Originally published by Misha.
According to the Dallas Morning News, a dental patient dies every other day in the United States. If you are shocked by this, you’re not alone. While this is a rough calculation based on data gathered right here in Texas, the fact of the matter is that dental deaths are a real – and growing – problem in our country. While many dread going to the dentist for everything from routine cleanings to more involved procedures like a root canal, no one expects that they won’t walk away from the dentist’s chair at all. As with any other medical professional, dentists are required to adhere to a specific standard of care. In the event a dentist acts negligently, resulting in the patient suffering a serious injury, or worse, he or she should be held accountable. In recent years, we have learned that dental malpractice is far more likely than you may think. However, we have not learned about just how big of a problem this is until recently.
State governments are supposed to keep tabs on dentists, but they have unfortunately failed to collect the necessary and meaningful statistics that we need in order to see if dental malpractice is something that needs to be addressed at a higher level.
What is Dental Negligence?
There are many different ways a patient can be injured by a dentist. From inhaling objects to using unsterilized equipment, you may be in more danger than you realize when you lie down on that dentist chair. Keep in mind, as with any other type of malpractice in the medical industry, the overwhelming majority of dentists do practice carefully and accurately. However, it just takes one mistake for disaster to strike. Before we take a deeper look into the report by the Dallas Morning News, let’s look at what, exactly, dental negligence is and what some of the most common instances of this occurring are.
Dental Negligence: A personal injury claim, dental negligence occurs when someone has sustained some form of injury or damage – with physical, psychological, or emotional – as a direct result of the actions of your dentist or dental assistant.
Common Types of Dental Malpractice Include:
- Delays in diagnosis or treatment
- Infections resulting from unsterile dental equipment
- Extraction of teeth when unnecessary
Keep in mind this list is far from exhaustive and that there are a host of other problems that can arise during a dentist visit if he or she acts negligently or with disregard from the safety of the patient.
What We Know
Again according to the study conducted by Dallas Morning News, for every Texas dental patient who lost their life, approximately six more were hospitalized with serious injuries. At present moment, there is an incredible gap in our country when it comes to understanding patient safety issues in dentistry. Reporters for that story also tried to contact other states for numbers regarding patient deaths or injuries in connection with dentistry, but were unsuccessful. This is due in large part to the fact that, as mentioned above, state officials have not been pulling their weight when it comes to keeping records about dental injuries and deaths.
The first step to learning more about dental malpractice and how we can combat this growing problem is to hold state officials accountable. We need true, accurate numbers pertaining to dental malpractice in order to get a better idea of how to move forward. If you or a loved one has been the victim of dental negligence, please contact Wormington & Bollinger today. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys are doing what we can to learn more about this issue and are prepared to represent you in a court of law.
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