Dental Negligence

Mar 22, 2023 | Publication

Have you suffered injury or loss as a result the negligent care of your dentist?  If so, you may have a dental negligence claim.  The principles of medical negligence are applicable to dental negligence.

The requirements necessary to establish negligence are:

  1. Your dentist owed you a duty of care;
  2. Your dentist breached that duty of care (by doing or not doing something);
  3. You have suffered physical or financial harm; and
  4. Your dentist’s breach of duty of care caused that harm.

All dentists have a duty of care to take reasonable care in the treatment they provide.  The duty of care is owed to anyone who could foreseeably be harmed by their actions (or failures to act).

Some of the common complaints against dentists are:

  • Failure to diagnose and treat complications arising from extractions- infection, sinus perforation, mandibular fracture, TMJ injury.
  • Performing unnecessary treatment.
  • Failure to warn of material risks associated with treatment eg nerve damage.
  • Failure to make necessary specialist referral when appropriate
  • Cosmetic dental surgery negligence.
  • Failure to diagnose oral cancer in a timely manner.
  • Nerve damage
  • Periodontal disease
  • Failure to obtain informed consent

Informed consent is the process by which a patient agrees to undergo the proposed course of treatment with full knowledge of the possible consequences.  Some dentists fail to properly communicate the proposed procedures with their patients. You should always be explained the risks associated with any dental procedure.

In a recent case, a dentist decided to cap every one of the patient’s teeth, not because of clinical need but for his own financial gain. The Court decided that where the treatment is not necessary, there cannot be any informed consent and that whenever there is a dispute in respect of informed consent, the burden of proof falls upon the medical practitioner.

If you believe that your dentist has been negligent when treating you, contact McAuley Lawyers on (02) 9633 1826 to speak to an experienced compensation lawyer today.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources. If you do not wish to receive newsletters from us, please let us know.

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