When many of us hear the word “malpractice,” we think of medical doctors who, through negligence or improper actions, have caused injury to patients. However, that is only one group of healthcare practitioners.
Dentists, too, can make careless mistakes or not take actions they should that result in months and even years of pain or difficulty with everyday functions such as chewing or speaking. It’s estimated that one of seven malpractice cases involves dental professionals.
What is Dental Malpractice?
There are about 15,000 dentists in the state of New York, who to obtain licensure, must meet several educational, experience, and examination requirements, and be over age 21 and of a good moral character. Many take their responsibility to patients’ oral health very seriously. However, if a dentist makes a mistake during a procedure or fails to provide care that meets the profession’s standards that result in injury or death, he or she could be held liable for malpractice.
Examples of dental malpractice include:
- Missed diagnosis of conditions such as periodontitis or oral cancer
- Errors during root canal, tooth extraction or other dental surgeries
- Unnecessary tooth extractions
- Nerve injuries, including those leading to facial paralysis
- Anesthesia or prescription medication errors
- Failure to take a thorough medical history
- Unnecessarily delaying dental treatment
Filing a Dental Malpractice Claim in New York
If you’ve had dental care that causes ongoing pain, loss of function, serious conditions because of a missed diagnosis, or another injury, you might want to speak with a personal injury attorney experienced in dental malpractice cases. Keep in mind:
- Even with the highest level of dental treatment, a patient might experience pain. A successful dental malpractice case demonstrates your dentist did not follow the accepted standard of care, either unintentionally or intentionally, which caused your pain, loss of function, or missed diagnosis.
- Your lawyer will need all the information you can provide, such as copies of dental records, insurance payments, X-rays, and names of the dentist, dental assistant, or dental hygienist who treated you.
- In New York, the timeline, or statute of limitations, to file a dental malpractice claim is typically 2 ½ years from the date of injury. However, the deadline may be earlier based on where your dental work was done, for example, so it’s important to speak with a lawyer familiar with these exceptions.
- Separately, if your dentist did not fully explain the risks of a procedure or the available alternatives, you might have an informed consent case.
Navigating the Complex Malpractice Landscape
When you choose a dentist, do your homework, and look for one who is licensed, experienced, well-credentialed, and has a good professional reputation. Even then, mistakes can be made that result in pain, loss of function, and even death. The personal injury attorneys at Sayegh & Sayegh PC are experienced in New York dental malpractice law and are available to help you. To learn more, call (914) 222-8161 or contact us online.