Can I Sue a Maryland Dentist for Botched Dental Implants?
Yes, you can sue a dentist for botched dental implants in Maryland, but a great deal will depend on the particular circumstances. The ability to file a Maryland dental malpractice claim is governed by the same medical malpractice rules that apply to other Maryland physicians and nurses — in other words, malpractice claims against dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, periodontists, hygienists, and other professionals in the dental field are all controlled by this state’s medical malpractice laws.
Here in Maryland, any malpractice lawsuit will require expert testimony as a precursor to filing your suit. This testimony, which is effected by way of a report, is presented to the court before the suit is filed.
The testimony, or depositions, should address what the dentist or other dental professional should have done under the circumstances, as well as what should not have been done. As a plaintiff in a dental malpractice lawsuit, your expert(s) should practice in the same field of dentistry as the defendant.
Those experts must also testify that it was more likely than not that the defendant’s negligent conduct was, in fact, what the law refers to a the proximate cause of the harm done to you as the plaintiff.
Personal injury as a result of dental malpractice takes many forms. When a dentist fails to provide appropriate treatment, the patient may be exposed to a range of potential harm, and may include one or more of the following: Tissue or blood infections, fractured jaw, nerve damage, stroke, kidney malfunction, and occasionally death. In some instances, a Maryland malpractice lawsuit may involve the dentist’s failure to identify a visually evident oral cancer.
As with most every Maryland personal injury case, plaintiffs in dental malpractice lawsuits can claim their past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages; and the potential award for damages will be subject to Maryland's statutory malpractice cap.
It is important to recognize that dentists as a group generally operate differently than the rest of the medical community. This is to say that most dentists will rarely if ever document their errors; unlike that of medical doctors, dentists do not typically look at new ways to eliminate errors in their treatment of patients.
The dental profession is hardly as integrated as the larger medical profession. This is because most dentists conduct their practice more or less in a vacuum; they determining, by themselves and without the aid of peer review, how to improve the treatment of their patients. This is not an effective way for dental professionals to understand why mistakes were being made and how to avoid them in the future.
Since there is less insurance coverage for dentistry than for other medical care, many dentists have an economic interest in performing more and more procedures, which can cause the individual dentist to become overextended in both his or her energy as well as procedurally.
Sadly, too many dentists believe that they can handle procedures that would otherwise require a dental specialist’s skills. A case in point is the area of prosthodontia, the branch of dentistry that deals with the replacement of teeth and other mouth structures by artificial devices.
A prosthodontist typically receives two or more years of additional training than that of general dentist. Therefore, most patients in need of dental reconstruction would probably fair better with a prosthodontist doing the work; however, as is often the case, a general dentist will believe he has the skills to perform such procedures when it is quite often no the case. Such instances can often lead to a serious injury and the filing of a malpractice claim.
That said, most dental mistakes involve what are, in terms of medical malpractice, minor injuries, such as the removal of an otherwise healthy tooth, an infection serious enough to temporarily send the victim to the hospital, or erroneously installed dental implants. While each of the aforementioned situations can lead to an arguably physically painful experience for the patient, they unfortunately are not sufficient to justify the expense of a full-scale malpractice claim, most especially because of the tremendous legal costs involved.
While most instances of dental malpractice result in relatively minor injuries, if you suspect negligence on the part of a dental professional, it is always a good idea to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. Cases involving severe or fatal injury should always be discussed with a Maryland personal injury lawyer to learn about your options and legal rights under Maryland’s malpractice statutes.
Medical malpractice is a complicated area of the law. Our skilled Maryland malpractice attorneys have the legal training and extensive courtroom experience to help you collect damages after a faulty medical procedure. If you feel you have been injured by the negligence of a Maryland doctor, Lebowitz & Mhzen, LLC, is ready, willing and able to assist with your case. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation so you can better understand your legal rights.