Patient presented to my office on 9/17/12 with the chief complaint of a recently placed crown on tooth #10 that had chipped. She said that the treating dentist, Dr. R, said that it could not be fixed and she would need to replace the veneer at her cost. Not satisfied with that response, she consulted another local dentist who gave her the same information. Still frustrated with her situation, she searched the internet and found an article that I published on repairing chipped porcelain.
Oral cancer is the sixth most common malignancy diagnosed in the United States. It represents 3 to 5% of all cancers in America. This translates in over 43,000 new cases of oral cancers yearly (1996 figures). In 1996 in the U.S., there were 8,260 deaths directly attributed to oral cancer. In the state of Georgia, 680 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed, and 190 deaths occurred from oral cancer in 1996.
As dentistry becomes more competitive, dentists are increasingly looking at unique ways to separate their practices and develop a niche. One such niche lies in the offering of patients' sedation and/or general anesthesia, commonly called "sleep dentistry" during the dental treatment. Since studies show 30% to 50% of Americans avoid the dentists because of fear issues, providing such a service appears to serve a need.
I have often wondered why attorneys wait so long to contact someone like me to render opinions on their dental malpractice cases. By the time I have been contacted, those things deemed important to achieve success for their clients from a legal perspective have long been established and I am brought in to provide the support for their conclusions. While I have been successful in supporting most of the conclusions established, there have been discussions of what might have been if I had been brought in sooner.
A new complication from treatment with bisphosphonates has become an important disease condition for the dental professional to recognize. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) manifests itself as devitalized exposed bone in the maxillofacial region. Patients may be considered to have BRONJ, if all three of the following are presented simultaneously:
Injuries to the inferior alveolar and lingual nerve continued to be a significant source of litigation for the dental professional. Approximately 10% of cases of dental malpractice are a result of nerve injury. Perhaps the genesis of the high number of lawsuits proportional to the overall number of surgeries lies in the sequelae of a nerve injury. The sequelae can range from relatively minor annoying numbness to intractable pain and the anesthesia to the area of the nerve supply.
Supernumerary teeth in the absence of syndromes such as cleidocranial dysplasia or Gardner's is a rare event1-3. The most common supernumerary tooth is the mesiodens which appears in the maxillary midline.3 The exact etiology of supernumerary teeth is unclear but many theories exist in an attempt to explain why extra teeth are present in some individuals.
In the past 12 years, I have been requested to review 242 medical legal cases to evaluate them for dental negligence. Of the cases reviewed, the majority of them had unfortunate results to which the patients attributed to malpractice. The purpose of this article is not to assess the merit of these litigations, but to educate the dental practitioner as to the types of treatment which may result in a greater incidence of legal claims, so that they will be better prepared to avoid them