Regular visits to the dentist are part of many people's healthcare routine. You trust your oral health to your general dentist, and you expect him or her to provide the care needed to maintain that oral health over time. Unfortunately, some patients become victims of dental malpractice.
Tooth extractions can open the door for many situations where dental malpractice can occur. It helps to understand these situations so that you will know when to seek the help of an experienced dental malpractice attorney.
A tooth extraction always comes with the risk of infection. As the dentist removes a damaged or decaying tooth, bacteria and other contaminants can enter the body. Exposure to these contaminants could result in infection.
A dentist should prescribe an antibiotic if he or she feels that you are at risk of serious infection following a tooth extraction. Your dentist should also follow up with you in the days after your extraction to monitor for signs of infection.
It is possible to become hospitalized or even die from an infection associated with tooth extraction, so failing to take steps to minimize the risk could mean your dentist is being negligent.
Numerous nerves run through your mouth. These nerves are responsible for the sensations that you feel in your tongue and on your gums. The extraction of a tooth requires a dentist to work in close proximity to some of the nerves present in your oral cavity.
A dentist must use extreme caution to ensure no damage is done to these nerves. If you experience any numbness, loss of taste, tingling, or a burning sensation after a tooth extraction, nerve damage could be to blame.
Nerve damage during a tooth extraction can have a lasting effect on your life. This type of nerve damage could affect your ability to speak clearly or cause paralysis of facial muscles. An experienced attorney can help you recover any damages you experience as a result of nerve damage during a tooth extraction.
The extraction of an upper tooth could put the integrity of your sinus cavity at risk. Sometimes a sinus cavity will be exposed during a tooth extraction. This makes it easy for a dental tool or other objects to perforate the sinus cavity.
Perforations that are not addressed immediately could create problems for patients in the future. You might experience frequent nosebleeds, air transfer from the nose to mouth when breathing, or liquids coming out the nose while drinking when you have a sinus perforation.
A dentist who doesn't identify a perforation and provide follow-up care could be legally liable for damages. Talk to a dental malpractice attorney if you feel you might be a victim of negligence.