Backgroun Lines

When Does Dental Malpractice Occur?

Gallagher Healthcare :: Industry Insights
By Gallagher Healthcare | 7/21/2023

Do Dentists Need Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Like any other kind of medical professional, dentists can be held liable for medical malpractice. Dental malpractice occurs when a dental professional fails to provide a reasonable, appropriate or ethical standard of professional care, resulting in patient injury or, in extreme cases, death.

In this article, our experts at Gallagher Healthcare provide examples of dental malpractice and discuss whether it is best to secure dental lawsuit protection.

Do Dentists Need Malpractice Insurance?

Dental malpractice lawsuits make up a significant sum of medical malpractice cases in the United States. According to one report by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Washington State, approximately 302 of the state's 3,833 medical malpractice claims from 2016 to 2020 involved dentists.

In general, most health care providers should secure medical malpractice coverage to protect their medical practice, specialty group or clinic from malpractice claims, including dentists. In addition to safeguarding your business and reputation, dental lawsuit protection can bring you significant peace of mind.

Examples of Dental Malpractice

Examples of dental malpractice include:

  • A lack of written, informed consent for treatment.
  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose oral diseases or cancer.
  • Oral nerve damage.
  • Root canal injuries.
  • Infections.
  • Improper administration of anesthesia.
  • Improper extraction of a tooth.

Can Patients Sue Dentists for Dental Malpractice?

Yes, patients can sue their dentists for dental malpractice. However, negligence lawsuits must meet specific criteria to become viable dental malpractice cases, including:

  • The dentist must have a duty to the patient.
  • The dentist must have breached that duty.
  • An injury or death occurred as a result of the dentist's breach of duty.
  • There is an established, traceable link between the patient's injury, death or damages incurred and the medical provider.

The patient must be able to prove they suffered an injury as a result of a dentist's negligent action or inaction. This proof usually includes extensive documentation, including:

  • A copy of a patient's written, informed consent for procedures.
  • A thorough record of the patient's medical history.
  • A documented treatment plan, including the reason for treatment.
  • Chart notes that were written at or near the time of treatment.

Request a Dental Lawsuit Protection Quote From Gallagher Healthcare

At Gallagher Healthcare, we understand the importance of protecting your dental practice from malpractice lawsuits. As one of the nation's leading insurance brokerages and risk management consulting firms, our experienced advisors can save you time, money and confusion when selecting a cost-effective dental lawsuit protection plan.

Contact us to learn more about our brokerage and consulting services. Or, take the next step toward protecting your dental practice and request a quote online today!

dentists malpractice insurance
home / blog / do-dentists-need-medical-malpractice-insurance