Over the past few months I have reviewed a couple of cases of dissatisfied patients whom were unhappy with the outcome of their treatment. These cases were pursuing dental malpractice.

Does this mean there is negligence and the patient can recover damages or monies from the dentist? Not always. In fact, the last two cases I reviewed are a good example.

In those cases, the records failed to substantiate the doctors’ care fell below the acceptable standard of care. Judging standard of care is not a personal estimation,┬ábut a legal standard. Patients often confuse a poor or personally unacceptable individual result with the legal concept of “standard of care”. Standard of care is the average degree of skill, care, and diligence exercised by members of the same profession practicing in the same or a similar locality in light of the present state of medical and surgical science. The legal definition is concerned with the skill, care, and diligence of the dentist, not with the individual outcome of a particular patient.

Bottom line: the lack of an acceptable result is not and of itself sufficient legally to prove the dentist treatment fell below the standard of care.

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