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Follow These Steps Before Filing a Dental Malpractice Case

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Dental malpractice can be devastating. If something is wrong with your teeth or elsewhere in your mouth, you may have trouble talking and eating. And if the problem is bad enough, it could lead to life-threatening infections. Those are bad enough when caused by conditions you can't help, but they're worse when they're caused by the dentist being negligent or malicious. In those cases, you need to look into dental malpractice. However, as with any potential malpractice case, you need to take a few steps first.

Research the Conditions or Treatments in Question

If the issue was that a dentist refused to do a procedure that turned out to be necessary or they misdiagnosed you, do some research into the conditions and treatments involved. It is possible that you displayed symptoms typical of one condition only to find out later that you had a rare form of another condition. It's also possible that the dentist did everything correctly and that you were one of the few who couldn't benefit from the typical treatment options. 

See How the Dentist Would Remedy the Situation, if Possible

If the problem is something that can be remedied, see how the dentist handles that. For example, if you get a filling in a molar and end up scratching your cheek repeatedly because the dentist sculpted the composite resin to be a bit too sharp on the chewing surface, the dentist should be able to redo the filling with slightly duller points. The resin should mimic the chewing surface of the molar and all its hills and valleys, but you can still chew if the "hills" are slightly dull. If the dentist refuses to fix it or actually makes it worse, then you may have more of a case. Be sure to share all this information with a dental malpractice lawyer. 

Determine if Anything Was Done Without Informed Consent

Your dentist should explain to you everything that needs to be done—and you should have the option to refuse treatment. However, if you think a procedure was done without your consent or that you gave consent but apparently didn't fully understand what would happen, you could have a dental malpractice case. Informed consent is a big deal, and not just because you have the right to informed consent in general. If you didn't give consent, it's possible the procedure wasn't necessary for your health, which could indicate you have a claim. However, that would require a lot of evidence, and you shouldn't assume that things are really that bad until you speak with an attorney.

These are basic steps that you need to take to start to determine if what you're looking at really is dental malpractice. If you see signs that it just might be, you need to speak with a dental malpractice lawyer. The lawyer will help you zero in on where that malpractice really affected you and how your case might proceed.