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Medical Malpractice

The Most Common Sources of Dental Malpractice

May 31, 2023

Just like doctors and other medical professionals, dentists are obligated to provide treatment that meets the established standard of care. As a result, dentists can be held liable when they provide negligent treatment. This means that you can pursue a claim for compensation if you have suffered harm as a result of dental malpractice. A dental malpractice attorney can determine whether you have a dental malpractice claim and then help you understand your options. 

Root Canals

Perhaps unsurprisingly, root canals are one of the most common sources of dental malpractice. They are extremely unpleasant even when performed correctly. When performed incorrectly, a root canal could result in infection, permanent nerve damage, and even loss of the tooth. Some of the mistakes a dentist can make in performing a root canal that can lead to a malpractice claim include the following: 

  • Puncturing the inferior alveolar nerve canal
  • Leaving behind pulp in the roots
  • Failure to properly seal or fill the root canal
  • Failure to remove broken instruments from the root canal
  • Perforation of the tooth

If you experienced severe pain during or after a root canal, something may have gone wrong. Trust your instincts and contact a dental malpractice attorney to evaluate whether you may have a malpractice claim. 


Installation of a crown usually follows a root canal. While the root canal poses more obvious hazards, bad crown work can also result in sensitivity, pain, and eventually, loss of the tooth. Dentists must take the time to ensure that the crown is properly fitted to the tooth, otherwise, the crown will lead to further tooth decay that will ultimately cost the patient their tooth. Two of the most common crown issues that give rise to malpractice claims are as follows: 

  1. Open margins or gaps between the crown and the tooth that become traps for food particles.
  2. Overhangs, where the crown hangs over the tooth and allows food to become stuck under the crown.

If you have had to have a tooth extracted that was previously crowned, you may have a dental malpractice claim and should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.  

Procedures on the Wrong Tooth

Just like surgeons can operate on the wrong body part, dentists sometimes perform procedures on the wrong tooth. Operating on the wrong tooth is almost malpractice per se – it results in damages to what was usually an otherwise healthy tooth and is almost always the result of negligence. If you have had a filling, root canal, or crown fitted to the wrong tooth, you should contact a dental malpractice lawyer as you may be entitled to compensation. 

Dental Implants

As dental implants increase in popularity, they are also leading to an increase in dental malpractice claims. The installation of dental implants requires a surgical procedure where the dentist places titanium screws into the patient’s upper or lower jawbone. Negligence in planning or performing the procedure can result in the following: 

  • Severe infection
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Sinus punctures
  • Bone loss
  • Sepsis
  • Osteomyelitis

If you have experienced unexpected pain or other side effects following the placement of your implants, seek medical attention immediately. A dental malpractice attorney can subsequently review your case and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. 

Tooth Extractions

Despite the fact that tooth extractions are very common, they are serious dental procedures that carry significant risks. Your dentist’s negligence could result in damage to the inferior alveolar or lingual nerves. An improperly performed tooth extraction could also result in a serious infection that causes severe pain. If the dentist uses too much force, they can even break the jawbone, which can lead to several issues for the patient. Lastly, pulling the wrong tooth is an obvious example of dental malpractice. 

Contact a Dental Malpractice Attorney at Ragain & Clark Today

Victims of dental malpractice may be entitled to compensation that includes not only the cost to repair the damage to their teeth and surrounding tissues but also their lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs caused by their dentist’s negligence. Unfortunately, dental malpractice claims can be challenging, especially for non-lawyers. At Ragain & Clark, we have over 30 years of experience in helping people in Wyoming and Montana get the compensation they deserve. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.


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