Dental malpractice, by its definition, is the failure of the dental practitioner to meet the standard of care.
Let’s give some examples:
1. Failure to diagnose periodontal disease. Periodontal probing or pocket measurements should be taken every hygiene visit. Gum disease doesn’t appear overnight!
2. Failure to diagnose caries. Large carious lesions (decayed areas) don’t occur overnight. Caries should be detected at early stage and treated appropriately.
3. Dental work which is substandard. Example: all caries or decay not removed from a tooth prior to restoring it. Example: Crown margins which are “open” and don’t fit properly to the tooth.
4. Failure to detect oral cancer. Screening should be done every hygiene visit.
These are some of the major examples but there are others which may vary from case to case but these are the major ones.
Next time we will discuss what to do when the above occurs.