Can I Sue A Dentist For Bad Work? Here’s What You Can Do

Dental malpractice is also known as dental negligence. You can sue a dentist for a variety of reasons as long as these incidents came from bad dental work. In this article, we will provide some valid dental negligence claims that you may consider before filing your case.

routine dental visits

Paying a visit to your dentist is essential to improve your oral health. Whether for routine check-ups or treatments, dentists are well-trained to carry out their dental work to its highest standards. However, while some share their best dental care experiences, it is not always the case. Unfortunately, dental malpractice still happens, and anyone could be a victim of this kind of negligence. If you have a question like “Can I sue a dentist for bad work?”, we are here to guide you through seeking legal advice and what else you can do about it.


What is Personal Injury Law?

When you don’t have a personal dental care provider, chances are you can encounter a bad dentist. If your dental work has resulted in a personal injury, you are eligible to take legal action and make your malpractice claim. The personal injury law states that the person responsible should give the victim the necessary relief provided that negligence is proven. It may come in the form of monetary compensation or other actions depending on the judge’s order. This type of lawsuit often undergoes settlement before the court decides to reach a verdict.


What Are Some Reasons to Make a Dental Malpractice Claim?

Dental malpractice is also known as dental negligence. You can sue a dentist for a variety of reasons as long as these incidents came from bad dental work. Here are some valid dental negligence claims that you may consider:

Exceeding the Scope of Consent

Your dentist may have performed dental treatments and procedures without your prior knowledge and consent.

Improper Use of Dental Instruments

Dentists must have the practical knowledge on how to properly use their instruments as well as the correct administration of anesthesia. In case you feel uncomfortable with your dentist’s technique, you may be looking at dental malpractice or shoddy dental work.

Cosmetic Dentistry

There are some cosmetic dentistry techniques where a dentist fails to correctly deliver his dental work, resulting in permanent damage to the victim’s teeth. Such injuries may arise in the form of excessive removal of enamel in preparation for veneers.

Periodontal Disease

If your dentist was not able to treat your developing gum disease, resulting in permanent tooth loss.

Oral Infections from Root Canal Treatment

When your dentist performs poor root canal treatment techniques, it results in further complications and worsens your condition.

Tooth Extraction

During a tooth extraction, the dentist’s excessive force may have caused the gums to bleed or fractured in the jaw area or several places.

Misdiagnosis of Oral Cancer

The dentist may have failed to recognize and prompt the patient for early signs of oral cancer, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment.

Nerve Damages

Failure to perform according to the proper dental care techniques may cause permanent and severe nerve damages. You can find these nerve damages on the tongue, lips, jaws, and face.


How Should I Know If I Can Sue My Dentist?

Anyone who can prove dental malpractice can sue their dentist. To have a substantial malpractice claim, you should have enough proof that shows the following set of elements:

1. Dentist-patient relationship is present

Proving that you are a patient can be easily validated by providing receipts, appointment schedules, or insurance statements. Paying a visit to your dentist invokes the “Duty of Care”.

Duty of Care: A Dentist’s Dental Care Principle

building trust to your dentistAs a part of the claims process, you should consider a dentist’s dental care principle. This principle is also known as the “Duty of Care”. It states that a dentist and other dental professionals have a legal duty to treat his/her patients with the highest safety standards during treatment. If the dentist has failed to provide reasonable signs of care, it is clear that there has been a breach within the dental care principle whether by inaction or action.

The dentist-patient relationship is strongly applicable only to dental professionals and not to students or those without any professional licenses. In case you’re not aware that you are dealing with an unlicensed dentist, please do not hesitate to ask for the necessary legal advice from your lawyer.

2. The dentist did something wrong

Also known as “Breach of Duty”, a dentist failing to practice an acceptable standard of care did not follow the proper dental care protocols. On the other side, this element also disproves a dentist’s competency in performing his duties. Testimonies, witnesses, and pieces of evidence are necessary to help in proving that your dentist has made a breach of his or her duty.

3. You suffered an injury

There should be “damages” in a malpractice claim to uncover the causality of the incident. The damages may come in the form of physical injuries, physical pain, and suffering. If proper documentation has proven negligence from your dentist’s end, they must make necessary compensation and claims upon the judge’s decision.

Also, dental malpractice can cause psychological and mental health suffering to the patient. When these types of emotional baggage have cost you any losses, the dentist in question should make amends and shoulder any compensations.

4. Causation

Concerning the last element, the dentist’s action or inaction is the cause of the injury. You can prove causation with the help of expert witnesses or a second opinion from another dentist. Keep in mind that at this point, you should confirm that the dentist is solely responsible for your current injury. Having a piece of firm and robust evidence that directly draws attention to the fault made by your dentist is a crucial aspect of leaving no room for arguments.

5. Malpractice timeframe limitations

In some countries, there is a time limit as to when you can report malpractice claims. It is also popularly known as “Statute of limitations”, which is often a two-year limit. You should provide proof of appointment stating when the incident had happened, including the date when you had your injury assessed by another dentist.


Are There Other Possible Penalties?

Aside from compensations, dental malpractice can be associated with other penalties. Each penalty is determined depending on the severity of the damages caused and other offenses that happened.


sue your dentistProbation sentences for dental malpractice come in addition to incarceration and fines. Invoking probation means the court has decided to impose limitations and conditions on the dentist. These limitations are responsible for refraining any offender from committing further damages or additional crimes. Some requirements include regular reports to a probation officer, contacting an officer for permission to leave the jurisdiction, paying court costs, and many more.


If your dentist practices dentistry without carrying a professional license, the law sees it as a misdemeanor which is punishable by serving years in prison. In other countries, performing dental work without a permit is considered a form of a felony and may call maximum jail sentence for up to five years.

State fines and other fees

Dental malpractice may result in a significant number of fines and other fees for every offense done. These fees are on top of the compensation for the victim. For every violation made, it entitles the state to seek additional fines depending on its severity.

Other Forms of Restitution

In case the complainant has suffered injuries that cause significant concerns on their lifestyle and overall well-being, they are entitled to make demands in other forms of restitution. Aside from monetary compensation, the victim may claim anything necessary to recoup the losses caused by dental malpractice. Some eligible forms of a refund include payment for medical and psychological costs, dental reconstruction services, cosmetic restoration expenses, loss of income, and other financial support.


Knowing Your Rights for Compensation

dental treatmentsEveryone has the right to seek compensation and repair for the damages caused by substandard dental work. If you feel that you have a strong case to claim dental malpractice, you should take the first step and contact your lawyer for any legal advice.

Don’t hesitate to discuss everything with your lawyer as they can help you determine if you have a valid case before proceeding to the court. They will also be the one to guide you throughout the process of your lawsuit.


Final Advice Before You Sue Your Dentist

Even if you feel that you have a strong case, your dentist may also successfully raise their defences against the malpractice claim. Be careful not to fall into traps such as affirmation of comparative negligence. When this happens, your dentist might propose that you have equal contribution towards your injuries, which means that damage is caused by both parties, thus rendering your case invalid.

Seeking testimonies from experts may help you avoid this issue. Besides your lawyer, it is best to coordinate with a dental professional that can provide a reasonable explanation as to why your dentist should be solely responsible for your injuries.



Informed Consent/Refusal. (ADA Center for Professional Success, Retrieved and Accessed February 2021).

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer: Are You at Risk? (Healthline, Retrieved and Accessed February 2021).

Basic Responsibilities and Rights of Dentists. (FDI World Dental Federation, Retrieved and Accessed February 2021).


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