dental malpractice are the most common errors.

Tooth Extraction Mistakes

Most of the time, getting a tooth removed is a routine procedure. Unfortunately, when complications arise, they tend to be serious and can include nerve damage, facial fractures, and sinus perforation.

Complications with Crowns, Bridges, and Implants

Improperly placed crowns, bridges, and implants can result in infections, significant discomfort, the inability to chew, or gaps in a patient’s teeth.

Dental Anesthesia Errors

The anesthesia drugs and techniques used in a dental office and in a hospital are the same, and similar errors and complications occur. Patients can have allergic reactions, suffer nerve damage from numbing agents, or even die.

Infections and Injuries

All treatments and surgeries come with a risk of infection, but if a dentist fails to identify and treat an infection, the patient could suffer severe consequences. Blood poisoning, cardiac complications, and brain abscesses are all possibilities.

Dental injuries are equally as serious. Endodontic procedures such as root canals can cause blocked blood vessels as well as sinus and nerve damage, while inadequate orthodontic treatment can result in root complications and loss of teeth.

Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose

When a dentist misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose a disease, such as periodontal disease or oral cancer, it can lead to a delay in the appropriate treatment or a lack of any medical care for the disease at all. Patients with untreated diseases or conditions will continue to suffer harm, leading to consequences that can become fatal.

How to Prove Negligence

The process of showing negligence in a dental malpractice case is the same as any other type of medical malpractice case. You and your lawyer must prove the following:

  • The dentist owed you a duty of care.
  • The dentist violated the established duty of care.
  • You were injured.
  • Your injury was caused by the dentist’s deviation from the duty of care.

Additionally, collecting evidence such as medical records, photographs, and witness statements can help strengthen your dental malpractice case.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of dental malpractice or another type of medical malpractice, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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