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The Role of a Medical Expert in a Dentistry Medical Malpractice Case

The Role of a Medical Expert in a Dentistry Medical Malpractice Case

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Medical malpractice in the field of dentistry tends to get overlooked compared to other more high profile types of medical malpractice, but it is a reminder that malpractice can happen in any field of medicine, not just in hospitals and doctor’s surgeries. Medical experts are just as much in demand to provide informed opinions in cases of dental malpractice as in any other field of medicine.

Dental malpractice can occur at any stage of dental treatment

Dental malpractice mainly involves mistakes made by dentists as well as dental hygienists and dental assistants. Cases of malpractice can occur at any stage of dentistry, from a failure to make a diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of oral and other diseases to mistakes during dental surgery, dental malpractice is an everyday occurrence. Victims of dental malpractice may decide to initiate a malpractice lawsuit. Medical experts may be called upon to provide detailed opinions about particular elements of the malpractice suit needed by the plaintiff’s attorney to mount a convincing case for compensation.

Examples of dental malpractice

1. Failure to diagnose

Dentists are expected to check for signs of disease during routine oral examinations. Early detection of gum disease, infection of the oral cavity, teeth and jaws and oral cancer are part of the dentist’s job during an examination. Failure to detect and diagnose signs of disease can lead to great harm and even death.

2. Problems brought about by incorrect anesthesia

Incorrect use of anesthesia is a common type of malpractice in surgery, but it also applies to dentistry. The same types of anesthetics are used in dentistry as in surgery and the same mistakes can occur in both fields of medicine. Incorrect doses of anesthetic drugs, too much or too little, a failure to check for allergic reactions can all lead to a malpractice lawsuit further down the track.

3. Failure to obtain informed consent

Informed consent may be required in some dental procedures; failure to obtain consent when a particular issue arises and the dentist proceeds with treatment anyway may lead to a health issue and a malpractice lawsuit against the dentist. A malpractice claim may also be made if a dentist goes ahead and treats a patient for something that was unnecessary.

4. Post-treatment infection

Use of contaminated equipment or a failure to treat abscesses or gum disease effectively enough or a failure to seal tissue that has been exposed can lead to potentially dangerous infection.

5. Mistakes during dental treatment

Dentistry can and does involve quite intrusive methods that occasionally go wrong, sometimes because of incompetence and sometimes because of a failure to diagnose the problem beforehand adequately. Mistakes may occur in all common dental techniques like extractions, fillings, and the fitting of implants, crowns and bridges. There may be negligence due to too much sedation, an error made during the procedure, improper planning or ill fitting implants or bridges. These can cause extreme discomfort, a tendency for malformed teeth and infection, all of which could lead to a malpractice lawsuit.

The role of a medical expert in dental malpractice cases

It is unlikely that a dental malpractice case will be won without dental expert witness medical knowledge about the complications and mistakes that have led to the case being filed. Your attorney will work alongside a dental expert witness to ensure that technical details concerning the issue that has led to the lawsuit are accurate and support the claim for compensation.


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