While it doesn’t receive the same attention as medical malpractice by physicians, dental malpractice does happen here in Maine and around the nation. More than 30,000 patients have filed complaints against dentists in the U.S. in the past decade, for treatment errors that in some cases caused irreparable damage.
Dentists are required under Maine law to provide care that meets or exceeds the standards of the profession.
When a dentist fails to meet that responsibility, and you are harmed as a result, you may have a claim for dental malpractice. The financial damages victims in such cases are entitled to recover include:
- Past and future healthcare costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Cosmetic complications
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What are some common types of dental malpractice?
Malpractice claims are most often seen in the fields of prosthodontics (involving tooth replacement), endodontics (involving the insides of teeth), and restorative dentistry (involving veneers, fillings, and similar treatments). Here are common types of dental malpractice.
- Unnecessary cosmetic or dental procedures or surgery
- Failure to detect periodontal disease
- Failure to diagnose oral cancer
- Errors causing nerve damage to face, lips, jaw, or tongue
- Improper sterilization of instruments and equipment
- Improper administration of anesthetics
- Errors in performing root canals
- Failing to diagnose or properly treat infections
- Other injuries to patients
No other firm in Maine can match our resources and expertise
No other firm in Maine can match the depth of our expertise and the resources we use to bring these complex cases to a successful conclusion. We pride ourselves in taking on and winning cases that other lawyers have turned down because they knew how challenging, costly, and time-consuming the case will be or they didn’t have the experience, expertise, and resources to identify the malpractice.
Maine has strict statutes of limitations for the filing a dental malpractice complaint. This is another reason why it is critical to consult with us as soon as possible if you think you might be a victim of dental malpractice.
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Our attorneys and staff members will take the time to listen to you, work to understand your concerns, and come up with solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until your case is resolved. We help you recover and make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries and loss.
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What are common reasons for filing dental malpractice actions?
Plenty of things can go wrong in the dentist’s chair, especially when surgery, extractions, and anesthesia are involved. Some of the most common reasons for filing dental malpractice actions include:
- Anesthesia complications.
- Failure to diagnose oral diseases or cancers.
- Injuries to oral nerves.
- Improper placement of crowns and bridges.
- Improper tooth extraction, including extracting the wrong tooth, unnecessary extraction of healthy teeth, and extractions that cause nerve or gum damage.
- Root canal injuries.
- Errors causing nerve damage to face, lips, jaw, or tongue.
- Infections from improper sterilization of instruments and equipment.
How do I report dental malpractice?
If you believe your dentist made an avoidable mistake and you can not resolve the problem with them directly, there are steps you can take to hold them accountable. In addition to meeting with an experienced dental malpractice attorney to discuss filing a dental malpractice lawsuit for compensation, you can report your concerns to the regulatory and professional authorities in your state that govern the dental profession.
In Maine, you can file an online complaint about your dentist with the Maine Board of Dental Practice. A complaint will then be forwarded to your dentist, who will have the opportunity to respond. If the Board believes there is a basis for your claim, they may commence an investigation that could lead to disciplinary action against the dentist. The Board does not have the power to award compensation to victims of dental malpractice. Damages can only be obtained in a civil dental malpractice lawsuit.
What is dental malpractice?
Under Maine law, dentists are required to provide care that meets or exceeds the standards of the profession. When a dentist fails to meet that responsibility, and you are harmed, you may have a claim for dental malpractice. Proving that a dentist failed to provide the required and appropriate standard of care can be complicated, and not every bad outcome is necessarily the result of an avoidable dental error. Meeting with an experienced dental malpractice attorney is the best way to determine whether you have a viable claim for compensation.
Can I sue my dentist for nerve damage?
Yes, if the damage was caused by the dentist making a mistake or failing to meet the appropriate standard of care. Nerve damage is most likely to occur in tooth extractions, root canals, fillings, and dental implants and can cause numbness of the lips, tongue, and face and problems eating or an altered sense of taste. These consequences of nerve damage can have a significant impact on your quality of life. If they result from a dental mistake, you can and should seek compensation from your dentist in a dental malpractice lawsuit.
How long does a dental negligence claim take?
As with all personal injury and medical malpractice claims, several factors determine how long a dental negligence claim will take. Many dental malpractice cases settle, but a settlement can come early in the process, or it may not happen until the eve of trial. The circumstances surrounding a dental mistake can be complex or relatively straightforward. The dentist’s malpractice insurer may try to fight your claim all the way through trial. All of these variables mean that your lawsuit could take several months or well over a year.