Are Dental Mistakes Considered Medical Malpractice? | Scott Goodwin Law

Are Dental Mistakes Considered Medical Malpractice?

by / Wednesday, 19 July 2023 / Published in Medical Malpractice
View of an empty chair in a dentist office.

Medical malpractice can take many different forms. In some cases, a patient is affected by a mistake made during surgery. Or an incorrect diagnosis could mean a patient doesn’t get the care they need in time or they’re given the wrong treatment. But if someone seeks dental care and a dentist makes a mistake that injures the patient, is that considered medical malpractice? Yes, dental mistakes can be a form of medical malpractice.

As is the case for other types of medical professionals, dentists are required to meet a certain standard of care when working with their patients. In malpractice cases, a standard of care refers to the level of care that another doctor with a similar background and experience would reasonably provide when working under similar circumstances. If the care a dental patient receives doesn’t meet this standard, it may be considered dental malpractice. Dental malpractice can result in serious injuries or death.

According to Berxi, about 11.5% of all medical malpractice payments made between 2010 and 2021 involved dentists and dental hygienists, although dental malpractice claims tend to involve dentists much more commonly than dental hygienists. 

Common Types of Dental Malpractice

Dental malpractice can occur in many of the same ways as other types of medical malpractice claims, such as misdiagnosis/failing to diagnose a problem, mistakes involving anesthesia and medication, performing unnecessary procedures, working with improperly sterilized tools, doing procedures on the wrong site (such as pulling the wrong tooth), and making other types of mistakes during procedures. According to the American Dental Association, improper tooth extraction is one of the most common types of dental malpractice claims. Not only can this mean unnecessarily removing a healthy tooth, it can also include damage to gums and nerves.

The ADA also states that mistakes involving endodontic procedures are the second most common type of dental malpractice claim. These types of claims can involve issues like sinus and nerve perforations, serious infections, and instruments being left inside cavities. They may also involve osteomyelitis and brain abscesses that can result in brain injuries or even death. 

In dental malpractice cases, it’s also common to see claims involving mistakes in orthodontic treatments, such as braces that were applied incorrectly. When this happens, it can cause problems such as jaw problems and incorrect tooth placement.

Contact a Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Malpractice claims of any kind can be very complex and if you believe you were the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to have someone on your side who knows the law and can help you get the justice you deserve. At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from a Michigan-based medical malpractice lawyer experienced in helping the victims of medical malpractice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so that you can learn more about your legal options and get answers to any questions you have.

Image: Unsplash / Atikah Akhtar