Like medical doctors, dentists go through many more years of schooling than the average adult. They have to maintain state licensing, and the work that they provide must meet certain professional standards.
Your dentist has to follow proper health and safety practices and help you maintain your physical health — not just your oral health. Sometimes, dentists leave almost every part of their practice to their assistants. Other times, they don’t properly review a patient’s records or examine them when they come in for a cleaning or because of a pain issue.
A dentist who doesn’t prioritize patient well-being could easily overlook a significant issue, like an infection. What are your rights when your dentist fails in their professional obligations to you?
You can bring a dental malpractice claim
There’s a reason that most dentists look not just at your teeth but your gums and your throat. They may even palpate the sides of your neck externally to look for signs of enlarged glands or lymph nodes. Your dentist could be the one to catch a serious medical issue, like oral cancer.
However, when they don’t properly engage with you, they could overlook the obvious warning signs of a dental issue that could affect your health, like a tooth infection. Untreated tooth infections can cause major issues. People can develop systemic infections or even suffer heart damage if a tooth infection goes unchecked for too long.
Even if it doesn’t reach the point where someone requires hospitalization, a tooth infection that could have responded to an antibiotic may eventually require a root canal and a dental implant. A dental malpractice claim against the dentist who didn’t notice and diagnose your tooth infection can help you cover your care costs and other expenses and damages.