Dental Malpractice

Taylor & Blair LLP was recently featured on Clearway Law discussing Dental Negligence.

In today’s day and age the practice of dentistry is a competitive one, with more dentists clinics than ever before.  In an area where once you’d find one dental clinic you now find many.  With the large start up costs for dental offices, these dentists need to get the client’s in and make the money necessary to pay down those costs.  Unfortunately, this can result in dental malpractice claims.

Types of Dental Negligence

There are numerous types of dental malpractice however they can usually be broken up into two areas.  The first is financially motivated malpractice.  The second is malpractice occurred by negligence.

An example of financially motivated malpractice is when a dentist strays into the area of a specialist and attempts to do orthodontic or periodontic work so they can bill for procedures and not have to refer the patient out.  These often find out there is a reason that orthodontists and periodontists had to take the further training to obtain their specialist credentials when complications arise with the patient’s teeth.  Another common example of financially motivated malpractice is when dentists or dental specialists perform unnecessary procedures such as extractions or root canals.  These dental procedures are expensive and there are dental professionals who will push client’s into them even if they aren’t warranted.  A small issue with a tooth that causes no pain or discomfort to the patient may not need to have a procedure done on it, but there are unfortunately dental professionals who will jump at any chance to bill a client.

The other area of dental malpractice is that occurred due to negligence.  There are numerous ways this can happen, including complications arising from improperly installed dental implants, crowns or bridges, improper use of anesthesia, failure to recognize and diagnose oral cancer, use of defective or improper tools, dental procedures carried out without the requisite skill, and having an Improper treatment plan in place, or having no treatment plan at all.  

Injuries from Dental Malpractice

Dental malpractice can result in a number of injuries, including:

  • Temporomandibular joint injury (TMJ); 
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Loss of teeth
  • Loss of sensation
  • Infections
  • Impaired hearing
  • Impaired speech
  • Loss of balance
  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most dental malpractice requires further procedures to correct the negligent dental work.

The High Cost of Dental Negligence

For most in British Columbia, dentistry and its specialist areas are not covered under MSP.  Dental procedures can be very expensive and fixing the results of dental malpractice can quickly add up.  Fixing a single implant that was improperly placed can cost around $10,000.00.  Fixing a serious problem could cost into the tens of thousands of dollars.  

Often these costly remedial procedures have to be spaced out over time, which can exacerbate emotional issues flowing from the dental malpractice.  That is assuming the patient can afford to pay to have to problems fixed.  If not, they are stuck having to deal with any pain and cosmetic issues they are left with until after their dental malpractice claim is resolved.

If you believe you have suffered due to dental malpractice contact the lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today.  There are timelines in which you have to act or your claim could be statute barred.