Dentists help people keep their teeth clean and healthy. They also conduct some lower-level oral surgeries, like root canals and cavity filling. However, even in these functions, dentists can commit medical malpractice if the care they provide falls short of the basic standard of care that one would expect from a dentist.
Education and Licensing Requirements for Dentists in Philadelphia
Dentists have to complete a college degree and then enroll and graduate from a dental school with a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. These graduate degrees typically take four years to complete, with many of them including a dental rotation externship over the final two years of the program.
Dentists who want to specialize in a particular field, like orthodontics or pediatric dentistry, have to complete an additional course load, including a residency.
Once dentists have completed their educational requirements, they have to pass exams to become licensed to practice dentistry in the state of Pennsylvania. After getting licensed, they have to complete 30 hours of continuing education to get re-licensed every other year.
How Dentists Practice in Philadelphia
Dentists tend to work in solo or private practice, providing the following kinds of medical services to their patients and clients:
- Teeth cleanings
- Cavity fillings
- X-rays and radiology
- Root canals
- Tooth extractions
- Other minor oral surgeries
- Minor, local anesthesiology
How Dentists Can Commit Medical Malpractice
While most people are familiar with how dentists practice, fewer people are aware of the fact that dentists can be susceptible to committing medical malpractice just like a doctor. Dentists are actually healthcare providers, though, so they can be held accountable for their mistakes through medical malpractice law because they have a minimum standard of medical care that they should be expected to provide. When they fail to do so, it can amount to malpractice.
Some of the most common examples of a dentist committing medical malpractice include:
- Letting a tooth extraction site get infected
- Providing so little anesthesia that the patient wakes up during the procedure
- Not monitoring patients after administering anesthesia
- Administering anesthesia to someone who would have a foreseeable negative reaction to it
- Severing a nerve during a tooth extraction or root canal
- Not properly diagnosing gum disease
- Leaving dental tools in the site of a tooth extraction
Some of these instances of medical malpractice can even be fatal. Those that are not fatal can require an extensive hospital stay and can cause extreme amounts of pain and discomfort.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to legally represent victims of medical malpractice in all of its forms. This includes people who have been hurt by dentists who have provided a substandard level of dental care. There was often nothing that the victim could have done to prevent getting hurt, so holding the dentist accountable for their poor conduct is essential.
Contact the lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian online to get started on your case and pursue the compensation that you need and deserve.