Many people put off seeing the dentist because they find their appointments painful or unpleasant. When you do go to see a dentist, you expect them to do their job well. After all, your oral health has a profound impact on your overall well-being and quality of life, to say nothing of how other people perceive you.
Unfortunately, dentists may not provide all of their patients with the same standard of care. Sometimes, for example, they may ignore or fail to diagnose a significant tooth infection. A delayed diagnosis could have significant consequences for a patient with oral health issues.
Untreated infections may require surgery
A tooth infection, when caught in time, may require little more than a deep cleaning or antibiotic treatments for someone to fully recover. Unfortunately, if a dentist does not treat or diagnose the infection quickly when a patient informs them of their symptoms, the issue may progress and turn into an abscessed tooth.
A tooth that was merely inflamed or sensitive to cold may eventually become sensitive to heat as well — a warning sign that the infection has now progressed down to or exposed the root. If the infection goes too far, a root canal and crown may be necessary, which could cost thousands of dollars. Other times, emergency removal and later dental implants will be the only option. Some people may even require hospitalization if a serious infection is left untreated.
There could be medical bills and lost wages to consider. A dentist who ignored signs of a tooth infection could be liable for malpractice. Recognizing dental malpractice can help you hold a provider accountable for their inadequate care.