Unsterilized Dental Equipment can Lead to Malpractice Claims
A dentist is expected to maintain a certain standard of care like any other medical professional. When a dentist fails to provide the required level of care and causes injury, the injured patient can hold the dentist accountable by filing a legal claim for dental malpractice. Dentists can breach their duty of care in many ones and one common form of malpractice is failing to properly sterilize all dental tools and equipment prior to use on a patient.
The risks of inadequate sterilization
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets out guidelines for proper sterilization practices in dental offices. All non-disposable tools should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between every patient, all disposable tools should not be used on multiple patients, all surfaces should be properly disinfected, and staff should wear gloves and masks. If a dentist’s office fails to practice proper sterilization techniques, patients could be exposed to the following:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Other serious infections
Anyone who believes that their dentists may have used unsterilized equipment should immediately seek a medical evaluation and get tested for infections. If a patient does contract HIV or hepatitis B or C, they could face a lifetime of symptoms, medical monitoring, treatments, and medications. Because these infections are often chronic, a victim’s financial losses can be extensive.
Recovering in a malpractice claim
In order to prevail in a dental malpractice claim and obtain adequate compensation for your losses, you must prove the following:
- The dentist had a duty of care;
- The dentist breached that duty of care;
- The breach caused your injury; and
- You suffered damages as a result.
In order to prove the above, you will have to gather and present sufficient evidence to the court. It is important to seek assistance from an attorney who has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation into the practices of your dentist’s office.
Sacramento Dental Malpractice
At the Teal Law Group in Sacramento, we are committed to helping injured patients hold negligent dentists liable for their losses. If you believe that a dentist has used equipment that was not properly sterilized and you sustained an infection, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. Please call our office today at 916-448-1010 or contact us online for a free consultation.