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Medical Mistakes in Dentistry

Casey Woodruff

dentistWhen most of us think about the risks of injury due to medical errors, we consider hazards at hospitals and other facilities where we might see a physician or a surgeon. Yet medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, can happen in a wide variety of locations around Naperville. While medical mistakes do occur with some frequency in the hospital setting, it is important to think carefully about other forms of medical errors, such as those that occur in dentists’ offices. As an article from Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine emphasizes, “medical errors leading to adverse events can occur in dentistry.” In other words, whenever you visit your dentist’s office for a cleaning, or make a follow-up appointment for a cavity, you could be at risk of sustaining an injury.

What do you need to know about medical mistakes in dentistry and filing a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Identifying Common Errors Made By Dentists and Hygienists

What are some of the most common mistakes made in dental care? According to the article in Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine and an article from Dentistry IQ Magazine, a resource for dental professionals, the following are some examples of common mistakes that may lead to a dental malpractice lawsuit:

  • Failure to properly maintain dental equipment and instruments: when dental instruments and equipment, including probes, retractors, and mirrors are not properly maintained, patients can suffer serious injuries.
  • Failure to properly sterilize dental equipment: when dental equipment is not properly sanitized, bacteria can grow, and patients can sustain serious infections that can have severe repercussions. In some cases, infections caused by poorly sterilized dental equipment can require hospitalization.
  • Failure to properly maintain a patient’s records: when a dental professional does not keep proper records, a number of subsequent medical errors can occur. For instance, a dentist might perform a procedure that is unnecessary to the patient, or the dentist might perform a procedure on the wrong tooth or area of the patient’s mouth. And when dentists do not keep accurate records about the medications a patient currently takes or certain allergies, a patient can have a serious (and preventable) reaction to a prescribed drug.
  • Failure to acquire a patient’s informed consent, which can lead to a lawsuit in the event that a procedure does not go as planned, despite known risks.
  • Failure to consider infection control measures: if a dentist or anyone else working in dental medicine does not follow proper procedures when it comes to infection control measures, a patient who sustains a serious infection may be able to file a successful medical negligence lawsuit.
  • Anesthesia errors: giving the wrong anesthesia dosage can have life-altering consequences for a patient.
  • Failure to provide proper follow-up care: some dental procedures and oral surgeries require certain follow-ups. If a patient suffers an injury after a procedure (related to that procedure) and the dentist never follows up, the patient may consider a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Naperville

There are other mistakes, as well, that can lead to a successful dental malpractice claim. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, while statistics on dental mistakes are not as well recorded as hospital mistakes, “dental malpractice may be more common than many patients realize.” If you or someone you love suffered injuries because of a dentist’s negligence, you should discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Naperville. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today for more information about filing a claim for compensation.

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