Root resorption is a process by which the body absorbs tissue around teeth. It is common in children (and related to the shedding of primary, or baby, teeth). In adults, however, root resorption is a problem. Resorption can indeed be a cause for a dental malpractice lawsuit if it is a result of negligence or improper dental treatment, meaning if it occurs due to the negligence of a dentist or orthodontist. This kind of case might be described as orthodontic malpractice , but it is the same as a medical or dental claim under the laws of Virginia.
Can I Sue My Orthodontist for Root Resorption?
To establish a dental malpractice claim related to root resorption, the following elements must typically be proven:
- A Duty of Care – The patient must establish that a dentist-patient relationship existed, demonstrating that the dentist (or orthodontist) had a duty to provide appropriate care and treatment.
- Breach of Duty – The patient must show that the dentist breached the standard of care expected in the dental community. This involves demonstrating that the dentist’s actions or omissions fell below the professional standards accepted among his or her peers in the field.
- Causation – The patient must establish a causal connection between the dentist’s breach of duty and the root resorption. It is essential to demonstrate that the negligent actions or omissions directly led or significantly contributed to the development of root resorption.
- Damages – A patient must prove that he or she suffered harm or damages as a result of the root resorption. Such harm can include physical injury like the loss of one or more teeth, physical pain, cosmetic disfigurement, emotional distress, and the need for additional dental treatment or procedures.
Can I sue my orthodontist when my roots have been damaged?
Whether or not you can sue your orthodontist over root damage would depend on several factors, including the specifics of your case, the nature of the damage, and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction. The opinions of expert witnesses in the field would be considered in any evaluation of whether your orthodontist was at fault for the root resorption.
Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, aims to correct dental misalignments and improve overall oral health. Root resorption, sometimes known as root shortening, is a rare but known side effect of orthodontic treatment. It occurs when the length or volume of a tooth’s root is reduced due to the body’s remodeling of the bone around the root. In some cases, however, root resorption can occur naturally without any external factors.
If you believe, or have learned, that your orthodontist’s negligence or improper treatment directly caused significant root shortening and adverse effects, you may want to consult with a dental malpractice attorney. Such an attorney can evaluate the details of your situation, review your medical records, and provide guidance on the potential merits of a legal claim.
Protect Yourself, or Your Child Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment
Whether caused by malpractice or not, patients who are undergoing orthodontic treatment should be aware of potential signs of root resorption. Because orthodontic treatment typically occurs over a long period of time, attention to detail is important. While mild root resorption can occur naturally during treatment, severe root shortening or other complications may indicate negligence or potential malpractice on the part of the orthodontist. By understanding the red flags and being vigilant, you can take necessary action if you suspect malpractice.
Regular monitoring is important. Orthodontists have a responsibility to closely monitor the progress of their patients’ treatment and promptly identify any signs of problems, including root resorption. Proper monitoring includes regular dental examinations, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests to assess the health of the teeth and roots.
Patients should also be attentive to changes in the stability of their teeth, even while braces are on or trays in use. If the teeth seem to become loose or wobbly, the orthodontist and dentist should be alerted.
Orthodontic Malpractice Attorneys Handle Root Resorption Cases
Remember that recognizing signs of potential malpractice is not a substitute for professional advice. It is essential to consult with dental professionals and legal experts who can evaluate the specific circumstances of the case and provide appropriate guidance.
Keep in mind that laws regarding dental negligence can vary depending on your jurisdiction. It’s crucial to consult with a legal professional with experience in this area and has knowledge of the applicable laws in your location. Contact us today to start your free initial case evaluation.