No one would assume that going to the dentist is as risky to one’s health as having a heart bypass operation or other invasive surgery. Surprisingly, national statistics indicates that one person dies from dental Malpractice every other day and that number could be low since few states with the exception of Texas keep meaningful records of deaths from dental negligence. While the percentage of people who die from a dental visit when compared with all people who go to the dentist is low, any death from a dental visit is shocking.
Nobody expects to die from a dental visit.
There are several ways people die as a result of going to the dentist. The most frequent ways are over-sedation, infection, and complications with other prescription medications.
Patients, including young children are routinely given a cocktail of painkillers and sedatives, before, during, and after receiving dental treatment to reduce pain and relieve anxiety. With little or no training in the proper administration of anesthesia, doctors must follow the drug manufacturer’s recommended dosages. Most dental assistants rely on little more information than that on the back of the drug bottle.
When you have a dental procedure, from a routine cleaning to oral surgery, bleeding may occur and if surgical instruments are not properly sterilized, serious infection can develop. Fresh masks and gloves, as well as a new dental kit from an independent sterilization company, should be used.
Older patients are usually taking prescription medications for a number of maladies such as high cholesterol or blood pressure and the consequences of mixing them with dental anesthetics are seldom considered. A person’s prescription medications should be listed on a form and evaluated by the dentist to make a decision as to whether or not adding dental sedatives could harm the patient.
Overdosing, infections, and complications with other drugs are just a few ways dentists commit medical malpractice every day. Far too many dentists either don’t have the specialty training or the resources to hire additional dental help to perform anesthetics, sterilization, and patient analytics. Errors in these areas can lead to patient injury and death.
Article and Image Credit: Original Dallas Morning News Deadly Denistry Series