When you think of medical malpractice, chances are you think of an act by a doctor, physician or medical staff. When you have a bad experience at the dentist, you might not be thinking of legal options the same way as if you were at a hospital or doctor’s office, but dental malpractice is a form of medical malpractice, as well.
Dental malpractice is rare, with statistics showing that only one in seven medical malpractice cases involve dental malpractice. Part of the reason might be because dental malpractice involves more than dental care that falls below an acceptable level. You must also be seriously injured because of the care you received.
Causes of dental malpractice
There are many common causes of dental malpractice. Complications from a tooth extraction are one of the leading causes, with some cases even resulting in death.
Tooth extractions can cause infections to develop, injuries to your sinus cavity, nerve damage or a jaw fracture. Some cases even involve a dentist extracting the wrong tooth.
Improperly performed root canals, medication errors, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and complications from anesthesia are other causes of dental malpractice.
You might also have a case for dental malpractice if you did not receive informed consent before undergoing a procedure or treatment. Your dentist has a legal duty to fully explain the risks and benefits of a procedure to you so you have the information you need to make a decision.
Proving dental malpractice
Medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois can get complicated. You must prove negligence, which means showing that your dentist breached their legal duty of care and that caused your damages.
You can prove negligence through evidence such as expert testimony, photographs and medical records. There is also a statute of limitations in which to file your claim. These are just some reasons why it is best to have professional help if you believe you have a case of dental malpractice.