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Dental Malpractice in Maryland

Our law firm generally avoids dental malpractice claims because the injuries – while often incredibly significant to the patient – rarely involve the kind of permanent injuries that are required for a malpractice case. Interestingly, I stumbled across data that showed that there were 766 dental malpractice payments made in Maryland between 1990 and 2003. That is almost 5 claims a month, which is more than I would have thought. I wonder (1) how many of these dental medical malpractice claims in Maryland involved a lawyer, (2) what the average dental malpractice settlement is in Maryland, and (3) how many claims were settled without a lawyer.

The following are a few Marland dental malpractice cases that resulted in a verdict:

  • 2014, Montgomery County: $129,742 Verdict. A woman suffered persistent nerve pain after a dental surgeon attempted to place an implant into her lower jaw. She contended that the surgeon failed to set her nerve aside before starting the procedure and failed to properly assess her bone density before operating. The woman also contended that he used excessive force and used an obsolete implant system.  She also claimed that he failed to present other treatment options. The surgeon denied her allegations, contending that his techniques were appropriate. A Montgomery County jury awarded the woman $129,742.
  • 2011, Prince George’s County: $67,850 Verdict. A woman visited a dental surgeon who performed two dental bridges and a tooth crown on her. Her husband applied and received a $6,650 loan to pay for the procedures. He applied for a second loan after the surgeon increased the fees to $10,050. The bank canceled the previous loan. However, the man claimed that bank disbursed both loans and paid the surgeon $16,700. In addition to this issue, the woman alleged that the surgeon’s application of force caused an existing crown to dislodge. She also alleged that the replacement crown was improperly secured, which caused it to fail several times. The woman also noted that the tooth implant was too big and failed to match the color of her existing teeth. They sought compensation for the woman’s injuries, dental expenses, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and lost wages. The court eventually dismissed the conversion claim against the surgeon, but the woman’s claim went to trial. A Prince George’s County jury awarded a $67,850 verdict. This consisted of $3,825 in past dental expenses, $34,025 in future dental expenses, and $30,000 in non-economic damages.
  • 2010, Baltimore County: $38,801 Verdict. A man visited a dental surgeon for a full-mouth restoration. His previous dental history included periodontal disease in his gums. The dental surgeon placed the crown without treating his periodontal disease. As a result, the man suffered teeth misalignment, an occluded bite, and teeth mobility issues. His injuries caused him to develop temporomandibular joint disease. He sued his dentist and his practice for failing to treat his periodontal disease first and failing to repair the crowns. The Baltimore County jury awarded the man a $38,801 verdict. This consisted of $8,000 in past dental expenses, $30,800 in future dental expenses, and $1 in non-economic damages.
  • 2008, Prince George’ County: $5,000 Verdict. A woman consulted a dental surgeon for her tooth pain. The surgeon recommended a root canal to address her abscess. He placed temporary crowns but never placed permanent ones. The woman sued him for medical negligence, claiming that he failed to properly diagnose her abscess and failed to place permanent crowns. He prescribed penicillin for her infected tooth, rather than directly treating the abscess. She also alleged that the broken temporary crown caused her to suffer from an exposed prepared tooth. The surgeon denied negligence, claiming an assumption of risk and that the woman failed to return to complete the procedure. The Prince George’s County jury awarded the woman $5,000, all in non-economic damages.
  • 2002, Montgomery County: $21,919 Verdict. A minor lost his tooth during a dental procedure. His guardian alleged that the dentist extracting a permanent tooth which he failed to identify as permanent. They also alleged the dentist failed to reimplant it, which caused the rest to his teeth to be improperly positioned. The Montgomery County jury awarded $21,919 in damages.