Some people, including children and adults, have a debilitating fear of getting dental treatment. People who experience a lot of anxiety about dental care might choose to get sedation dentistry. While sedation dentistry can help to calm people or to allow them to get dental work done while they are under anesthesia, it can also result in serious injuries or fatalities when the anesthetic is administered improperly. In one case in North Carolina, an oral maxillofacial surgeon lost her license after two of her patients died while undergoing sedation dentistry in her office. The doctor improperly administered high doses of the anesthetic to the patients despite both having medical histories indicating that they should not undergo surgery.
When people are seriously injured or die in Florida from sedation dentistry, the victims or the families of the deceased victims may file Florida sedation dental malpractice claims. The Florida dental malpractice lawyers at Lane & Glassman include Dr. Stanley W. Lane, a board-certified oral maxillofacial surgeon and licensed attorney who has more than 30 years of experience in handling dental malpractice claims. We are prepared to advocate for the maximum recovery of damages for our clients.
Sedation dentistry is dental work that is performed when the patient is under a level of sedation after the administration of anesthetics. The level of sedation can be minimal, moderate, or deep, or the patient may be under general anesthesia. Sedation dentistry may be used for people who have anxiety about dental work, have low pain tolerances, have sensitive teeth, have a strong gag reflex, or require significant dental work. Sedation dentistry is sometimes used with children with nitrous oxide. Some pediatric dentists have training to administer oral sedation to children, but it must be kept within the recommended dose for the weight and age of the child.
Most dentists are allowed to administer minimal sedation such as pills or nitrous oxide. To provide general anesthesia or deep sedation, dentists must have completed the deep sedation and anesthesia program through the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Florida Board of Dentistry regulates dentists and the use of anesthesia. Under FLA. STAT. § 466.028(1)(gg), the administration of an anesthetic in a manner that violates the rules is grounds for discipline and the possible loss of the license to practice dentistry.
Whenever people undergo sedation or anesthesia, there are risks involved. When it is used properly, it is normally safe. However, when it is administered improperly, people may be left with serious injuries or die. Some people should not receive sedation dentistry, including people who are obese, have obstructive sleep apnea, and other medical concerns. Dentists should be qualified and have the proper training to administer the type of anesthetic that they will be using. Dentists should review the medical histories of their patients before the procedures to make certain that their patients are good candidates for sedation. They should also ask their patients about the medications that they are taking to check for potential interactions. Dentists must make certain to only give doses that are appropriate for their patients’ health and ages. A dentist should have proper training and experience in performing dentistry under sedation. Dentists should also properly monitor the vital signs of patients during the procedures and should have oxygen and drugs that can reverse the effects in case they are needed.
When a dentist administers improper doses of sedation, is not qualified to use the type of anesthetic that he or she uses, fails to check the medical history of the patient, or fails to monitor his or her vital signs, the patient may suffer serious injuries or die. Under FLA. STAT. § 766.102, personal injury victims and the families of people who die because of Florida sedation dental malpractice have the right to file lawsuits to recover compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses.
Dental Anesthesia and Sedation Side Effects Can Include:
Unable to blink – If this occurs the eye can dry out and casue further damage.
Hematoma – If upon injection, the needle strikes a blood vessel, it can cause a blood-filled swelling known as a hematoma.
Nerve Damage – If upon injection, the needle strikes a nerve, this can cause pain and numbness lasting for weeks or months.
The Florida dental malpractice law firm of Lane & Glassman has decades of experience representing people who have been seriously injured because of dental malpractice and the families of people who have been killed. If you have lost your loved one or have been seriously injured by a dentist during sedation dentistry, you may be entitled to recover compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (800) 343-0244.