When Do You Need A Dental Malpractice Lawyer?

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
June 19, 2023
A dental patient looking at her x rays thinking she might have a dental malpractice case.
Visiting the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for many, but what happens when the dental professional fails or harms you? A dental malpractice attorney can help you recover funds to pay for proper care, and to compensate you for the pain and suffering endured.

From botched surgeries and misdiagnoses, to faulty dental devices and improper administration of anesthesia, dental malpractice can occur in various forms. The impact can range from physical pain and infection to permanent damage, disfigurement, and emotional distress.

Victims of dental malpractice often face overwhelming medical bills, extended recovery periods, and long-term consequences that affect their quality of life. Whether you have experienced a dental procedure gone wrong, misdiagnosis of oral conditions, negligent dental care, or any other form of dental malpractice, we are committed to guiding you through the process of seeking justice.

At Smith Law Center, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers is dedicated to advocating for your rights, helping you hold negligent dental professionals accountable, and securing the compensation you deserve to aid in your recovery and future well-being. Contact us online or by calling (757) 244-7000 for personalized legal guidance regarding your dental malpractice case.

Read on for more general legal information about dental malpractice cases — what injuries we can handle, who can be sued, and what kind of compensation you may be entitled to under the law.

What Injuries Can Be Caused By Dentist Malpractice?

Dentist malpractice can result in a wide range of injuries and complications that can have a significant impact on a person's oral health and overall well-being.

Some of the common injuries caused by dentist malpractice include:

  • Nerve damage, oral, or facial trauma: Improper dental procedures that involve the manipulation of nerves can lead to nerve damage resulting in numbness, tingling sensations, or even loss of sensation in the lips, tongue, or face. Likewise, negligent use of dental instruments or improper techniques can cause oral and facial trauma like lacerations, fractures, and damage to the teeth, gums, jawbone, or surrounding tissues.
  • Infections: Failure to maintain proper hygiene and sterilization practices in the dental office can lead to infections. These can range from localized infections, such as abscesses or periodontal infections, to more severe systemic infections that can spread throughout the body.
  • Wrongful extractions: Dentists may mistakenly extract the wrong tooth or remove a healthy tooth instead of the intended one. This can cause unnecessary pain, loss of function, and the need for additional dental procedures to rectify the error.
  • TMJ disorders: Improper dental procedures or misaligned dental work can contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, difficulty in opening or closing the mouth, clicking or popping sounds, and headaches.
  • Allergic reactions: Some dental materials, such as certain metals used in dental restorations, can trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals. Failure to identify and consider a patient's allergies can lead to severe allergic reactions, including swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples of injuries that can occur due to dentist malpractice — it’s not a full list. If you suspect that you have suffered injuries or complications due to dentist malpractice, it is crucial to consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in dental malpractice to understand all of your legal options.

What Kind of Settlement Can a Dental Malpractice Attorney Help You Secure?

The potential settlement amount you may be entitled to will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the long-term impact on your health and quality of life, and the economic losses incurred.

Here are some key areas where a dental malpractice attorney can help you secure a settlement:

  • Medical expenses: A dental malpractice settlement may seek to cover your past, current, and future medical expenses related to the injuries caused by the malpractice. This can include costs associated with corrective treatments, additional dental procedures, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and other necessary healthcare services.
  • Pain and suffering: Dental malpractice can result in physical pain, emotional distress, and a diminished quality of life. A settlement may include compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional trauma you have endured due to the malpractice.
  • Lost wages and income: If the injuries from dental malpractice have caused you to miss work or have negatively impacted your ability to earn a living, a settlement may seek to compensate you for the lost wages and income during the recovery period. It can also account for any future loss of earning capacity if your ability to work has been permanently affected.
  • Future care and support: If the dental malpractice has resulted in long-term or permanent disabilities, a settlement can provide for future care and support needs. This can include ongoing medical treatments like injury rehabilitation, speech therapy, assistive devices, and other necessary accommodations.
  • Punitive damages: In certain cases, where the dentist's conduct is found to be particularly appalling or intentional, a dental malpractice attorney may seek punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the negligent dentist and deter similar behavior in the future.

A skilled dental malpractice attorney from the Smith Law Firm will assess the details of your situation, gather evidence, consult with experts, and negotiate on your behalf. These efforts are made to seek a fair and just settlement that addresses your needs and provides the compensation you deserve.

Dental malpractice is a serious issue that can have devastating effects on a person's oral health, overall well-being, and even their self-esteem. Contact Smith Law Center at (757) 244-7000 to discuss your personal circumstances, and how a lawsuit could provide the solutions you need.

Who Can Be Sued in Dental Negligence Cases?

In dental negligence cases, several parties may be held liable and potentially sued depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The following are the key parties that can be targeted in dental negligence lawsuits:

  • Dentists: The primary focus of dental negligence cases is often the dentist or oral healthcare professional directly responsible for providing treatment. If a dentist fails to meet the standard of care expected in their profession, resulting in harm to the patient, they can be held accountable for their actions or omissions.
  • Dental staff: Dental hygienists, dental assistants, and other staff members who were involved in the patient's treatment may also be held responsible if their negligence or actions contributed to the patient's injuries. For example, if a dental assistant improperly administers anesthesia or fails to follow sterilization protocols, they may be liable for resulting harm.
  • Dental clinics or practices: The dental clinic or practice where the negligent treatment occurred can potentially be sued. This is particularly relevant if the dental practice's policies, protocols, or failure to provide adequate supervision contributed to the patient's injuries. In some cases, the practice may share liability with the individual dentist.
  • Dental laboratories: Dental laboratories play a crucial role in the creation of dental prosthetics, such as crowns, bridges, or dentures. If a dental laboratory produces a defective or substandard product that causes harm to the patient, they may be held accountable for their role in the negligence.
  • Manufacturers of dental products: If a patient suffers harm due to a defective dental product, such as faulty dental implants or contaminated dental materials, the manufacturer or distributor of the product may be held liable for the injuries caused.

Determining the parties that can be sued in a dental negligence case requires a thorough investigation of the facts, and an evaluation of the specific roles and responsibilities of each party involved.

It is essential to consult with a dental malpractice attorney who can assess your case, identify the potential defendants, and build a strong legal strategy to hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence.

Contact Experienced Lawyers for Your Dental Malpractice Case

Dental negligence can have a lasting impact on your oral health, overall well-being, and quality of life. By contacting an experienced dental malpractice lawyer, we can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

Why Hire Smith Law Center

As one of the oldest firms in Virginia, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is here to advocate for your rights and guide you through every step of the legal process. We understand the challenges you may be facing and the importance of holding negligent dental professionals accountable for their actions. We will work tirelessly to build a strong case, gather vital evidence, consult with trusted experts, and negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement or, if necessary, take your case to trial.

Also keep in mind that dental injuries can occur as a result of car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, or other negligent circumstances like slip and fall cases. Our attorneys are ready to help you seek justice in multiple intersecting circumstances.

Rech out to our Hampton offices at (757) 244-7000 for a free, confidential consultation to explore your options as soon as possible. Remember, there are deadlines known as statutes of limitations that restrict the time you have to file a claim, so it is important to act right away.

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Our lawyers are more than lawyers. They are people who understand your injuries and the law that surrounds your options when it comes to holding others accountable.

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