Every year, dentists and oral surgeons perform thousands of procedures on patients under anesthesia. Many patients are children who require sedation due to unique physical conditions, or psychological issues such as fear and anxiety. Sedation in a dentist’s or oral surgeon’s office is performed safely in the vast majority of cases. However, complications can arise unexpectedly. Rarely, these complications can lead to the tragic loss of life or severe brain damage.
Ludwig’s angina is an infection that starts in a tooth and often involves the tongue and tissues inside the mouth. Dentists are often the first line of defense for catching and treating these infections before they develop into a medical emergency. Dentists need to assure patients with signs or symptoms of Ludwig’s angina receive appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection. Dentists should also make sure the patient is carefully monitored by a doctor and seeks emergency treatment at the first sign of any trouble breathing.
Pittsburgh dentist Samuel Pollina, was recently featured in an unflattering investigative report by WTAE’s Paul Van Osdol titled, “Pittsburgh dentist admits using paper clips for root canals.”
The American Association of Endodontists has mandated that the use of a dental dam during root canal therapy is the standard of care. If a failure to do so results in injury, this may be medical malpractice.