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The kind of dental error or professional malpractice act that is most likely to occur in dentistry is a lack of proper performance. Up to forty five percent of claims of medical malpractice filed will have to do with a kind of dental procedure or performance, personal technique, or procedural execution that led to an injury in a patient. The second most common type of incident that has to do with dentistry is an error in diagnosis, or diagnostic error. In the past, it has been a difficult incident for dentists to defend themselves against. The injuries that are most likely to result tend to involve jaws that are fractured, infections, scarring in the face, loss of teeth, tempro mandibular joint injuries, and nerve damage.

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Examples of Common Errors in Dental Treatment

Dental Implants

The first common error is performing a dental procedure improperly. An extremely painful example is placing implants into someone’s mouth when the person is either not healthy enough or does not have enough healthy bone structure to correctly accept the dental implant. As a result, the implants fail to set, which means that the patient is left without implanted teeth and with a hefty bill.

Improper Technique

A second common error is a failure in procedural technique. Dentists may potentially be held liable for malpractice if they use root canal filling materials that were based on formaldehyde but not used properly and injury resulted to a patient.

Failure to Diagnose

A third common error is a failure to diagnose the condition of the patient. A serious example of this particular error may result if a patient has some kind of periodontal disease and this is not diagnosed or treated by the dentist; as a result, the patient may lose all of his or her teeth permanently.

Treatment Plans

A fourth common error is a failure to both develop and follow a plan for treatment. It is part of the requirement list for practicing dentistry that for each patient, a dentist not only develops but follows a customized plan of treatment to ensure the patient receives the best dental care.


A fifth common error is a failure to detect a complication in the dental procedure. For example, a post surgical infection may result due to improper dental techniques or a lack of awareness by the dentist when examining the patient after surgery. Post surgical complications may then lead to damages such as losing the tooth involved in the procedure, a loss or necrosis of tissues that surround the site of infection, and in some cases, injury to the jaw line.

Diagnostic Errors

These kinds of errors are common in dental offices and may involve a range of situations, such as the improper diagnosis of periodontal disease, the improper diagnosis of gingivitis, errors in diagnosing disorders that involve cavities or the hard tissues around the teeth, or even errors in diagnosing neoplasms that are malignant as well as cancers that occur within the mouth.