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What is dental malpractice?

If you have had a toothache, you know that it can be an extremely painful experience for any Mississippi resident. It may not be life-threatening like a stroke, or debilitating like a herniated disk, but constant pain in one of the most used areas of the body is something you cannot ignore either. While you might shop around for a second opinion when it comes to major surgery, most of us trust our dentists to do their job with no questions asked. Like medical doctors, however, dentists also make mistakes, including extracting the wrong teeth, fracturing a patient’s jaw and more. Oral surgery mishaps include puncturing a sinus cavity, severing nerves and failing to refer patients to a specialist. In some cases, these mistakes may be considered dental malpractice.

Prevention offers some red flags for dental patients to be aware of that can help you avoid putting yourself in the hands of a dentist who may not be qualified or one who suggests unnecessary procedures. Warning signs include:

  • Overseas labs: If you need bridges, dentures, implants or other orthodontic appliances, be sure to ask where the lab site is. If it is overseas, you should question the product’s quality.
  • Cancer screening: Your dentist should look for oral cancer signs at each visit. Oral cancer occurrences have tripled in the past 20 years with the increased risk of the HPV virus.
  • Outdated technology: X-ray film is behind the times. Along with offering less exposure to radiation, digital X-rays can pinpoint cavities that traditional X-rays may miss altogether.
  • Extra sales: If your dentist offers dermal fillers, vitamins and other supplements, he or she may be more interested in meeting sales quotas than fixing teeth.

Infection following a tooth extraction or oral surgery is also possible and can lead to hospitalization and death. Your dentist should stay on top of possible infection and alert you to symptoms, as well as have you return for a check-up.

This article contains important information about dental malpractice issues. However, the information is of a general nature and is not intended to be legal advice.

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