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Articles Posted in Dental Malpractice

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When people hear the phrase “medical malpractice,” they often think of harm caused by a surgeon or primary care physician, but medical malpractice also encompasses harm by practitioners in other fields, such as dentists. Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland analyzed what constitutes sufficient proof of dental negligence in a case in which the plaintiff could not identify the specific mechanism of harm. If you suffered harm due to dental negligence, it is sensible to meet with a knowledgeable Baltimore dental malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation.

Factual Background of the Case and Trial

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant dentist for the surgical extraction of her wisdom teeth. She had never treated with the defendant before. Prior to the extraction, she was given a consent form for the extraction, which she signed. The defendant did not discuss the procedure with the plaintiff before giving her the consent form. The plaintiff was conscious during the procedure and recalled that the defendant had difficulty extracting one tooth, and when it was successfully removed, the defendant and his assistants were yelling and cheering.

Reportedly, following the surgery, the plaintiff never regained sensation or the ability to taste in the left side of her mouth. She ultimately visited a dental surgeon, who diagnosed her with a severe injury of the left lingual nerve. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. During the trial, the plaintiff’s expert testified regarding the standard of care for dental extractions and stated that there were two possible ways in which he thought that the injury might have occurred. The defendant moved for judgment in his favor at the close of evidence, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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Dentists, just like other medical professionals, must provide their patients with competent care. The sad reality is that this does not always happen. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to a dental error, you may be entitled to compensation.

Many different types of dental health care providers can be liable for malpractice, including a general dentist, an oral surgeon, an orthodontist, or even a dental hygienist. Dental malpractice typically involves an injury to a person’s mouth, jaw, or head. Some example of serious dental injuries include:

  • Gum infections;
  • Root canal errors;
  • Nerve injuries to the jaw, lips, or tongue;
  • Wisdom tooth extraction injuries;
  • Facial deformities;
  • Crown and bridges errors;
  • TMJ damage;
  • Oral cancer; or
  • Crown errors.

Dental malpractice, like other forms of medical malpractice, takes place when a dental health care provider is negligent. A dental professional isn’t considered negligent simply because the desired outcome was not achieved. Instead, a dental malpractice claim requires establishing the following elements. The dental professional owed the patient a duty to adhere to a certain standard of care, the dental professional breached that duty by deviating from the acceptable standard of care (i.e., the dental provider failed to act as a reasonable and prudent dental provider would have acted under the same or similar circumstances), and the dental professional’s deviation from the standard of care was a direct cause of the patient’s injury.

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