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DENTAL MALPRACTICE

Overview

INTRODUCTION: The mere thought of a visit to a Dentist causes many of us to break out into a cold sweat. The whining sound of the drill, the spray, the open mouth and jaw, and the assortment of instruments pinching your palate and tongue all add up to a very necessary, but unpleasant, experience.

In most cases, treatment concludes in a satisfactory manner. The tooth is filled or extracted, the bridge is inserted, the cap is fitted, and the root canal work is concluded. But, sometimes treatment does not end with a good result. An injury occurs or the result is unsatisfactory. See some of the awards we've won for clients.

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Under What Circumstances Is The Dentist Responsible? When Can You Sue The Dentist And Recover Money Damages?

Where a dentist ground down all of the patient's teeth and fixed caps and crowns, but the patient thereafter suffered from pain and swelling, bad breadth, bad taste and swelling. The Court sustained a judgment for the patient after her second treating dentist testified that the area had not been properly prepared or treated prior to the fitting.

Where the dentist failed to stop the bleeding after an extract.

Where acid was spilled on a patient during the course of treatment.

Where a dentist removed healthy teeth unnecessarily.

Where a dentist used unclean or unsterilized instruments which caused an infection.

Where the dentist broke the patients jaw while using a mallet to remove a impacted tooth.

Where the dentist extracted a tooth, but left the root of one tooth in the patient's jaw.

Where the dentist pulled the wrong tooth while the patient was under anesthesia and thereafter pulled the right one.-- When Has the Dentist Been Held Not to Be Liable?

Here are several cases in which the dentist was held not to be liable:

When a one-inch needle, used to administer an anesthetic to the patient before performing dental work, broke off and became embedded in the patient's jaw, the patient was not successful in showing that the use of such a needle was not acceptable practice, nor that the method of injecting was the result of improper technique, nor that any other treatment was not in conformance with acceptable practice. The Court concluded that it was not demonstrated that the injury came about from any provable act of negligence on the part of the dentist.

Where the patient claimed that his mouth was sore after an operation, but with no proof of negligence, the Court held that a bad result was not sufficient to make out a case against the dentist.

It should be noted that there is a strict limitation of time in which a dentist can be sued in the State of New York. The law permits no case against a dentist more than 30 months after the last date of continuous dental treatment. Any case brought beyond that period of time is subject to dismissal.

Bringing a successful case against a dentist for injuries sustained by reason of malpractice can be difficult. There are many legal hurdles to overcome before the patient can collect any money damages.

Only a lawyer with extensive experience in handling malpractice case should be consulted if you think you have a claim.