Dental Malpractice Caused by Embedded Broken Instruments


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When surgery is necessary to adjust or resolve a matter in the mouth, it is possible for the dentist to leave some part of his or her equipment in the jaw when he or she is not as attentive as needed. It is in these incidents that a dental malpractice suit may arise, and the patient may seek full compensation for the matter and any additional procedure to fix it.

When a surgical procedure or treatment leads to the use of equipment working on a jawbone or within the mouth, there are a certain amount of errors that may occur. However, some of the most grievous exist with instruments left inside areas that could become infected or damage other parts of the teeth or mouth. If a dentist is unable to remove a tool or is not aware that one of his or her working items broke during the procedure, this could lead to grounds for dental malpractice. The victim often needs another dentist or medical practitioner to resolve the matter which increases costs for him or her.

Routine Procedures

Sometimes, when a dentist has a routine procedure such as a tooth extraction, his or her dental tools could break during the treatment. Sometimes, the dentist is unable to find the broken pieces. Other times, the professional is unaware that anything happened. Some broken bits are so small that the individual may not even become aware of an issue until an infection or pain transpire later. When undetected, the problem may persist or become worse over time. An infection treated with medication without a solution to the original problem generally does not solve the reason for these issues.

Severe Damage in the Mouth

When broken instruments remain in the mouth, the patient could suffer serious damage. The nerve damage is often sufficient to lead to the person seeking either medical care or another dentist to discover what is wrong. Extraction processes often involve a level of pain for the procedure, but when something remains where nothing should exist, the person affected may later feel a throbbing and continual pain. The longer he or she keeps the broken instrument or piece in his or her mouth, the more serious damage may occur. If the item burrows deeper, it could become difficult to extract or even find.

When no one is aware that the item has been left behind, the patient often suffers additional damage to his or her mouth. The gum could bleed, and other symptoms are common. Additional injuries could cause the inability to open the mouth fully, taste anything if the taste buds become affected, and become severely infected. Other than nerve damage, infections are among the most serious of issues. If the infection does not receive treatment in time, the person could die. Added problems exist with an infection that could rot the mouth, and more damage may spread from the infection site to cause long-term harm.

The Case of Dental Malpractice

Once the broken instrument becomes known to the patient, he or she has options available to pursue. If he or she wants an immediate remedy, he or she could contact the same or another dentist for removal. The dentist that performed the procedure could provide care free of charge. However, the incident could lead to litigation. The case may remain difficult to prove if the patient is at least partially at fault through moving, jerking quickly or distracting the dentist while he or she has the instrument in the mouth. This is a possible defense of the dentist to show that full compensation is not necessary when the fault lies with both parties.

However, if immediate care is not possible or the dentist requires payment for fixing his or her mistake, the patient may seek a lawyer’s assistance in the matter. He or she may want to settle out of court and provide this option to the dentist after hiring the lawyer and building a case. This would bypass the court system and reduce the fees significantly. This could also lead to a lower offer than the judge may supply.

Legal Support for Broken Instrument Dental Malpractice

No matter if the person is willing to take a settlement, he or she should hire a lawyer to proceed to the next stage in compensation awards from the malpractice suit. The lawyer will build a case with as much strength as possible, and he or she will pursue compensation aggressively.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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