Like other forms of medical malpractice lawsuits, dental malpractice claims arise when a dentist seriously injures a patient as a result of inappropriate or inadequate procedures, whether or not the dentist was aware of his or her actions. Performing treatment that exceeds the decided-upon procedures (completing a surprise root canal during a routine cleaning, for example), can also result in a malpractice claim, as can the failure to report serious oral diseases to the patient.
However, many patients attempt to file malpractice charges when they are simply unhappy with the results of their visit. Unsatisfactory procedures rarely fall under the category of malpractice, as no dentist can guarantee that every patient will be thoroughly satisfied. For instance, a lawsuit filed against a dentist whose whitening procedure did not reach the client’s expectations would not stand up in court.
About the author: A family dentist with more than 37 years of experience, Charles Zebe, DMD, is the owner of the New Jersey private practice Accurate Dental Group. With a medical career that began in 1975, Dr. Zebe is pre-qualified as an expert witness in dental malpractice cases.