What You Need to Know About Oral Surgery Malpractice
Ragain & Clark July 29, 2022
Oral surgeons have years of schooling and receive extensive training in order to treat complex dental issues. Policies and procedures are in place to ensure that you receive the highest quality of treatment.
Nevertheless, mistakes can and do happen. Some of these mistakes are avoidable, while other mistakes are the result of dental malpractice.
If you are the victim of oral surgery malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can include your medical bills to correct the damage, lost income due to having to miss work, and your pain and suffering. Before doing anything, however, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney to discuss your case as soon as possible.
What is Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery is any type of surgery that is performed in the patient’s mouth. Generally speaking, oral surgery is performed by a dentist with a specialist in oral surgery, but some procedures may be performed by a general dentist. Oral surgery may be performed in a hospital or similar facility but is most often performed in a special type of dental clinic that is equipped for performing surgery. Some procedures require the patient to be unconscious and require the use of general anesthesia.
The bottom line is that oral surgery is a much broader category than people realize. It can include the following types of treatments:
- Tooth extractions
- Removal of decayed teeth
- Removal of oral cancer and post-tumor resection
- Cyst removal and excision
- Osteotomy (removal of facial bones)
- Fixation of maxillary and mandibular facial fractures
- Sinus lifting
- Bone grafting in the mouth
These types of procedures often present far more risk than routine dental care, and when something goes wrong, patients can suffer tremendously. If you have suffered harm to any extent that you believe was caused by a mistake, you may have a claim for oral surgery malpractice. An attorney with experience in handling dental and oral surgery malpractice cases can review your case and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Understanding Oral Surgery Malpractice
Oral surgeons are highly-trained dental professionals, but that doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t happen. In fact, mistakes happen during oral surgery more often than oral surgeons would like to admit. While some of these mistakes may be due to known risks or unexpected complications, others are due to malpractice.
The fact that something went wrong during your surgery or that there were some negative side effects does not necessarily mean that you are a victim of malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, you must prove that the oral surgeon failed to meet the applicable standard of care.
The applicable standard of care is determined by a variety of factors including the following:
- The health of the patient
- The nature and complexity of the procedure
- The experience, skill, and training of the oral surgeon
Another way to consider this is whether the surgeon took the same steps a similarly trained and experienced oral surgeon would take in the same situation. If the surgeon fails to provide the same level of care and causes harm, then you may have a claim for oral surgery malpractice.
Proving that you are the victim of oral surgery malpractice is extraordinarily difficult and nearly impossible without a lawyer. If you believe that you have suffered harm as a result of malpractice, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Oral Surgery and Anesthesia
Most procedures in oral surgery require the use of anesthesia – either a local anesthetic or general anesthesia. The risks associated with administering a local anesthetic are relatively low. However, the use of general anesthesia (putting you to sleep) carries significant risks. Failing to correctly administer general anesthesia can result in the following:
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Nerve damage
- Heart arrhythmia
In some cases, anesthesia errors can result in death. Providing the wrong dosage, failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or improper intubation are just some of the ways that oral surgeons can commit malpractice.
Discovering Dental Damage After Your Surgery
One of the challenges for victims of oral surgery malpractice is that they were often unconscious during the procedure. As a result, they may be totally unaware that they have suffered as a result of malpractice until they get home. If you discover any of the following issues after your surgery, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Damage to your gums, lips, or tongue
- Lacerations in your mouth
- Dislocation of your jaw or other jaw injuries
- Facial paralysis, tingling, or numbness
- Nerve damage
- Missing teeth
The consequences of oral surgery malpractice can affect the rest of your life. A lawyer who has experience in handling oral surgery malpractice cases can hold the oral surgeon accountant and help you get the compensation you need to undo the damage.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A failed oral surgery can leave you in considerable pain. You may be unable to work and unable to take care of your family. And if at some point you are able to recover, you then have to focus on rebuilding your life. The reality is that pursuing a claim against your oral surgeon for malpractice can be a tremendous challenge for people who are struggling day to day.
An attorney who knows how to pursue oral surgery malpractice claims can handle almost every aspect of your case so that you can focus on your life and your family. They can get copies of your dental records, your bills, and any other documents you may need to support your claim. They can also do the following:
- Determine what your case is worth and make an appropriate demand for payment
- Handle any settlement discussions with your oral surgeon and their malpractice insurance carrier
- File suit and handle all litigation if settlement is not your best option
- Provide guidance and advice at every step so that you are able to make informed decisions about your claim
Contact Ragain & Clark if You Have Suffered As a Result of Oral Surgery Malpractice
If you are the victim of oral surgery malpractice, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact Ragain & Clark to schedule a free consultation – call 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to discuss your case and your options.