We have all been to the dentist, hopefully most of us at least twice a year. When we visit the dentist, we not only want to feel safe, we want to rest-assured our dentist is providing us with the highest quality care available. Whether we are being seen for a routine cleaning, having our wisdom teeth pulled, getting a filling, crown, or root canal, having implants or bridges placed, or are undergoing a complicated oral surgery, we trust and rely on the dental professional. Unfortunately, dental malpractice occurs more often than most would like to know, and frequently includes claims such as: failure to diagnose cancer of the mouth, periodontal disease or other conditions, surgical errors, nerve injuries, tongue injury, jaw injury, lip injury, root canal and bridge work negligence, implant planning and placement negligence, negligent wisdom tooth removals, and negligent crown placements. Regardless of the type of dental work you have had performed, if the dentist failed to adhere to the applicable standard of care, and you were injured as a result, you need to speak to an attorney.
Dentists, as professionals licensed by the State of Colorado, must adhere to a standard of care while treating their patients. So, what is the “applicable standard of care?” Because the standard of care for dentists is continually evolving with the advent of new materials, new procedures, new hardware, and the development of new techniques, so too must the “applicable standard of care” evolve. Thus, the “applicable standard of care” for dentists requires them to use that degree of care and skill which is expected of a reasonably competent dentist acting in the same or similar circumstances.
The law in Colorado requires all alleged dental malpractice cases be reviewed by a like-professional (i.e, an oral surgeon must review the alleged negligence of an oral surgeon, a periodontists must review the alleged negligence of a periodontists, a prosthodontist must review the alleged negligence of a prosthodontist, and so on) prior to the time allegations are made or a suit is filed. Therefore, before taking any dental malpractice case, we must collect all relevant records, including radiographic studies, and have them and the facts of your case reviewed by the appropriate expert.
Because your dental chart plays such an important role in your dental malpractice case, it is important as soon as you suspect you are the victim of malpractice, you request a complete copy of your dental records. You are entitled to obtain a complete copy of your records at any time, for any reason, and you need not even say why you are requesting your records. The most common basis for requesting records is to simply say they are needed for a second opinion.
In Colorado, you must file a dental malpractice lawsuit within two (2) years of the date you knew, or should have known, your dentist committed malpractice. Therefore, the sooner you collect your records and contact an attorney, the better. Christopher Dominick has successfully represented numerous individuals injured due to the negligence of a dentist, and would enjoy the opportunity to discuss your case with you. If you or a loved one has been injured/damaged at the hands of a dentist, contact Dominick Law to arrange a free initial consultation.