In many ways, the education required of dentists largely mirrors that of medical doctors. They have to obtain an undergraduate degree and then go to dental school. They will have to pass a state exam to secure a license and commit to continuing education for as long as they continue practicing dentistry.
Your dentist is a highly-educated professional who should be able to help you maintain good oral hygiene and treat any issues that affect your teeth, gums or overall oral health. Unfortunately, much like doctors, dentists do make mistakes that have negative consequences for their patients.
What are some of the most common dental mistakes?
Ignoring warning signs of an infection
Maybe a patient calls into the office in the middle of the sixth month waiting period between their regularly scheduled hygienist appointments. The patient informs the receptionist that they have been sensitive to cold for some time and now notice heat sensitivity as well, making it very hard for them to eat or even drink coffee.
The dentist ignores or downplays the issue, recommending that the patient try over-the-counter treatments since there are no open appointments. Diagnostic failures involving tooth infections can be the difference between a simple solution and needing a root canal and crown.
Damaging a nerve
Dentists have to be very precise in the work that they do, as a slip of the fingers might be all it takes to cause irreversible nerve damage for a patient. Unfortunately, such mistakes do occur and can lead to issues including difficulty with speech.
Offering certain services without proper training
Dentists who have years of experience and a formal degree sometimes wrongly assume that they can start offering certain involved procedures with minimal training. For example, there are dentists who start performing implant procedures after attending as little as a single weekend seminar.
Making an error related to anesthesia
The drugs used to sedate someone, keep them calm and minimize their sensation of pain during oral treatments can do real harm if the doctor makes a mistake regarding where they inject the medication or the dosage that they administer.
After a root canal or another major dental procedure, a patient will require monitoring to ensure they don’t develop an infection and have proper support. Patients who leave with a prescription may not ever return without proper follow-up by the dentist, putting them at risk of severe infection or even substance abuse disorders if they become dependent on pain medication following a surgical procedure.
When a dentist makes a mistake that negatively affects your health, you may be able to file an insurance claim or take them to civil court. Fighting back against dental malpractice can prevent others from suffering the same pain that you have.