What constitutes a case of dental malpractice?

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What constitutes a case of dental malpractice?

I went to the dentist about a year ago to have cleaning done on my teeth. When the nurse gave me a shot in my gums she hit a nerve causing my left side of my tongue to go numb. I had to go back every 2 weeks to a month to see if it had gotten any better. This cost me time and gas, not to mention they still charged me for the visit. It’s right at a year later and my tongue is just now almost normal. Also, the fact that I couldn’t taste my food on that side was simply awful. Can I do anything about this. I need to finish the work on my teeth but I’m afraid this could happen again.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is not "merely" that there was a bad outcome; it is when the medical care provided did not rise to the generally acceptable level for practicioners of that type or sort, whether due to carelessness, impairment (e.g. drunk or high), inadequate training, poor equipment, etc. This is the case for any medical care, including dental. So the issue is whether the nurse did something wrong in some way, such as that she was careless or not well enough trained. On the other hand, if she did everything right, and just sometimes when you do everything right, you still hit a nerve (because everyone's body is slightly different), there's likely be no malpractice and no liability. You can consult with a medical malpractice attorney to evaluate the specifics of your case; you might also wish to consider a different dentist, if you simply no longer have faith in this one and his/her staff.


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